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8 Tips for Decorating Any Room

Thinking about decorating a room in your home? Whether you do-it-yourself or hire an interior decorator or designer, check out these great tips to help you face any room decorating challenge.

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Dig Your Bones

Before designing your space, look at the shapes and planes of the room. This is often referred to as the bones of a room. Oftentimes, the more special the architecture of the space, the easier it is to decorate. You wouldn’t need much to create a beautiful room if it already had high ceilings, arched windows, tall columns, a coffered ceiling, and a wonderful view! The trick is to create a space that’s equally appealing without great architectural interest.

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Be Moody

Decide on the mood you’d like your interior to have. Would you like it to be formal and intimidating, weird and funky, laid-back, or contemporary? A few samples of whimsy and personal touches, such as photographs and items found antiquing or flea-market shopping, help add to the unique quality of an interior. In addition, adding pieces that tell a story or are inherited make any space feel more like a home.

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Flip Your Lid

Remember that the ceiling of your room is a blank canvas. If possible, raise the ceiling, either by creating a tray into the attic or adding a prefab dome. Adding beams for a rustic look or a crown molding for a more elegant feel can go a long way to enhance your interior. 

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Hate Mold, but Love Moldings

Wall moldings are like an artist’s pencil on a page. They will enhance your space, if done well. Parallel moldings can create a mid-century feel. Classically-shaped boxes can make a room feel traditional, dressy, and antique. Unless a room is very large or formal like a foyer, moldings should be painted the same color as the walls to maintain their subtlety. 

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Risky Business

Take risks and trust your instincts when decorating your room, but don’t buy impulsively.

  • Select furniture that is unusual, but make sure you feel that you can live with the pieces for a long time.

  • Purchase the most expensive pieces you can afford. Don’t forget that what’s expensive today is inexpensive tomorrow.

  • Remember how many times you’ve regretted not buying that one chair you passed up in an antique store a few years ago because it was too pricey? Go on. Take a risk!

Avoid decorating with things that create a feeling of unease in your room. For instance, avoid:

  • Tables with too-sharp corners

  • Objects that look as if you’ll hit them if you talk with your hands

  • Chairs that appear too delicate to sit on

The goal is to live in a space that is inviting and has a sense of calm. Lay out your furniture carefully, both with an eye to making the best use of space and to facilitate the function of the room. Remember that rooms can often be used for two purposes, such as a dining room-library combination or a family room where you can watch TV, eat a meal, have the kids do homework, or gather everyone together to play games.

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You Light Up My Life

An even spread of light without any glaring light bulbs is ideal. It’s relatively easy to have your electrical outlets wired so that they operate from a single wall switch. It’s most convenient to turn all your lamps on and off from a single switch area, obviously avoiding having to go around the room and switching on individual lamps. Use soft white light bulbs rather than clear for lighting fixtures as they soften the shadows cast on walls and ceilings. And don’t forget to explore the latest fluorescents and eco-friendly lighting solutions to save energy and resources.

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True Colors

Try to select a color scheme by looking at a printed fabric first, such as a necktie or dress, a fabric sample, a pillow, a wallpaper swatch, or a photo in an interior design magazine. If you have many interesting items such as artwork, architectural elements, or a great view, use less color in the additional decorating elements.

Colour is an inexpensive way to add drama and punch to a room, especially where there is limited interest. Colour is also easily changed later on. Painting walls and ceilings a strong colour can add interest and personality to a room. Try painting your powder room, foyer, or dining room in strong colours as these rooms are not lived in as much as bedrooms and living rooms, which usually require a more calming palette.

Like food, color is a matter of taste. At the end of the day, you and your family should feel comfortable with the colors in your room.

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A Delicate Balance

Like Black & White, Yin & Yang, and Sweet & Sour, a room should be balanced. Here are some balancing tricks:

  • Add a touch of a hot colour in a cool room, such as red flowers or a bright painting to counterbalance blues, grays, or beige.

  • Stain a floor almost-black when using light furniture and/or a light rug.

  • Incorporate comfortable and inviting furniture with formal upright seating.

  • Mix your skirts with your legs! Not all the furniture should have legs and not all furniture should have solid bases and/or skirts. A few chairs with legs in a room with a few solid bases and/or skirted seating pieces create a pleasant mix.

  • The top half of the room should be as interesting as the bottom half. Most furniture is 36 inches tall, more or less. Artwork, tall furniture pieces, and window treatments bring your eye up so that you can see the room as a whole.