Have you moved into a new space or renovated your home, but it still doesn’t look like one of those fabulous places from a decorating magazine or television show? I hear it all the time: people spend time, money and effort on their homes but feel it still doesn’t have that camera-ready look. As a longtime magazine editor and television stylist, I’ve learned all the styling tricks that will make your space look complete and impressive. These easy designer and stylist tricks will give your home pizzazz and make it look like professionals just finished up their work and waved goodbye.
Create good sightlines
When you walk into your house, what captures your attention immediately? In a small condo, the sightline from the entry door might be a blank wall at the end of a small foyer. Try placing a colourful piece of art there. In an open-concept home, the sightline might extend into another room. Ensure the sightline ends on something eye-catching: a fireplace, chandelier or large window with a view.
As discussed in previous columns, every room needs a focal point. Fireplace, bedroom headboards, bathroom vanities and a family room television centre are the most obvious — the key is to make a conscious decision on the main focal point for each room. If it’s a practical item, like a TV, turn it into something pleasing to look at even when it’s not in use by creating an interesting vignette around it with artwork, shelving or a standout wall colour.
Light the fantastic
One of the easiest ways to direct attention to your focal point is with light. Lights over artwork, wall sconces flanking a fireplace or bed, and a wash of light on a focal wall are all effective ways to emphasize your focal point.
Lighting as accessory
Light fixtures are also a great way to add a stylish decorative element to a room. Pendants are slowly replacing fancy chandeliers and offer a refined clean-lined element over a table, kitchen island or as a hanging fixture in a corner of a room. Look for large-scale fixtures to add impact to your space.
Table lamps are best as paired to create symmetry on each side of a bed, couch or on a credenza. I like to use singles in front of windows. A lighted lamp in the window is how homeowners have always created a sense of welcome, coziness, and beauty for passersby. Adding an auto-timer means the lights will always be on to greet you when you come home from work, and it’s good for home security, too.
Upholster older furnishings with modern fabrics
Don’t say goodbye to a favourite comfy dining chair, sofa or ottoman. When the covering becomes worn or outdated, reupholster it in a modern new fabric. It’s like Botox for furniture: it lifts and makes it look more youthful.
Bring the world home
An exotic looking accessory (even a simple handmade basket) will add much needed character to a plain room. Rugs, pottery and blown glass are easily collected from travels or import shops, and add a creative punch to a focal point area.
Here’s how to build a solid foundation for a stylish home.
— Keep the background neutral. Neutral doesn’t have to mean boring. Right now, mixing cool greys and warm beige tones is all the rage. Choose your fave of the duo and subtly emphasize it more than the other.
— Build a story around a fabulous piece. This styling trick does double duty, giving new life to outdated furnishings and creating a conversation starter (the conversation will likely start with “Wow! Where did you get that amazing piece?”). Slipcover an ottoman with vintage drapery fabric or an old fur coat, repaint a dowdy dresser with a trendsetting colour (think pink) or reframe your artwork to incorporate it into a new decor scheme.
— Let your personality shine through your decor; always loved a particular colour? Use it in various levels throughout your home. Got a quirky collection? Make sure you pay homage to it by displaying it as a focal point in your favourite room.
Do you have a decor dilemma or want to give feedback? You can contact Karl Lohnes on Facebook or Instagram at Karl Lohnes Designer, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karl has worked as a home decor expert and product designer for 25 years. He appears Thursdays during the 8 a.m. hour on Global News Morning Montreal.