Photo Gallery: 5 Golden Rules of Decorating
Tips for simple design.
Work your style and floor plan around the structure of your space, not the other way around. Part of the appeal of this sunny cottage breakfast room is the uneven beadboard and knotty wood floors. Designer Anne Hepfer kept these elements intact and simply transformed the look with white paint, casual decor and a fresh blue and white palette.
Study a room before you buy or move around furniture (don’t automatically arrange seating the same way you had it in your last place). Consider the light, surfaces and the room’s function and let those elements direct your choices.
Show your individuality and creativity — and keep your rooms from looking predictable — through your decorating. Ask a design-savvy friend to describe your style. If they have a hard time choosing just one label (contemporary, mod, eclectic, etc.), you’re on the right track.
Include one piece that throws the look off slightly. This bathroom with an open shower looks fresh and unexpected decorated with a white leather lounge chair and classic Eames walnut stool.
The key to artful vignettes and tastefully layered rooms lies in the ability to curate your own stuff. As these open shelves show, adding character doesn’t necessarily mean putting everything you own on display at once. Here, books are grouped according to colour and pattern together with a few items with impact, like framed art and treasured objects. Empty space gives the arrangement room to breathe.
After you’ve finished decorating, stand back and remove at least one thing. Display what you love. Store or donate the rest.
Apply colour directly to the walls with paint or wallpaper. Or leave the backdrop neutral and play up juicy-toned accessories like pillows and drapes, like designer Sabrina Linn did here in her cheery bedroom. Either way, a carefully chosen palette can change the look of a room like nothing else.
First decide what your room needs. More light? More warmth? If you choose to paint, plan to do the whole area instead of colour-blocking just one wall. For less of a commitment, consider painting or wallpapering large canvasses or wood panels and hanging or leaning them against the wall. Bring in accent colours in finishing touches such as pillows, throws, rugs, curtains and trays.
Style shouldn’t become so important that you can’t relax in a room. Successful decorating should be livable, even in the most formal setting. This high-end, traditional living room features pretty accessories, art and architectural details yet it still invites quiet reading or entertaining guests.
Invite friends over. Your space should encourage conversation, laughter and entice your guests to want to stay. What use is an super-stylish sofa or armchair if it’s also uber uncomfortable.