A design refresh of an apartment or home can be quite daunting. It’s hard to know where to start and what areas to invest in (especially if you are in a rental). You have a sea of questions and tons of decisions to make. Even as an interior designer I’ve been there; we all have. But refreshing your space into your dream home doesn’t have to be that hard. Use the following simple spring decorating tips, and you will be living stylishly in no time.
TIP 1: COLORIZE
Decide on a color scheme before buying anything. Knowing your color palette (and your style goals) beforehand will guide you in each of your decisions. Use my color rule of 60/30/10: Sixty percent of your main color is what you will see on the walls and ceilings; 30 percent of your secondary color will be found in your upholstery pieces and drapery; and 10 percent of an accent color can be used in smaller selections such as your pillows, accessories and art. As a bonus, use hints of black and white throughout.
TIP 2: MAKE A STATEMENT
Looking past the sea of the standard white in an apartment can be hard to do. I suggest being bold with one show-stopping piece: your sofa. When you are living in a smaller space or an apartment, you have to find fun and interesting ways to be a tad bit bolder. I love selecting a special large item, such as a sofa, chair or bold drapes.
TIP 3: ADD DRAMA
I use large-scale art to add drama. If you are not comfortable with selecting a costly piece of furniture, such as a sofa or chair, a piece of art can create a memorable moment in your home. If the piece is striking, even better.
TIP 4: ENHANCE ARCHITECTURE
If you have the luxury of living in a prewar apartment with its original architecture, count your blessings. Most city dwellings are simply four white walls, a ceiling and a floor. If you are in the latter of the two circumstances, you are going to have to fake it. One way I epecially like to add in faux architecture is by painting ceiling crown molding, trim, window casings and baseboards a different color than the walls. Doing this will add instant pizazz and enhance architecture in any room.
TIP 5: CURTAINS UP
One of the most contested subjects I speak about is drapery lengths and widths. We all dream of having expansive windows that are sprawled out across our walls; however, we find ourselves reverting to the same single-panel 84-inch window drapery. If you want to create a wider feel, take it all the way up and make the curtain panels wide. To keep costs down, use two store-bought drapery panels sewn together to create a look of fullness. These panels should be two to three inches shorter than your ceiling height. Make sure your rod is pretty close to your ceiling height to give the illusion that your windows are as tall as they are wide.
TIP 6: MIRROR, MIRROR
Mirrors are your faux windows. A common problem in many apartments and homes is that they lack natural light. It is a huge disappointment to have a Pinterest board stocked full of dream rooms filled with natural light, only to get into your new space and realize that you have one lonely window. A design trick that has been around for a while is to “fake windows” by using floor or wall mirrors on adjoining walls to multiply the natural light coming in from your original window.
TIP 7: LET THERE BE LIGHT
Changing light fixtures, which is a great way to freshen up a home, is often overlooked. Adding a bold fixture such as a chandelier can instantly give your space a more luxurious feel to it. If you are renting, check with your landlord about swapping the standard light fixtures for something a little more your style. You can swap them back out once your lease expires.
TIP 8: ADD LIFE
Have you ever looked around an almost perfectly decorated room and no matter how pretty all of the selections were, there still seemed to be something missing? You need to consider adding some life to the space. Plants are an easy and affordable way to add that missing piece.
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Senior Producer, EBONY.com