35. Get organized. The biggest change you could make is to edit down. Build a bookcase and desk to store and hide. Wall off a small area with sliding closet doors. Getting organized helps to move along the design concept.
34. Hide your TV. Most want it to stay in its place and in the room, but it shouldn’t be the most prominent focal place of the room. Hide them in an armoire, behind a mirror, or behind curtains.
33. Build a headboard. It grounds the room and gives it a focal point. One of their examples: Rust headboard with leather panels by using a chemical process with metal paint and spray that rusts before your eyes. Make headboards out of reclaimed lumber, MDF, fabric, paint, wood, upholstery, etc.
32. Go M.D.F. Medium Density Fiberboard. Sawdust glued together and compressed. It’s easy to work with, takes paint well and is inexpensive. Build anything with it and finish it off professionally with molding or routing. Make breakfast nooks, murphy beds, light boxes, and wall panels. You can add anything to it.
31. Take on a salvage job. Recycle an item and make something out of it. Vintage details are too complex to recreate so use them and re-salvage. Examples include bookcases to benches, doors to bars and fire extinguishers into table lamps. Old piano bar as an actual bar.
30. Double up in small spaces. Use multi-function furniture (coffee table that’s a chest, an ottoman that fits under the coffee table, etc.) Put a mirror across from a window to reflect light, the outdoors and double the space visually.
29. Break down big spaces. You don’t have to fill every spot of a large space. Create “zones”. For a large space you might have three zones: media, seating, lounging that are grouped together and separated from the other spaces or zones.
28. Lighten up dark spaces. Grab an ugly chandelier at a thrift store, spray paint it, and add new shades. Replace dark drapes with lighter ones.
27. Seating matters. Have enough seating for guests. If you can’t afford a new couch, get creative by using a mattress and build out a simple frame. Then you have a daybed.
26. Plan your approach. When you make or buy a large piece of furniture, make sure it fits inside first.
25. Learn to sew. Drapes, pillows, bedding. You’ll save tons when you make some of these items yourself.
24. Cut a rug. Buy smaller versions and put them together so it’s less expensive (4 bathmats, etc.). Buy carpet remnants at a rug store. Rugs add warmth, comfort and color to a room. So make a rug.
23. Fix up the fireplace. This should be a focal point. Add a new mantle or change the whole facade. Use thinset and flat-backed river rocks, for example.
22. Reclaim closet doors. These can be new art pieces/canvases (paint squares inside of squares, etc.). Examples: rich stained wood treatment on the back of a mirrored door with added curtains, etc.
21. Look up! Add to the ceiling to make it a 5th wall and element of interest. Make creative decor to hang from the ceiling or attach to it. Add faux beams & natural fiber wallpaper, for example.
20. Become a hunter. Examples: Flea markets, online classifieds, estate sales, hotel furniture liquidators, consignment stores, yard sales, seconds yard of ceramic yard/factory, etc.
19. Fix up the finds. Sanding, stripping, staining, painting, etc. Use automotive body filler for repairs in a cabinet. Use regular tire dressing on vinyl furniture to buff the scratches and make it shine. Change hardware on a piece. Change the legs or doors. Add molding, decorative appliqués. Use shoe polish on leather to touch up and salvage, etc.
18. Take pre-fab furniture to Fab. Think outside the box. Dress up and rework existing pieces…add molding, trim, stain, etc. One designer took a pine table and gave it an import feel with a ratan shade and moldings. She trimmed out the edge of the table and stained it to look like an expensive piece.
17. Stick with Hook & Loop tape (upholster, adhere molding, etc.)
16. Create an illusion. Make rooms look larger with mid to dark tone paint. Place furniture or painted stripes vertically to make a room look taller. You can make rooms look more balanced by pulling curtains over to make the “center” change or place them higher to make the windows appear larger, etc.
15. Less is more. Restraint is part of good design. Find an inspiration, but keep it simple and add balance. You can create a theme room, but it’s not a theme park.
