Welcome to Decorating Diva, where every week we share fresh, fun ways to update your home and spice up your living space! This week we’re looking at simple ways to create a style statement in your home without putting a strain on your wallet. You probably have a signature dish (or a cocktail you’ve put a distinctive spin on), a unique fashion sense and personality to match – so now it’s time to put your stamp on every room in the house. We show you how in a way that’s easy – and affordable.
We turned to Susan Fredman at Susan Fredman Design Group in Chicago to get some insight into how to create a signature look and feel in your home. "Before embarking on a design project, it's important to understand who you are, how you want your space to function and what your taste is so you can choose items carefully," the designer explains. "I truly believe that your environment has a profound effect on how you function. Your space should nurture you, and everything in it should make you happy when you look at it." She shares her tips with the Decorating Diva for creating a space that makes a statement.
Think about what inspires you
One of the best ways to create a personalized look that really represents who you are is to incorporate art pieces or photos that make a statement about you, your style or a favorite place or experience, Fredman explains. One piece of art or a large photograph (possibly an amazing photo from a recent vacation) can change the entire look of a room, she says. Framing doesn't have to be expensive, either. A simple black, white or metal frame lets the piece shine.
Art can be found anywhere -- you just have to keep your eyes open. Local art fairs are a great place to find unique pieces at affordable prices -- and don't forget antique shops, thrift stores and flea markets for unique, quirky items that catch your eye.
Add wall coverings
Sometimes making a style statement means going big, and a great way to create a dramatic look is with wall coverings, which add texture and can transform the look of a painted room, Fredman says. This could be anything from a large decorative scroll to a large framed section of textured wallpaper you love to an eye-catching textile you picked up in your travels – anything that will turn a naked wall into something that gets noticed.
Update with accessories
It's easy to show off your personality and make a statement with accessories. Update and personalize your space with a new rug or throw pillows – an affordable way to incorporate colors and textures you love. To really save money, before buying new pieces, look around your house to see if you can swap or mix and match with pieces from another room, Fredman suggests. If you have neutral furniture, add punch with items in bright, eye-popping hues, which will instantly give your space some character.
Focus on family
Bring out any family heirlooms that have been in storage or collecting dust in the basement and update them to fit into your space, says Fredman. This is a great way to give older pieces new life -- and, of course, show off your heritage through the home décor accessories that have been passed down through generations. If you don't have any heirlooms, you can still focus on family by displaying items that are near and dear to your heart on bookshelves, mantels or coffee tables.
Fill a series of shadowboxes with family memorabilia such as postcards, snapshots, handwritten notes or ticket stubs from your travels, and hang them in the entryway or living room to really warm up your space.
Repaint and re-stain
Think about repainting, re-staining or reupholstering furniture for a fresh new look, Fredman says. "A funky upholstery fabric and some glossy paint can breathe new life into a vintage chair and create a focal point for your space," she adds. Old photographs and posters can also be updated by painting the frames or buying new ones. Finding ways to make a statement with items you already have is a fun and affordable way to breathe new life into your home.
If you have any collections you love, be sure to show them off. Have a few vases that look good together? Take them out of the cabinet and display them on a regular basis. Fredman suggests creating groupings with an odd number of items (a group of three always works) for a look that shows off the things you love while also giving the room a visual anchor or a visual arrangement that catches the eye immediately on entering. Even a wall that features a group of three or five mirrors of various sizes, or a cluster of large candles in ornate holders offer a simple way to put your stamp on a room.
Fredman wants to stress that good design comes in every price range, and knowing what you want will help you make wise decisions. "Incorporating a sense of history and rich textures will help your space tell a story, regardless of your budget."
How to paint furniture
Handpainted furniture can add personality and style to any room in your home. Whether you want to buy painted furniture or learn how to paint furniture, these tips will help.