I'm frequently asked to give my opinions on home decor. Yes I went to design school but I am, in no way, an expert. I am, however, a big nerd because I love to read about anything having to do with home design and I try to keep up with current trends. Over the years, my design sense and style have changed (I pretty much like everything) and, at my age, I've made my fair share of mistakes and have tried to learn from them. I'm sure, though, I'll be making more mistakes but that's OKAY. Since I make them, you don't have to! HA!
I'm usually pretty happy to share my thoughts to help another person out so I thought I'd write a little bit about what's worked for me. Most of the images you'll see here are of my own home and is shown, as is, to represent how my decor is seen on an everyday basis.
Without further ado, read on for my decor tips and tricks!
1) Hang Drapes to Heighten a Room
This is one trick I always use in any space I design...especially when I am working with low ceilings. The lower the ceiling, I generally will hang window treatments above the windows to give the illusion of a taller room. Generally it's about 1-1.5 ft above the top of the window. I tend to go with full length drapes that either barely touch the ground or will pool around just a bit.
If the panels are too short, (like, say, a foot off the ground), it looks undone. Too long, then it just looks sloppy.
2) Expand the Size of Windows
We moved into a 1979 split level and every room was outdated. For example, our bedroom has these really narrow corner windows, which, we wanted to either close off or re-position but both options were out of our budget, unfortunately. So, we decided to work with what we got.
To do so, we bought a corner rod and extended the rod a little over a foot past the window's edge. Hanging each panel next to each edge gave the illusion of larger/wider windows.
3) Hanging Artwork at Eye Level
Many times I see artwork hung way too high. Anytime I hang wall art or frames, it is at eye level - however, it is NOT necessarily at my eye level (since I'm about 5'3") but I like to focus the center of the piece at around 5'7" - give or take a couple inches. This is the average height out there for most people.
When I say "center" I don't mean the center of the top edge but the middle center of the piece (see the "X's" marked on the photos).
4) Table Height “Rules”
There are general rules on table heights (though, it's not always the case depending on the style you're going for).
For coffee tables, or ottomans, I generally like that they're about the same height as the seats so it's easy for one to kick up their heels. If they're a little lower or a little higher than the seat, it's not that big a deal. If it's a drastic height difference, it looks awkward.
For bedside tables, I generally ensure that the table top is level with the mattress top. If it's a few inches taller, it's not that big a deal; however, if it’s a few inches lower, it just ends up looking dinky. When at around the same level, it's easy to reach over for a book or glass of water.
See the red lines in the following photos...
Decorating by layering gives just a touch of visual interest to any space. If you wanted to go just one step further, think about your space as you would accessorizing yourself with jewelry. You can either go simple (i.e. overlapping flat frames of various sizes and heights against a wall) or you can go all out (i.e. creating some sort of tablescape on a console in your entryway). It doesn't have to be expensive and you can pretty much decorate with anything you already own.
Below, you'll see some layering I've done throughout my house just to give the area a little something extra.
6) Area Rugs
No doubt about it, area rugs help to define a space. It's something I love to use anytime I design for a client. I have incorporated this tip into some of the spaces in my own house as well.
When choosing a rug, you either want to make sure most of your furniture fits right on top or fits comfortably just around its outer edges. If it's too big, it'll overpower everything in the room. If too small, then it just looks out of place. The smallest rug I've used is a 5x8" - my coffee table fit right on top while my sofa and chairs flanked each side.
You definitely want to take measurements of your space to ensure that your rug fits.
7) Plants (Real & Fake)
I have a VERY neutral living room and people often think I have no color in my space. If I do inject any color other than neutrals and blue, I'll do it with flowers or plants (real or fake).
I DO NOT have a green thumb but I like the beauty of a simple bouquet or a no-fuss potted green plant.
I've come across real roses that don't need watering and last a year - I love this idea because I can't make real ones last a week for the life of me.
For faux plants, I like when they resemble the real thing (for example, fiddle leaf trees or succulents). I'm asked all the time whether my succulents are real.
So, yes, do what you can to incorporate any foliage into your home to give it some life!
8) Mixing it Up (Prints, Materials, etc)
Lastly, I like to mix up materials you wouldn't put together otherwise (see picture #1) and prints. As long as there's a common color or shape in each piece, you're kosher.
For picture #1, when I told people my idea of what we were going to do with the stairs in our entryway, you could see them cringe. But so far, so good. There are java colors in the mosaic tiles we applied on our stair risers and it pulls the overall look together beautifully.
For picture #2, you can see the different patterns going on but it all comes together because each item shares the same color(s).
I hope that you were able to read this and feel inspired to spruce up your own places. These are tricks or tips I've learned in the past few years to make our house a home. I'm sure that this will be a never-ending process because our design styles change every few years and there's always something new to be learned.
If you have any design tricks or tips, leave a comment down below because I'd love to know!