A talented interior designer can completely transform a space with sweeping architectural and design changes — and these wonderful little tricks of the trade.
You don’t need a design degree to add that “polishing touch” to your home. Famous designers share their professional secrets to help you revamp a room with just a few simple and affordable changes.
Tips for utilizing window coverings in your design
Use these terrific tricks for using drapes as the perfect polishing touch to a room.
Window treatments that frame or hide the view: Use shades, shutters, curtains and valances to control sight lines to the outdoors.
“Open window coverings wide to let in light and frame great views, but carefully adjust drapes or blinds to hide views that are negative,” says artist and designer Pablo Solomon.
Crisp, wrinkle-free draperies: Your fabulous window treatments will have a ho-hum appearance until you give them that finishing touch. Beverly Hills designer Ryan Saghian equates steaming drapes with a woman curling her lashes.
“I always do a final steam before I wrap a project,” says Saghian.
Paint-and-panel match: Window coverings have the power to make a space appear larger.
“Choose drapery panels similar in color to your walls to create an expansive look in small rooms,” says Los Angeles-based interior designer Baiyina Hughley.
Rich-looking budget drapes: Get custom-look window panels without spending big bucks.
“Add trim to plain, inexpensive curtains,” says Los Angeles interior designer Cody Elderkin.
Consider ribbons, beads, fringes, tassels, braided cords or anything that makes your panels look unique and beautiful.
Tips for using books as decor
Stop looking at your family’s book inventory as clutter. Decorators’ tricks enable you to incorporate beloved reading material into your home’s final design.
Coffee-table books: Books make a house look and feel like a home.
“Books tell a lot about the people living there and what interests they may have,” says Saghian. “I love to add decorative coffee-table books all over the room.”
Books as furniture: Don’t hide your books in boxes or bins. Proudly display them as a way to inject your family’s personality into a room. Use stacked books as side tables or to prop up a lamp or decorative collectible.
Color-coded shelves: “If you have a lot of books and trinkets you would like to decorate your bookshelves with, organize them by color,” suggests interior designer Alison Victoria, host of HGTV’s Kitchen Crashers. “It will instantly create a fresh and streamlined appearance, so they don’t look cluttered.”
Spine-in books: For a sleek, modern look, turn those books around.
“Style decorative bookshelves with your books backward (pages showing),” says Hughley. “Lay them flat, stacking them into piles of different heights for a clean look.”
Tips for creating the perfect, polished bedroom
Incorporate sneaky designer tricks for a resort-style bedroom retreat.
Larger comforters: “Always use the next-size-up comforter in a duvet for a full look,” says Los Angeles–based interior designer Baiyina Hughley. “Use a king-sized insert inside a queen duvet cover, fold it into thirds at the foot of your bed and use a coverlet over the sheets for a polished look.”
Small-scale art: The bed is the focal point in the room, but the decor doesn’t end there.
“Place a tiny framed piece of art above a headboard to draw the eye up,” says Hughley. “The small scale above the large bed tricks the eye and works beautifully.”
Puffed-up bed pillows: “Pillow inserts inside of pillowcases should be 1 to 2 inches larger than the cover,” says Hughley. “Don’t use full down inserts for decorative Euro shams or bolster pillows — use a 30/70 mix so they stand fuller and don’t deflate when you lean on them.”
Pillow chop: You’ve heard of fluffing the pillows, but chopping them?
“I always like to use down feather-pillow inserts and judo chop them,” says Saghian. “The judo chop is a design tool that always looks better.”
Glass and mirrors: Add a true polishing touch to the bedroom with shiny accessories that play off the light.
“Mirrors or glass table accents add glamour to any room,” says Desha Peacock, author of Create the Life You Crave on a Budget You Can Afford.
Vintage accessories: Even the most contemporary bedroom decor can use an antique touch.
“A little bit of old-world charm makes a big impact,” says Saghian. “I always like to mix in some vintage treasures that I find at thrift shops and flea markets.”
Tips to incorporate that ugly TV into your design
It’s black. It’s square. And it’s downright ugly. That eyesore of a TV can really detract from your overall design, but these simple tricks help make it far less offensive.
Mounted TV: “A task as simple as mounting your TV can quickly transform your space,” says celebrity interior designer Genevieve Gorder. “Not only will this create a more open look and more space, but it will increase safety.”
Camouflaged TV: “Place art and furnishings around your mounted TV to blend with the wall decor,” says Gorder. “The TV becomes less of a focal point and instead more like a piece of art itself.”
Keep it clean and bright for that final touch
Your home is a work-in-progress, and you’ll continually find things that you want to change. Whatever your style or design choices, keeping your home neat and clean will make it feel complete.
“The term ‘polishing touch’ has stuck for a reason,” says Solomon. “The cleaner, brighter and more polished everything is, the better the impression it will make.”
More design tips
HGTV’s Genevieve Gorder demystifies the design process
The cost of hiring an interior designer: Is it worth it?
How to talk like a designer