8 Home Decorating Tips & Tricks: Using What you Already Have

If you (or your wallet) are not ready for a complete home decor makeover, you can still give your house a facelift – using what you already have. Just ask Greta Baack. Like so many of us in the DMV, Greta has moved many times. She and her family have been all over the globe with their home goods in tow. Imagine living in Egypt, Denver, Scotland and Canada and having your sofa look “right” in all those different settings.

Greta hired an interior decorator almost 20 years ago to help her use her furnishings to their best advantage. She made the most of her talented decorator’s tips – and she’s sharing her favorite tricks with us.

What prompted you to call a professional decorator?

In 1995, we moved from a 5,000-square-foot villa in Cairo to a 2,200-square-foot suburban home in the Denver area. We had no idea what to do with our STUFF!

I heard about a decorator in town who specialized in using what you already have to decorate your home, so I knew she was the person to contact.

I spent a day with her in my home. She went through our rooms and helped me understand what goes where and how to place our pieces. I’ve used her tips every time we’ve moved since. She taught me the basics – and they’ve worked in every home.

So what are your must-do decorating tips to make your home look its best?

My decorator taught me design principles that work no matter your space. It’s not complicated – following some simple rules creates a polished “done” look.

These tips and tricks include:

  1. Furniture placed on the diagonal opens up a room dramatically and makes the big pieces look grand.
  2. If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, hang the oriental rugs up on the walls for great color.
  3. Analogous colors create a beautiful palette in a room. In our Denver home, I had a pink couch, pink and cream chairs, burgundy wing-back chairs, orange pillows and a red oriental rug. That living room was one of my favorites.
  4. If you have two pictures with frames of the same width, hang one above the other. Even if it means one will be close to the floor.
  5. Hang pictures in a row with the bottoms lined up, not the tops. Don’t hang any pictures above eye level.
  6. Create a library in your dining room. It is a great place to have books, and makes a very cozy place for a special candlelight dinner.
  7. Place a shelf high on the wall opposite the mirror in the children’s bathroom. Put all of their favorite knick-knacks on the shelf—all those little things that mean so much to them, and that they can never ever part with. The kids can then see them in the mirror every time they brush their teeth.
  8. Don’t be afraid to paint your furniture. Our old coffee table looked fabulous painted black.

Text by: Cynda Zurfluh

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