14. Do your homework. Research and getting the details right brings the look together (period, the look you want, style, etc.) Then after you research the look, research how to make it. If you want to build it or can think it up, learn how and make it happen.
13. Take your time. Take time to find pieces at the right price. Don’t go out in a weekend and just buy what’s on sale…it won’t look like you or be pulled together correctly. Take your time and add pieces as you find them over time so that it is right and YOU!
12. Know when to break the rules. Go over the top with kids rooms if you want. If you are integrating kids spaces and adult spaces, make it cohesive with color coordination.
11. Own the outdoors. Your backyard should be like your living room. Designing an outdoor room is “like” adding square footage to your home. Have nature to enjoy with outdoor living spaces. You can apply all the same design tips outdoors as the indoors.
10. Accessorize! It makes it complete and yours. It is the final layer to having dimension. One project was to take a large votive holder, sunk another glass votive holder in the larger one, filled the rest of it with broken glass, poured resin in the rest of it and let it dry (putting a cup where the candle will go). It was like glass floating in glass.
9. Avoid overkill. Have a maximum number of items/accessories. If you add one, remove one to adhere to the maximum. Have 3’s, 5’s, and 7’s. Have a place for your eye to stop in between the accessories.
8. Drop that brush. Paint is key, but put the paint brush down and pick up your hands, the trowel, or a rag to apply faux finishing treatments. Do it yourself with the equipment in your local hardware store.
7. Expand your faux-rizons. Faux finishes are not just for the walls. Use a product that, when applied, actually creates concrete on your countertops. If you can’t afford new floors, doors, cupboards or counters, there are tons of ways to give them a new look. You can also use staining, stenciling, tiling and acrylic. Lee took frosted glass musite and gave it a raised look to wainscoating and chair rail of the dining room. It highlighted the chair rail with a modern look.
6. You are an artist. Use your own personal artwork. Anyone can create artwork. For inspiration start with what you treasure and transform it into works of art. If you love photos, use them as black and white or sepia tone images so you’re not overwhelmed with the different colors.
5. Dare to design. Your personality should dictate your decor. Their example was the transformation of a back yard to an outdoor wedding glamor space.
4. Look for inspiration. Use mementos from travel or personality to incorporate in the design. For a multi-function need in a room, they took the office and moved it into the closet. They created an upper wall border with actual travel photos, gave a handcrafted look to everything, made a zebra wood veneer with little branches and brought the world to them.
3. Everyone can win. If you share your space with someone with different styles, you can bridge the gap and incorporate both needs. Design for both people and have both personalities represented.
2. Re-think the obvious. If a room is not working for some reason, get creative. They split a dining table in half that could be moved to each side of the room for a kid to have open space for play to accommodate two functions. A problem can become its own solution by re-thinking the obvious.
1. Form + Function = Fabulous. One project incorporated two rolling couches that came together for a bed. Reclaimed lumber table. Cool wall art. 3 colors. Simple. The few things they did were large scale to work for the small space.
MATERIALS: pictures, hanging frames with flat edges (at least 6), tacks
TOOLS: hammer, clamps, wood glue
ASSEMBLY: 1. Purchase frames in a variety that matches your design style: varied size and look if you want an eclectic feel, or uniform size with slight color variation for more disciplined styles.
2. Arrange the frames so that their edges are flush, and adhere them together with wood glue. You can go beyond a normal square, but keep the general shape of the collage geometric so that the outside edges are mostly straight lines.
3. Hang the cluster on as many tacks as needed to support it. You’ll need to use most of the hanging set-ups on the frames.
Scents are a great way of adding appeal to your home. After all, if you don’t take some control of a space’s smell there are lots of nasty odors that will! Nowhere are scents most effective than in the entryway—a good (but not overpowering) scent will make visitors feel welcome and cared for. Think about yourself too—you can arrive home every day welcomed by a fragrance that you love and will, in less time than you think, associate with home. Find candles, incense, potpourri, plug-ins, and the infinite other objects available for scenting rooms—you can even make a hobby out of finding new scents to rotate amongst. A scent collection is easy, exciting, and affordable!