- Ceilings don't have to be white. Painting the ceiling a color adds interest to the room and brings harmony to the walls and ceiling. Choose a color similar to the walls, or have the wall color mixed a shade or two lighter or darker.
- Wallpaper isn't just for walls. Paper the drawer or door fronts of a painted dresser or cabinet, or use it to decorate a plain headboard. You'll get a custom-looking piece of furniture with lots of impact.
- A small space can handle dark walls.
In fact, deep and strong hues can be better in small spaces because a
little goes a long way. The bold statement adds personality and impact.
- Patterns don't have to match, they
just need to coordinate. Put geometric patterns with florals. Mix
modern designs with traditional. The key: Make sure they share a common
- A charming centerpiece doesn't require a large vase of flowers
and a pair of candlesticks. A collection of interesting objects -- an
old pewter pitcher, a big bowl with mounded moss and a small crystal
sphere, or a gathering of favorite books -- is so much more interesting
on the dining table. The more unusual the better.
- Hang curtains near the ceiling rather than the typical placement just above the window trim. This gives the illusion of height, which makes a small window appear larger or a low ceiling appear higher.
- Wall-to-wall carpet doesn't eliminate the use of rugs. Add an area rug in the bedroom to create an intimate sitting area, just as you would under the dining room table
and chairs on a wood floor. Layer multiple rugs of coordinating colors
and patterns in different sizes atop one another to make a striking
- Convention says the bedroom
should be decorated in soft hues and soothing patterns to encourage
sleep and relaxation. But if you're drawn to bolder colors and patterns,
unwind in a bedroom surrounded by what you love. Warm lamplight tones
down bright colors
at night, while the same hues energize in the morning. Busy pattern
offers the same morning pick-me-up and can be balanced by using it in
just certain areas, such as on a single wall or draperies, but not bedding.
- Just because furniture is sold as a set doesn't mean you have to use it that way. Mix a new dining table
with a medley of refinished antique chairs. Buy the new sofa you love,
but have your favorite chairs re-covered instead of settling on the
matching settee. Rearrange the furniture you have, using pieces from
different collections in different rooms.
- You can put oversize furniture
in small spaces. Too much small furniture in a small room can make the
space feel cluttered and full. Instead, buy fewer, larger pieces to make
a small space feel roomier.
art doesn't need a famous signature or even have to be purchased.
Personalize your space by hanging a puzzle you put together or framing
a map showing your favorite destination. Dig out family treasures --
old pictures or your grandmother's platters -- to appreciate instead of
collect dust. For a creative twist, hang dinnerware in open frames.
- Wallpaper works on the ceiling.
In a room with lots of pattern, a white ceiling stands out like sore
thumb. Use wallpaper on the ceiling to tie the space together.
- Not every piece of furniture has to be what is expected. An old grain cart discovered at a flea market makes a whimsical coffee table
that keeps this room casual. Not only is it movable, the low height is
easy for stacking books, and it could hold a tall flower arrangement
that might sit too high on a standard table.
- While stained-wood and white-painted kitchen
cabinets are the norm, it doesn't mean you have to stick with
tradition. In a room ruled by function and sometimes lacking in
decorating opportunity, painted cabinets can add interest and color. Use
a solid, bright finish for a contemporary space, or distress door and drawer edges for a more casual look.
- A monochromic color scheme isn't dull and undecorated. On the contrary, it can make a stunning design statement. In this bedroom,
similar shades of pinks and reds make a smooth transition from the
walls to the windows to the bed, creating a cohesively decorated space.
Use contrasting trim, such as white molding, to define the perimeter of the room.
- Draperies aren't just for windows. Use window treatments
to add interest to a large, plain span of wall. Hang draperies in a
large doorway to make it more intimate. Use a curtain panel in place of a
- A room doesn't have to have just one purpose. Make the most of the space you have by sharing. A less-used guest bedroom with a pullout bed is the perfect place for a home office contained in a storage armoire. The family room media entertainment space can have a playroom corner.