Decorating Secrets Nobody Ever Tells You

Do you swoon while reading design magazines? Does your heart pitter patter while watching the television decorating shows (and not just because they have hunky hosts)? Does the thought of touring decorator show houses make you giddy? Well my friend you have a case of Design Love. Yup, it’s contagious. I know, I have an acute case myself.

It’s 2 a.m., my bedroom lights are off, my honey is snoring and I am quietly still surfing the web looking at sexy …new chaises, chandeliers, chenilles. Oh my god I can’t stop looking at beautiful products and spaces.

My doctor says I have absorbed extremely large doses of good taste, decorating secrets, and clever remodeling ideas and if I don’t cut it out there could be long-term consequences. “Consequences?” I asked “

“Yup, you are going to burst at the welt, I mean seams, and tell everyone you meet all your stylish and clever ideas and then, and then …..”

“And then,” I interrupt, “everyone will know my decorating secrets and get to live in a space they love,” I smile. I can live with that prescription.

Secret #1 – Think Like a Supermodel

If you want to create a sense of height and drama in a space, mount your drapery hardware higher above you window and closer to the ceiling. This will make your room appear “tall” with long flowing drapes, as well as add visual impact particularly if your fabric has a large pattern or bold color.

Secret #2 – Tell Me A Story

Bookcases shouldn’t be boring. Paint the inside back and sides (if you want) of your bookcase in a complementary color to your room. Then pick up that same color in select room accessories. This will make the bookcases’ displayed items pop, while creating visual interest and cohesiveness in your space.

Decorating Secrets Bookcase

This back-painted bookcase adds personality and showcases its’ contents with a pretty shade of blue. House Beautiful, August 2009.

Secret #3 – Come Closer Baby

Guess what? You don’t have to have a sofa in your living or great room. Really. Three or four comfortable upholstered chairs around a cocktail table or large ottoman is conversational, intimate and more interesting.

Secret #4 – Helloooo Gorgeous!

Mirrors aren’t just for hanging on a wall and checking your lipstick. A mirrored backsplash in a kitchen or butler’s pantry is easy to install, reflects, enlarges your space and is something unexpected.

Secret #5 – Don’t Circle the Wagons

Furniture placed around the room perimeter is like sitting at a Girl Scout campfire. Try positioning your furniture and rugs on an angle. This will transform the whole dynamic of your space and create more interest.


Secret #6– Look To The Sky

Nothing is more uninspiring than a plain white ceiling. Treat the surface like your fifth wall – paint it an interesting complementary color to your space, cover it in a sophisticated metallic wall covering, upholster it with textural fabric, install decorative wood beams, highlight it with metal ceiling tiles, dance on, just don’t paint it white!

Ajiro Sunburst

Ajiro Sunbrust™ inlaid wood veneer wall covering from Maya Romanoff  would make a striking statement as a ceiling treatment in a den or study.

Secret #7 Keep The Men Smiling

Your TV doesn’t have to be hidden if you wall-mount your flat screen you can place it off-center and balance it with paintings, or program it with video art. Sorry ladies!

Secret # 8 – Go For The Real Deal

A real oriental or Tibetan rug in the kitchen or bath will look rich, feel elegant and wear better (yes, even in a bathroom) then a synthetic rug from a big-box retailer.

Secret #9 – Light My Fire

Visit an architectural salvage yard, or molding shop, and purchase an interesting fireplace mantel even if you don’t have a fireplace. Place it in your room, mount it securely, and stage the mantel with scented candles, beautiful art, colorful flowers and favorite books.

Secret #10 – Enjoy a Childhood Favorite

Remember playing musical chairs? Well the game is back, so to speak, as sitting in matching chairs is OUT. Create a more dynamic dining space by mixing up your seating and not opting for matchy-matchy. Try an upholstered bench, small sofa or two different dining table head chairs to add visual interest.

Decorating Secrets Sofa Chairs

An upholstered sofa paired with dining chairs creates a unique space.
Elle Décor, 2007.

Secret #11 – Color Me Happy

Painting a room first and then trying to find an area rug, fabrics and finishes to work with the wall color is like trying to run a marathon in 5” heels – you can do it but it is going to be painful and take a lot longer. Instead, finalize your flooring, upholstered fabrics, window treatment materials and THEN try different paint samples to find the best color to complement your selections.

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11 Responses to Decorating Secrets Nobody Ever Tells You

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