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Decorate with Style: Techniques the Professionals Use

1) Know your taste

You may not have noticed it yet but everyone leans towards a particular decor personality. There are endless styles to choose from and chances are you are naturally making choices in that theme. The trick is to know your style then hone in on it. A classic style will tend to be symmetrical and formal with a tendency for dark woods, rich leather, traditional prints and clean lines. Eclectic styles, however, showcase a more chaotic approach to colour and textures. Anything goes and allows a huge amount of creativity to shine through. The glamorous designers amongst us may exhibit elements of the theatrical and elegant, with rich bold colours, luxurious textures and statement pieces.

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2) Play with design styles

Knowing the rules, then breaking them is a much smarter design rule over random purchases and design decisions. Mix up some elements from key styles to look like you know exactly what you’re doing, like a classic chandelier over a rustic table or a retro lamp next to an industrial stool . Some key styles to dabble with include; Mid-century modern, Industrial, Scandinavian, Bohemian, Urban modern and Shabby chic.

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3) Make it personal

It’s your home or place of dwelling and should reflect elements of your personality so experiment with a little self-expression. Try out a bold colour on one wall, have fun with texture, or move your furniture around. Have a look in your wardrobe to see what colours you continuously seem to choose. This is your preferred palette so work it into each room in some capacity, be it a large print on the wall or a throw on the couch.

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4) Small spaces

Change the perception of a small space with subtle design tactics. Add something of great visual interest like a clutter of bright prints, or one wall with interesting wallpaper to draw the eye and distract from the small space. Think vertically with high shelves. Move the furniture away from the walls to create a sense of depth. Overload a small space with luxurious fabrics like long curtains and a velvet throw, just because you can. Lastly, invest in some multi-purpose furniture to allow dual activities like a chest that doubles as a coffee table or a sofa bed.

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5) Hanging art

There is a skill to hanging your prints and artwork at the right level. Get it wrong and the room can feel off-kilter and you may not know why. The professionals hang pieces so that the center of your picture is 57 inches to 60 inches from the floor, this is at the natural eye level of someone of average height of course. If you’re a particularly tall family, firstly congrats, secondly adjust your pictures slightly.

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6) Pick a focal point

Choose your favourite piece in each room and design the rest around it. In your bedroom it’s likely to be your bed. In another room it could be your sofa or a favourite painting. Plan your room and lighting around this and you’ll notice how it anchors the room and draws the eye.

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7) Lighting

Floor lights will add a sense of height to a room. Wall lights will add texture and detail to the overall lighting scheme. Be wary of only using one overhead light source as it can flatten the room and make for a dull atmosphere. Instead, choose a few key positions around the room for lamps that will make cosy corners and a sense of depth.

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