We have Sabrina Soto, decor expert, HGTV host and author of Sabrina Soto Home Design, here to share her top design tips with SheKnows. This week she's helping us handle some of our most frustrating decor-related questions.
How to do I make my small space appear bigger?
No room? No problem, says Soto. There are a few simple but effective ways to open up your home no matter how much square footage you're lacking. Start with mirrors. "Mirrors are great in small spaces. They reflect light and create the illusion of a big space." Next, be strategic about furniture. "It's a good idea to choose small scale furniture. Heavier pieces tend to overpower in small spaces," she explains.
What should you buy? Soto suggests Lucite and acrylic furniture because it takes up less "visual" space (i.e., won't weigh down a small room).
How do I cut back on clutter?
The first step toward a clutter-free lifestyle is to stay organized, stresses Soto. "Putting things away and keeping tidy will keep you aware of what you have, and what you don't need," she explains. If you're worried about the fact you don't have time to keep things organized, it doesn't have to be a daily chore. "Schedule a 'mini de-clutter' day once a week to put things away and get rid of the things you don't need."
I can't afford art but need something on my walls — what can I do?
Blank walls can make your home feel sparse, whereas art adds personality and interest to any room. But buying paintings can get costly. "If you absolutely love a piece but can't afford it, purchase a poster print," suggests Soto. "They are cheap and affordable. Just frame and hang."
Want to get more creative? Decorate with photos. "Make your own art," says Soto. "Gather your favorite photographs and create a photo collage." Whether it's candid family shots or your favorite travel moments, a grouping of your best pictures adds warmth and looks great.
It's too dark in my apartment — how do I brighten things up?
Not every home is going to get a lot of light, or be set up to optimize the light it gets. "To brighten your space, make sure to use lighter color schemes. Darker colors can weigh a room down," advises Soto. "Add pops of bright color such as orange, yellow or red and incorporate in your accents, pillows and throws."
I can't decide on a color scheme — where do I start?
Whether you're moving into a new home or redecorating the one you have, choosing a color scheme can be daunting. "You can never go wrong with complimentary color schemes," says Soto. "Match your blues with orange hues and purples with yellow tones." She also recommends picking two or three of your favorite colors and using them in a 60-to-30-to-10 ratio for the perfect color balance. "This is something I like to call the system of trios."
I don't want to buy new couches — how can I refresh my living room?
If your sofa is still in good shape, you don't need to splurge on another. "Either cover it with a new slipcover or switch up your sofa pillows and throws for fresh ones," suggests Soto. "Small little updates can go a long way."
Is there a stylish way to hide all those wires?
Wires from all your gadgets and home electronics can look messy, but there is a way to make things look tidy. "Purchase a surge protector or multi-power socket. This keeps all of your wires in one place and is easy to keep out of sight behind a back paneled furniture piece," says Soto. She also suggests creating a cable basket or shelf under your desk to run the wires to keep your floors clean and wires hidden.
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