Those before-and-after shots make decorating look so easy, don’t they? As if someone just came along, waved a magic wand and every room turned out perfectly. Sadly I can’t give you the magic wand, but I can share some basic decorating principles that will help you create your own piece of magic at home. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Choose a hero
Every room needs one hero piece – something that will surprise, delight and make an impact. It might be an over sized piece of furniture in a bold colour, a fabulous rug, a work of art, or a feature wall. Your hero piece is designed to steal the limelight. It should be the thing you fell in love with the moment you saw it, and that you might be prepared to splurge a little more on. Remember, however, to make sure it has space to breathe.
Tip: If your stage-stealing piece is a bold colour, try using hints of it elsewhere for a cohesive look, such as the pink flowers in the vase on top of the candy-coloured sideboard in this dining room.
2. Mix up shapes
Most living rooms will have a lot of rectangles and squares – it’s simply the nature of those bigger furniture items such as sofas, sideboards and shelving units. If you notice your space has lots of lines and right angles, think about adding some circles. A round coffee table, a pair of round side tables, a round rug, a round wall hanging – the options are endless.
Tip: A round mirror is a great way to break up all those straight tile lines in a bathroom. Go as big as you can. Large-scale mirrors make a real statement and can visually enhance the sense of space in a small bathroom too.
3. Hang it right
A beautiful painting or artwork will look far better when hung at the right height. Also, having a consistent center line throughout your home helps create a sense of harmony. As a general rule, the center of the artwork should be at eye level, which for the average person is 145 centimeters from the floor. Remember, that’s 145 centimeters to the center of the art, not to the hook. Yep, I’ve made that mistake before.
Of course all rules are made to be broken, so when it comes to a feature picture wall, well, anything goes. But a top tip is to center the first piece – your statement artwork – at eye level and spread smaller pieces outwards from there.
4. Fake height
Do you have low ceilings? Choose low-profile furniture such as sofas and coffee tables to create the illusion of room height. Boost this with tall, slim bookshelves that draw the eye upwards and make walls and windows appear taller. Mixing different heights in this way will also help create a relaxed vibe in your home.
Tip: To create an illusion of more space, paint the walls, skirting boards and ceiling in the same colour. This will blur the lines of where the walls end and the ceiling begins.
5. Off the wall
A sofa need not be right up against your wall. If you have the space, pull it out a meter or two and put a shelving unit or console on the wall instead. This not only offers up styling opportunities behind the sofa, but it breaks up the room and can make it feel crosier and more inviting.
By LAURA DOWNIE