1. Add Drama With Paint
Matt Davis, one-third of HGTV’s The Designer Guys, counsels homeowners looking for an easy update to paint away their decorating doldrums. “When changing décor, paint is the most important thing,” he says. “You can do tons of stuff with paint.
“We’ve done interesting things with painting the floors. You can also do dramatic effects,” he says-like adding a bold colour to one wall, or painting trim a complementary shade. “If there’s one rule to be had, control the colour so that it’s not clashing” with other major colours in the room.
2. Add Zip With Accents
Manon LeBlanc, host of TVA’s Brico-déco, counsels do-it-yourselfers to stay in neutral for the room’s main colour, but to rev it up with vivid accents. Just 10 percent of the room should have a single strong, bright or bold colour, she says: “It’s what gives it the oomph!” Used like garnish, the colour can be sprinkled about in throw pillows, chair cushions, a vase, artwork or any other accents of choice.
“Stay current with the season,” Davis suggests. Swap cozy winter throws and clear glass containers with twig arrangements for sunny spring forsythia in colourful vases. Brighten dim rooms with yellow and silver accents.
3. Change Your View
A wealth of pre-made drapes and quality hardware to fit standard sizes has hit stores, making a swift change for any room’s windows. Look for high-end traditional to contemporary lines available at Restoration Hardware, or contemporary to modern lines at Umbra, says Davis. “You don’t want the flat-pack pre-mades that you used to throw up in college.” Even big-box home stores like HomeSense, he says, are now stocking a good array.
4. Think… Felt?
Felt, that hatmaker’s staple, is a favourite of The Designer Guys. Not only is it an all-natural (wool by-product), its versatility seems endless. It is being used as wallpaper, rugs and fabrics. “It makes beautiful runners,” notes Davis. “The cut and detail in the patterning is wonderful.” Bamboo, cropping up in all sorts of creative decorating materials, is another green choice for an instant update.
5. Lighten Your Mood
“Play with your lighting,” suggests Davis. “We’re big on mid-level lighting-table, floor, candles-which can really change the character of the room.” Candles add warmth. Direct pot lights onto walls, giving a wash of light to exposed brickwork or letting artwork bounce into view. Chandeliers add an instant softness and texture. Just moving table and floor lamps around-or changing a shade-can create a focal point at no cost.
6. All Eyes Say “Aye!”
Both decorators agree that every room should have a focal point. “What’s going to draw your attention?” asks Davis. “The eye looks around the room, but it has to rest on something. It could be the bed, fireplace, TV or wall behind the TV.”
LeBlanc has made her star feature as simple as a plywood headboard covered in a striking wallpaper, or as lush as an expanse of Murano glass tiles. Arranging a pattern of wall tattoos (that you can easily peel off later) is one of Davis’s tricks.
LeBlanc’s last word? Go ahead and mix expensive pieces with inexpensive things. “Decide where you want to spend your money,” she declares, “and everything else will look expensive, too.”
If you don’t have a penny to spare, don’t despair: Another of Davis’s tips is to simply de-clutter the room-clear knickknacks off tables, the tops of bookcases and shelving, then select one or two pieces to become your highlight.
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