Your Home, Only Better
A few easy decorating moves can take a space from standard to spectacular. Try these expert ideas to give your rooms a refresh.
There’s a common misconception that redecorating your home is an expensive, time-consuming endeavor. Sometimes a refresh is as simple as hanging a large painting above a sofa or painting an accent wall with a bold color. Here are some quick makeover tips that will make your home feel new to you.
Put a Statement Piece Above the Sofa
The sofa is usually the biggest piece of furniture in a room, so your best bet is to pair it with the largest piece of art (or a group of multiples) for a balanced-looking space. A good guideline? “Fill at least two-thirds of the wall horizontally and vertically,” says New York City designer Elaine Griffin. If you’re going for a gallery wall, stick with art in a limited color palette, says Mangini: “You can’t mess it up if you choose pieces with, say, mostly yellows or pinks.”
Get a similar look: Boxer Dog art print, $31 (17" x 20"); society6.com; San Cristóbol pillow in tan, $88; ara-collective.com.
Make a Tiny Bedroom Feel Big with Something Bold
Think big. It seems counterintuitive, but giving a tiny room one big, bold design element — like patterned wallpaper or a deep, saturated paint color — makes it feel like a magical nook instead of a tight, tricky space, says Brooklyn-based designer Tara Mangini, cofounder of Jersey Ice Cream Co. The warmer the hues, the better (think rich blues and creamy whites), and textured touches help, too, says Amber Lewis, a Los Angeles designer and founder of Amber Interiors: “Some of my go-tos are a chunky knit blanket or a fringed throw at the end of the bed.”
Get a similar look: Handmade pine textile ladder, $65 (6 ft.), etsy.com/shop/NewAndNostalgicCo; classic throw, $61 each; turkish-t.com
Location: Bondi Beach, Australia
Warm up Your Kitchen With Non-Kitchen Finds
Bring in warmth and character with non-kitchen pieces like a table lamp or an antique hutch in place of built-in cabinets, says Todd Nickey, a Los Angeles designer and cofounder of Nickey Kehoe. “Open shelving is great, too. It makes the space airier and lets you punch up the personality with decorative objects.”
Get a similar look: Parker counter stool in zinc, $124; blackhouse.co
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Connect Spaces with Elements that Echo
If you’re looking to connect two open spaces like a living room and an open kitchen, it’s simple: pick an element that repeats. “If you have one or two threads of continuity — the same drapery fabric, shade of wood, metal finish, or rug color in both areas — you can mix up the rest, and your space will always look cohesive,” says Vern Yip, an Atlanta-based designer and TLC and HGTV host. Consider this paint trick, too, says Griffin: “If you don’t want the exact same color on all the walls, use two different ones within the same family. Painting one room a color that’s two to three shades lighter or darker than the other is pretty foolproof.”
Get a similar look: Bertogne coffee table, $999; arhaus.com
Location: Los Angeles
Go for a Big Area Rug
When choosing the right-sized rug, most people underestimate and end up with one that looks puny, like it’s floating in the space instead of anchoring the furniture around it, says Yip. You can’t go wrong if you cover most of the area, leaving about a foot of bare floor from the edge. Before you decide on a material, think about how the room is used. “For a bedroom, you want a plush rug that feels great underfoot,” says Justina Blakeney, a Los Angeles designer and founder of the lifestyle brand Jungalow. “A living room gets more traffic, so you need one that’s durable and hides dirt.” Have a too-small rug you don’t want to get rid of? Layer it on top of a larger sisal or sea-grass rug, suggests Griffin.
Get a similar look: 1938 tobacco leather butterfly chair, $399; cb2.com
No Entryway? Create a Fake One!
Adding accents — like oversize, artful wall hooks for bags, coats, and backpacks — helps create a faux foyer, says Blakeney. “If you have the space, squeeze in a thin console table with a bowl as your mail-and-keys drop zone.” Consider hanging a mirror there, too, says Shea McGee, cofounder of Studio McGee in Salt Lake City: “It’s ideal for that last hair check before heading out the door.”
Get a similar look: Solid brass hooks, $180 for set of four; lightandladder.com
Location: Brunswick, Australia
About the author: Betsy Goldberg is the deputy editor (Home) of Airbnb Magazine. Previously she was the deputy editor of Real Simple and HGTV Magazine, editorial content director at Bed Bath & Beyond, and an editor at UsWeekly, Modern Bride, and New York Magazine. She is co-author of BusinessWeek’s Guide to the Best Business Schools. Her writing has also appeared in Glamour, Health, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Money.