Whether it’s how to add pops of color to a space, how to arrange furniture for the best flow, or how to pull a room together in a cohesive way, I’ve heard many of the same questions by people seeking decorating and design advice. I don’t follow a rule book and honestly there aren’t any specific guidelines that interior designers adhere to when it comes to decorating or designing. We go by basic principles learned through school, professional and life experience, and even our mistakes. These principles work for us to ensure an amazing result every time. So, here are 20 decorating tips that I hope you find helpful and educational where you can implement some or all of them in your design project!
1. Create a single focal point in your space. A fireplace, dramatic piece of artwork, or a bold light fixture can be great focal points of a room.
2. If you want architectural detail such as crown molding but don’t want the hassle of putting it up, create the illusion of crown molding. Paint a 1.5″-2″ lining stripe around the ceiling and up the walls in the corners to add a refined elegant look.
3. When accessorizing with books, arrange 60% of the books vertically and 40% horizontally on the shelves. Add plants, vases, and objects for visual interest.
4. Hang your dining room light fixtures such as chandeliers or pendants 30-34″ above the dining table for 8′ ceilings.
5. Keep a distance of 15-18″ between coffee tables and sofas for ample legroom.
6. Hang drapes 3″-7″ above the window casing to make your space appear visually taller.
7. Leaning a large mirror against a wall or hanging drapes with vertical stripes can make a room appear taller. The lines visually elongate your walls.
8. To create a one of a kind look, add a decorative finish to furniture with drawer fronts using colorful paint, patterned wallpaper, fabric, or marbleized paper.
9. Built-in furniture such as shelves, cabinets, and seating make highly efficient use of a small space and add architectural details to your home.
10. Mirrors can greatly increase the apparent depth of an area by giving the illusion that the interior extends much father than it actually does.
11. Mount wall sconces (with the light cast upward) above eye level 6 to 6.5 feet above the finished floor if you have 8 or 9 foot ceilings. For higher ceilings, you can mount the wall sconces higher.
12. Select daylight blue or cooler color temperatures (3000K) for your kitchen lights. If you have white cabinetry, it won’t cast a pink or orange hue that typically comes from warmer color temperatures (2700K).
13. Have a good lighting plan and make sure you are compliant with Title 24 lighting codes when you are remodeling your kitchen. At least 50% of the wattage in the kitchen must be high efficacy lights such as LED’s.
14. If you have light colored walls, paint the trims and ceiling a shade to 2 shades darker. If you have
darker walls, paint the trims a lighter shade. This will create a nice contrast and add visual interest and texture.
15. In a living space, all 4 legs of the sofa and/or chairs in a furniture grouping should fit on a rug. At the very least, the front 2 legs should rest on the rug. Or, keep all legs off the rug if you opt for a smaller rug.
16. Before selecting paint color, paint swatches on your wall and ceiling. View the color during the day and at night as it will look differently at different times of the day.
17. Hang artwork so it’s center hangs at 60-66″ from the finished floor when viewed from a standing position.
18. Layer lights at different levels to create a glowing ambience such as ceiling fixtures, table lamps, wall sconces, and floor lamps.
19. If you are limited on floor space, go vertical. Maximize your wall space with shelves of varying heights and lengths.
20. A great rule of thumb is to take the width of the room in feet, double the number, convert it to inches, and that is the minimum dimension for your light fixture’s diameter.