Pro DIY Home Decorating Tips
Professional home stagers know how to highlight your property’s assets, conceal its problems, and appeal to a wide range of buyers. We spoke with a number of professionals across the country to obtain their advice on how to spruce up your home without breaking the bank.
11 DIY Decorating Ideas for Your Home
1. Establish a Positive Atmosphere at the Front Door
Paint the front door a bright, glossy color if you want to make a good first impression. “In many cultures, red is a lucky hue,” explains Lara Allen-Brett, a stager from New Jersey. In early America, a crimson door symbolized “welcome” to weary visitors, and on churches, it represents a safe sanctuary.
According to stager Christopher Breining of San Francisco, two more colors that are gaining popularity are orange and yellow. Both hues evoke feelings of happiness and warmth. An out-of-date screen door is one item that should be removed. Remove it or replace it with a storm door that has full-length glass and can be replaced with a screened panel.
2. Use light and neutral wall colors.
Stick to neutral hues like beige or gray on the first floor, where flow is crucial. “You want as few abrupt transitions as possible,” adds Breining. Neutral walls allow you to simply mix up your accessories, giving you the most decorating versatility.
If you have two small rooms adjacent to each other, painting them the same neutral color will help them feel more spacious. For a modest change from room to room, Allen-Brett recommends looking at a paint strip and moving up or down a shade or two.
3. Living Room: Make sure your sofa and chairs are on the same page.
Consider a great hotel lobby, where the furniture is placed in groups that encourage interaction. Aim for a similar sense of harmony and intimacy when placing furniture in your living space.
“A U-shaped conversation room with a sofa and two chairs facing each other at either end of the coffee table, or an H-shaped conversation area with a sofa directly across from two chairs and a coffee table in the middle,” says Michelle Lynne, a Dallas-based stager.
One classic blunder to avoid is cramming all of your furniture up against the walls. “People do that because they think it would make their room look bigger,” Guides4homeowners explains. “However, floating the furniture away from the walls actually makes the area feel bigger.”
4. Bring The Sun Into Your Kitchen
“A naked bank of windows is better than an unattractive bank of windows when it comes to heavy, outmoded draperies,” Lynne adds. Window treatments should ideally be both useful and elegant: Consider sheers with full-length panels.
If your room gets a lot of sunlight, choose light, non-fading hues. Cotton, linen, and silk mixes are the most popular lightweight materials for panels because they hang beautifully.
5. Each room should have at least one mirror.
“Because mirrors bounce light throughout the room, they can make a space feel brighter,” adds Breining. However, putting one in the wrong place is nearly as terrible as not having one at all.
Mirrors should be hung perpendicular to windows rather than directly across from them. When a mirror is hung directly across from a window, the light is reflected back out the window.
6. Adapt Artwork to the Size of Your Wall
Breining says, “There are few things more ridiculous-looking than hanging dinky small paintings too high on the wall.” The center of a painting should be at eye level. If one individual is short and the other is tall, their heights should be averaged.
Consider scale as well; if you have a huge wall, go big with one oversize piece or group smaller pieces in a gallery-style arrangement. When it comes to the latter, keep the photographs close together; 2 to 4 inches between items looks best.
7. Use Multiple Lighting Sources
Ambient lighting, which provides overall illumination and is often provided by ceiling lights; task lighting, which is often found over a kitchen island or a reading nook; and accent lighting, which is more decorative, highlighting, example, artwork.
You should have at least 3 watts (42 lumens) per square foot in a living area. Uplighting is a visual trick that Breining swears by. “In the corner, a canister uplight or a torchiere will shed a glow on the ceiling, making a room appear larger,” he explains.
8. Underneath Furniture Feet: Anchor Rugs
For an area rug, follow these simple guidelines: “All four legs of a sofa and chairs in a furniture grouping should fit on it in a living room; the rug should define the seating area,” Breining explains. “At the very least, the sofa and chairs’ front two legs should rest on it,” he adds.
To appropriately accommodate a seating area, even living rooms with less than generous proportions normally require an 8-by-10-foot or a 9-by-12-foot rug. If you choose a rug that is too small, everything will appear out of proportion.
9. Hire a professional declutterer
The longer you live somewhere, the less you notice the mess. A new set of eyes is sometimes required. You can hire an organizer for a few hours (prices vary depending on where you live) to declutter your bookcases and closets, which stagers say are often crammed with twice as much material as they should hold.
Breining recommends halving the amount of stuff on your shelves. Then, among the vertical rows, mix horizontal stacks of books and intersperse ornamental objects such as bowls or vases.
10. Raise the Ceiling with Visual Tricks
If your ceilings are low, paint them white to make the space feel more spacious. To make the room appear taller, Allen-Brett recommends hanging curtains higher than the windows. Most conventional curtain panels are 84 or 96 inches long, which allows you to hang them about 3 inches above the window frame before they become too short.
You’ll need to order custom curtains if you wish to hang them higher. Do you like patterned panels? Vertical stripes are a great way to visually lengthen your walls. A taller room can be created by leaning a large mirror against a wall.
11. Make Old Finishes Feel Like Cinderella
Do you have out-of-date fixtures? Spray paint and affordable refurbishing kits can be used to give them a new look. “A fast coat of hammered-bronze or satin-nickel spray paint can give a 1980s brass chandelier a fresh lease on life,” says Breining.
A few coats of white paint and fresh hardware will revive even the most worn-out kitchen cabinets. And if you thought Formica countertops were doomed, think again. Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations, a DIY counter-coating solution that simulates stone and makes even the ugliest 1970s counter look new, is Breining’s favorite.
What’s left to do is replace any cracked or mismatched switch plates and outlet covers with new ones that match. “Nothing dings up a fresh area like a drab, almond-colored switch plate,” Lynne says.