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Fake It Like a Decorator

You may not have been to decorator school, but you can take a page out of a top designer’s playbook. Follow this advice to transform your home without paying hundreds of dollars per hour in design fees.

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The design is all in the details.
Just a few small but stylish changes will have your friends asking for your designer’s phone number.”alt=”” class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-13764″ />

There’s nothing quite like seeing before-and-after photos of a room made over from dull to dazzling.

The interior designers who achieve such magic are often considered intuitive and naturally creative-in fact, many do have a special knack.

But most designers nurture that knack by going to school to learn hard-and-fast design rules.

From these rules come their tricks of the trade. In other words, there is method to their magic.

Here’s how you can work a little of that magic in your own home.

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Learn to trick the eye with colour

Make your ceilings look taller

Low ceilings got you down? Here’s an optical illusion practiced by designers for artificially (and inexpensively) raising the roof: Add contrasting strips of fabric along the inner and outer edges of curtains. Say you’ve got beige curtains. Add chocolate brown fabric strips, and the ceiling will look taller.

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Add architectural interest to a room

Transform a plain-Jane room into something handsome and eye-catching with colour. Paint the molding and the trim around windows and doors a shade or two darker than the walls, and paint the window sashes-the sliding parts that carry the glass-an even deeper shade.

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Draw the eye outside

If you’ve got French doors-or another kind of glass doors-leading to an attractive yard, patio, or deck, paint them a deep, dark colour to lead the eye to what’s beyond.

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Avoid the predictable seating arrangements

You know: sofa, a pair of matching chairs, coffee table in between. Bo-ring! The solution is elegantly simple. It’s a trick designers call the “pull-up chair”-a non-matching chair tossed into the mix to keep the arrangement looking fresh and unique.

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Make the most of everyday items

Some of the top designers working today know that big bucks aren’t a requirement for decorating creativity. In fact, having to stick to a tight budget often forces people to take chances they might not otherwise take with an expensive piece of furniture or fabric. Having to make do with everyday items can inspire some of the most attention-grabbing details in a home. Here are examples:

Recycle old sofa cushions

If you’re tossing an old couch, keep a couple of the pillows. Cover them in an attractive but durable outdoor fabric and use them as floor pillows for extra seating. The kids will love it, especially during Friday movie night.

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Make a porch swing

Find an old garden bench at a flea market and cut off the legs. Attach chains or sturdy ropes and hang from hooks.