My 20 Best Interior Decorating Secrets

November 20, 2018

Toronto Home Staging

As a professional interior stylist and decorator, believe me when I say details really do matter when it comes to decorating and styling.  Some people may have a great eye for decorating and design, but this is more on the side of those who can’t do anything without consulting on Pinterest boards before making any decorating changes.

I’ve compiled some of my decorating and styling secrets to help you with all your decorating needs. Use these tips in your own home and make it just as impressive as your favorite HGTV home reveals.

1. MEASURE 

When furniture shopping, measure your space. Twice. Furniture pieces always look small in the stores because of its wide open space and high ceiling. Always measure first to avoid surprises and the hassle of returning it.

2. THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE

Start your living room furniture plan with the best seat in the room and work from there. You might want to create one or several conversation areas in the large living room for example.

3. THE HANG-UP

Artwork hung over a mantel should have the same or similar width as the fireplace opening but not wider. For artwork behind the sofa, the general rule is at least 75% of the size of the furniture.  I’ve found that 63″ from the floor is the perfect viewing height.

4. YOU NEED BLACK

Every room needs a little touch of black whether it be a lamp, a cushion, your mantel or rug pattern. In combination with other hues, it can provide weight, definition relief, great style, and sophistication.  It’s like a hint of horseradish in a bland sauce – it adds the right amount of life without anyone noticing it.

5. MANTEL TALK

The guideline for galleries is to place them at 60 inches from the floor to the center of the mirror or painting. I found that the perfect amount of space between a mirror and the top of the mantle is 4″- 7″.

6. DISPLAYING COLLECTIONS

Displaying any collection, small or large, call for ruthless editing. Always ask yourself, ‘Do I love it, does it enhance my life, and can I live without it?’ Restrain calms the eye and gives everything a sense of purpose.

7. PILE ON PILLOWS

One pair of pillows always looks skimpy, use two pairs, in contrasting patterns, colors, and textures.  As a stylist and a decorator, I personally don’t do dinky accents… small pillows look like something that came with the furniture.

8. TV TALK

As a general rule, the ideal height to hang your TV screen is at the eye level when you are in viewing position. The ideal viewing distance is one and half times the size of your flat screen.

9. ON LIGHTING

Lighting is everything. It creates atmosphere, drama, and intrigue in a room. The easiest way to accomplish this is to use dimmers and to layer your lighting by using different light sources around the room.

10. MIX METALLICS

Metallic finishes already add plenty of sparkles, but the sheen will make a bigger impact in a variety of colors. I don’t know why people don’t mix gold with silver more often — they look so smart together, the key is to use a lot of both; you can’t be shy with one or the other.

11. FLOAT FURNITURE PIECES

Sofas and chairs work better if you distance them from the wall to create a greater sense of space. By pulling your seating arrangement in (even just a few inches), you instantly warm up space and create flow.

12. DIVIDE AND CONQUER

A decorative folding screen can change an entire room. Standing behind a sofa, a bed, filing an awkward corner, or dividing living-dining area– it adds instant impact.

13. PERFECT HEIGHT

The ideal height for dining room chandeliers should hang 60″to 66″ above the floor or 30″ to 35″ above the dining table.  This is the height that is perfect for function and a visual feast.

14. DINING TABLE DILEMMA

Don’t ever put a round dining table in a long, skinny, rectangular room, and vice versa- never a rectangular dining table in a square room.  Make sure you allow a minimum of 36″ of space around your dining room table to give your chairs enough room to pull back.

15. ODD NUMBERS

Another go-to trick is to arrange accessories in odd numbers. Don’t ask why this works, it just does. There is something visually pleasing about groupings of 3 or 5. To add more interest, use coffee table books or stacked magazines to vary height.

16. KEEP DISTANCE

Keep a minimum of 15″ between coffee tables and sofas.

17. PLAY WITH PATTERNS AND TEXTURE

Use texture and pattern to create areas of interest to guide the eye to particular focal points. Use bold patterns on your cushions, combine it with a similar coloured highly textured cushions, see what happens in your space. You can have a lot of fun by playing around with texture and pattern.

18. BEDROOM RULES

As a decorator, I found that a comfortable height for a bed is 23″ off the floor. And the bench at the foot of the bed should be no less than 4″ to 6″ less than the mattress width.

19. LOOK DOWN

Stylist typically use rugs to highlight a room, increase visual impact, or to create division and definition within an open-concept layout.  With that said, resist the urge to overuse rugs. It’s a fine line between just enough to over-the-top.  For pet owners, cowhide is your best floor covering- you can’t beat it, cannot hurt it.

20. A TOUCH OF COLOUR

Personally, I get bored without a touch of colour in a room.  Interesting, strong, clear colours are easier to live with in the long run than pale colours. People always think its the opposite, but in actuality, soft colours get boring quicker. Artwork is a great way to incorporate colour without commitment!

RED BARRINUEVO

REDESIGN4MORE Inc. Home Staging & Interior Decorating

Toronto-based, award-winning Interior Stylist, Red Barrinuevo is an Interior Decorator and Principal of Redesign4more, servicing clients in Toronto and the GTA. The firm’s known for enhancing and creating stylish yet functional spaces through their creative home staging, interior styling, and design services.

Click here to know more about Red and REDESIGN4MORE.

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