The best home decorating secrets

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Kensington Basement Refurbishment Timothy James Interiors Eclectic style living room Limestone White
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Do you swoon while flipping through decorating magazines? Does your heart do a little pitter patter whenever an interior design programme comes on TV? Then you are clearly one of the millions of people worldwide who are in love with good home design.

Of course the only way to live with this condition (why would you want a cure for it?) is to give in to that temptation to spread beauty all around you. But be careful: interior design involves much more than scattering cushions and laying down rugs – things like colour, sizes and layouts are crucial elements that can make or break your space(s).

Fortunately, we’ve gathered a few tricks from top-notch decorators who cater for people with great taste (and who want their homes to look like the ones shown on design programmes).

Pay close attention…

1. Add some height to your room

Специальная номинация от HAPPY Collections Archiprofi Classic style living room

Специальная номинация от HAPPY Collections


Create a sense of height and drama in a space by mounting your drapery hardware higher above that window and closer to the ceiling. 

Those long flowing drapes will make the room seem taller, as well as add visual impact, especially if you opt for a large pattern or bold colour on that fabric.

2. Beat the boring bookcase

Paint the entire inside surfaces of your bookcase cubbyholes in a colour that complements the hues of the room. Then pick up that same colour in select room accessories (like a scatter cushion, a throw, a lampshade, etc.). 

This will make the bookcase’s displayed items pop while creating visual interest and cohesiveness in your space.

3. No need for a bulky sofa

Yes, you really don’t need a large sofa which takes up way too much space in that living room

Three or four comfortable upholstered chairs around a cocktail table (or large ottoman) are conversational, intimate and much more interesting.

4. Add a rich look to your floor

Why opt for a boring synthetic rug from a big-box retailer when you can treat your bathroom/kitchen to a real oriental or Tibetan rug? This will make the room look rich and elegant, not to mention what it will do for that underfoot sensation! 

If you place this in a bathroom, just be sure to hang it outside on a regular basis to air-dry effectively.

5. No fireplace? No problem

Visit an architectural salvage yard or moulding shop and purchase an interesting fireplace mantel, even if you don’t have a fireplace. 

Then mount it securely against the wall (like a floating shelf) and stage the mantel with scented candles, beautiful art, colourful flowers and some of your favourite books.

6. Out with the matchy-matchy

Sitting in matching chairs is out; create a more dynamic dining space by mixing up your seating. Try an upholstered bench, small sofa or two different dining table head chairs to add visual interest.

7. Find your fabrics first

Contrary to popular belief, you should not paint your room first. 

Rather finalise your flooring, upholstered furniture, window treatment, cushions and other fabrics and then try out different paint samples to find the best colour to complement your selections. 

It’s much easier this way!

8. Careful with your cushions

Flopster sofa Loaf Living roomSofas & armchairs Textile Pink

Flopster sofa


Don’t lose your child (or a guest) in that over-scattered heap of cushions on your sofa. 

To make your sofa look styled instead of overwhelmed, opt for three (yes, only three) cushions: a 50 cm by 50 cm one; a 40 cm by 40 cm one; and one 30 cm by 40 cm. 

Those three sizes will look good regardless of how you arrange them.

9. Tame the rustic pieces

Don’t throw out that fantastic farm table you bought at a flea market just because the rustic style has fizzled out. 

Update it by changing the two chairs at opposite ends, either by replacing them with something lighter, or just re-upholstering them in a modern fabric, like a striped motif or bold colour.

10. Don’t overlook your ceiling

You can do so much better than a plain white ceiling. 

Treat it like a fifth wall in the room—paint it an interesting complementary colour to your space, cover it in a sophisticated metallic wall covering, add some rustic ceiling beams, highlight it with metal ceiling tiles… just don’t leave it white! 

For more ideas on how to style up your ceiling, have a look at: Should I paint my ceiling white?

What other tips can style up interior spaces?

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