We recently chatted with a few interior designers who gave us the lowdown on some welcoming and (mostly) budget-friendly ways to add some oomph to your brand-new abode. Here are a few of their favorite tricks:
1. Accentuate the positive. Add an accent paint color to a ceiling, a focal wall or even an entire room and you can make a big statement without racking up a big bill, said Angela Nuessle, national interior design director for Pulte Homes in Scottsdale.
“Adding a lighter color to the ceiling helps to elongate or enlarge the space and if you have a coffered or tray ceiling, it also helps draw attention to that architectural detail,” she said. “Contrary to that, if you have very high ceilings, you could go a darker shade for a bold impact.”
2. Get glowing. Spiffing up your light fixtures is another quick and easy way to show your savvy on a shoestring budget. Have overhead lighting provide the general light to a room and use decorative lamps for ambient or task lighting.
3. Be regal. “Adding crown molding or a chair rail to a room will increase the value of your home, give a room a custom-made feel and it won’t break the bank,” Nuessle said. “You can do a room for under $300 if you do it yourself.” Most determined folks can install this kind of project in a weekend, but mitering corners can be tricky, so take your time and be patient. Accenting walls with trim is another crafty move, said Deanna Katri, an interior designer with Mattamy Homes and the owner of Design Evolution, Inc. in The Woodlands, Texas.
4. Welcome those hang-ups! There’s nothing like new draperies to add a bit of posh to a room. “Be sure to select panels that maximize the overall height of your room,” Nuessle said. “Your drapery panels should be three to five inches shorter than the overall height of your ceiling.” Also invest in a suitable curtain rod — one that covers a bit of wall, not just the window; it’s a more luxurious look that makes the window appear larger.
5. Look out below. Introducing an area rug can transform the look and feel of a room; it’s a soft element that literally and figuratively grounds a space. Whether you opt for a “nod to nature” with a durable sisal version or turn up the drama with a geometric pattern, be sure to get the size right. For a dining room rug, for example, make sure there’s 12 inches of material from the back of the chair, to accommodate a chair being pulled out.
6. Roll with it. Guess what? Wallpaper is back, Katri said, with patterns and raised designs that are perfect for that plush powder room or another room that needs a special touch. “Wallpaper is not what it used to be,” Nuessle agreed. “It’s come a long way in both design and technology.”
7. Bring the indoors out and vice versa. Bring excitement back to your patio by treating metal pieces with a coat of vibrant-hued paint. Inside, Nuessle likes to incorporate furniture or accessories made of weathered wood and then mix in other natural elements like linen drapes, cozy throw pillows and accessories dotted with sea glass.
8. Show some metal. One trend showing staying power is the merging of metals, especially on home accessories. “It’s a more eclectic feel that’s gaining in popularity,” Nuessle said. Start looking for the likes of brass mixed with black iron or brushed nickel and other unique combinations. Aged brass is also staging a comeback right now, so keep your eyes open for items featuring this soft, gold-colored finish.
9. Update the little things. Add interest to an outdated space by sprinkling in a few new accessories, an easy move thanks to retailers that offer designer-inspired items at discount prices. “They should have function and appeal to your personal style,” Nuessle said, “so select pieces that inspire you.”
10. Keep it classic. That means keeping the base pieces — sofas, wall colors, carpet — on the neutral side and decorating the way you like, not doing what is necessarily all the rage. And, depending upon the room, you might consider going in a different color direction to get the biggest change-up bang for your buck, she said.