10 Secrets Decorators Don't Want You To Know
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Trade Secrets1 of 11
By Andie Huber
Want to know the secret to decorating like an interior designer? We got a couple of our favorite pros to tell all. Whether you're wondering which colors pair best or where to score amazing one-of-a-kind items, here's the insider scoop.
Fabric First2 of 11
Rebecca Thienes, a design consultant in New York, says that when embarking on a new decorating project, you should always start with your fabric, then match your paint. "Decorators know it's much easier to match paint colors to a fabric they love rather than find a fabric to match a specific paint color," she says.
Gray Area3 of 11
Still unsure which paint color to choose? Trip Haenisch, interior designer to celebrities including Courtney Cox and Edward Norton, offers his fool-proof plan: "You can never go wrong with Benjamin Moore's Swiss Coffee (a creamy neutral) or Dove Gray," he says.
Go Crazy4 of 11
Ready to take a chance with your decorating but feel like the living room might be too risky? "Powder rooms may seem like insignificant spaces, but they are one of the places you can have the most fun," says Haenisch. "Use crazy wallpaper or an interesting light to make the space feel like a departure from the rest of the house."
Outtake Mistakes5 of 11
A little-known fact, according to Thienes? "Paint stores usually have a 'whoops' pile. Swing by in the morning to see if they've mixed any paints that haven't been picked up—if you like the color, you can get a gallon for as little as $5!"
Less Is More6 of 11
"Don't overload your bookshelves with knickknacks and pictures. By keeping just a few items, you achieve a more stunning effect," says Haenisch. The empty space around the books and vases is a nice relief rather than the space being overstuffed and overstimulating.
Collection Notice7 of 11
Thienes suggests committing to one strong accessory or theme that speaks to your individual taste, and to really go for it. Whether it's pottery from the 1940s or decorative skulls, collect enough (three items make a collection) so it creates a strong visual impact.
Island Time8 of 11
Want a kitchen that stands out? "Add character by using a different material or finish on the island," says Haenisch. Rather than use the same cabinet color as you have in the rest of your kitchen, choose a complementary color for the cabinets on the island. Or choose a different material for the surface. This will give your space a bespoke feel without adding to the budget.
What's in Store9 of 11
If you need just a little bit of decorating help, "Retailers like Room & Board, DWR, Ethan Allen and Bo Concept extensively train their associates to offer design advice," reveals Thienes. "Enter the store armed with inspiration photos and dimensions, and an associate can act as honorary interior designer," she says. The one catch? They'll expect you to buy something.
Flower Power10 of 11
"Restrain yourself when decorating with flowers," suggests Haenisch. Keep the type and color of the flowers similar—if you are using different flowers stick to the similar colors and shades. The uniformity of the display will create a stunning effect.
By the Book11 of 11
Another secret to decorating like a professional? "Create a notebook for your home, dividing the sections by room. Take photos of your space and measure everything," says Thienes. "Add fabric and paint swatches to the book so you'll always have an easy reference when you go shopping—you'll never have to wonder if something is going to fit or match," she adds.
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