by Suzanne Cox-Hudson
illustration by Jessica Porter
As a launching lady, you need a space that’s comfortable, inspiring, and just as fabulous as you are. But what to do if you’re pressed for time or low on cash? As a decorator, trainer, and specialist in the use-what-you’ve-got concept of design, I help people make over their spaces and their businesses. Here are my style tips for changing a room for the better—tonight.
1. Start by clearing the room. This allows you to see the bones of the space. Work with a partner and actively try not to put everything back as it was.
2. Identify natural points of interest. Does the room have a focal point, such as a wall of windows or a fireplace? Then you’ll want to make it the star of the room by orienting furniture toward or around it.
3. Avoid the “junior high dance phenomenon.” Are your sofas and chairs on parallel walls, like nervous boys and girls on opposite sides of the gym at a junior high dance? A more conversational and dynamic placement would be an L-shaped configuration of your seating pieces.
4. Make a color statement on the walls. The most obvious way to do this is to add a fabulous paint color to at least one wall of your space. But you can achieve a similar effect with large art, store-bought drapery panels, or even a large artist’s canvas swathed in paint. (The latter is a great solution for renters not permitted to paint the walls.)
5. Now, bring color into the room. An accent color really should be repeated at least three times in a room before it “sticks,” or has noticeable impact. Gather items of the same color from around your home, or go hunting for them at your nearest decor retailer. Either way, be on the lookout for throw pillows and blankets, small art pieces, pottery, and accessories.
6. Add some light and life to your room. In my training, I learned that many designers view plants as the “lipstick of the room,” and they remove them from their rooms’ “before” photos. When you add large live plants to a room, the space looks fresher and more polished. Also, add a number of lamps to ensure an even distribution of light at all times of the day.
7. Stretch. Most of us have too many small accessories. Look for pieces that can help you add height to your room. Tall floor vases filled with long twigs from outside, drapery or fabric hung from a rod, a single long piece of art work, or multiple art pieces hung in a vertical line can all help to add height to your space.
8. Finally, add something that’s totally you. Bring something into the room that you really love. It could be something from your travels, a splurge you saved for, or a photo of your friends.
Have fun and enjoy your “new” space!