52 Best Interior Decorating Secrets

Inocencia Blewett

Annie Sloan Some people have a natural eye for design, but if you’re more in the camp of those who can’t do anything without consulting Pinterest board upon Pinterest board before making any major changes, we feel you. And even those of us who leave and breathe interior design, some […]

decorating secrets

Annie Sloan

Some people have a natural eye for design, but if you’re more in the camp of those who can’t do anything without consulting Pinterest board upon Pinterest board before making any major changes, we feel you. And even those of us who leave and breathe interior design, some inspiration and guidance never hurts. We’d love to have an interior designer on speed dial before deciding exactly where and how hang to hang that sweet new wall art we bought on a whim so we don’t make any major mistakes. But until we win the lottery, we’ll have to settle for trusting our guts, and taking plenty of decorating tips where we can get them. We’ve compiled some secrets straight from the pros to help you with all your decorating needs.

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Transform Eyesores

“In this basement remodel, we would’ve had to spend a ton of money rerouting the HCVA air duct. Who wouldn’t go with ballet-slipper pink instead?” — Max Humphrey

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Add Faux Molding

“There was no ceiling molding and no molding around the doors in this apartment, so I added them with paint!—Aldous Bertram

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Don’t Be Afraid to DIY

“If punk rock has taught me anything, it’s to do everything yourself. All of my favorite interior designers were self-taught.”—Max Humphrey

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Fake It ‘Til You Make It

“Do something groovy on the actual steps! The bolder you go, the bigger the smile when you see them.” — Fawn Galli. Here, a painted on runner by Annie Sloan looks just like a carpet.

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Mix Old and New Decor

“Old and new belong together. A mix of modern pieces and antiques never tires.”—Caleb Anderson

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Liven Up Ordinary Spaces With Wallpaper

“I love to use wallpaper in mundane spaces. Hallways, pantries, powder rooms—all become moments of joy and funkiness. Areas of transition can be places you enjoy spending time in.”—Fawn Galli

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Choose the Right Bulbs

“Choosing the right light bulb is very important. LED bulbs are energy efficient, and they can look great.”—Paloma Contreras

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Try Out Wicker

“Wicker is an element I love for its texture and versatility. Wicker baskets are so functional for storage, but a wicker animal brings a sense of whimsy.” —Amy Berry

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Upgrade Your Light Switches

“Update your light switches! Elegant controls add a spectacular element to an older home or character to a new one.” —Courtney Hill

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Even Rentals Can Get an Upgrade

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Invest in Antiques

“Great art and fabulous antiques only get better with age. It’s better to cry once and have a forever piece.”—Chandos Dodson Epley

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Trust Your Intuition

“Follow your gut. If you have to talk yourself into liking something, you probably don’t.”—Olivia Erwin

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Use the Ceiling to Redefine the Room

“Look up! We use ceilings a lot. Through them, we define the lines and beauty of a space.”—Julio Salcedo

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Add a Bar

“Every house should have a great bar. It is the central point of a party, and if you entertain a lot, it will be celebrated, so put some thought into it.”—Jordana Joseph

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When in Doubt, Paint It Out

“Never underestimate the power of paint. You don’t have to break the bank to achieve a new look. A fresh coat in a vibrant color takes an old piece of furniture or empty white room and gives it new life.”—Chauncey Boothby

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…and Paint Doesn’t Have to Be All One Color

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White Kitchens Are Forever

“Classics never go out of style. I hesitated about doing a white kitchen in my own house, thinking I’d been there, done that. But I’m so glad I did. I will never tire of it.”—Alexandra Kaehler

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Live in Your Pretty Spaces

“Actually use your beautiful things! I have a chocolate lab and white furniture in my living room. It took some training, but now he knows the furniture is off limits.”—Lindsey Lane

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Get Inspired by Ancient Buildings

“Pull floor patterns from ancient buildings. One inspired the checkerboard pattern of the marble floors in my Los Angeles home.”—Nate Berkus

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Go Dark

“Don’t be afraid of dark. I used this rich Benjamin Moore Midnight Blue on an accent wall—darker than I’d ever dared. It made the whole space come to life.” —Jean Larette

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Collect Art From an Early Age

“Art, art, art! Start young and buy the best you can afford. Its ability to transform a room is unlike any other design tool.”—Jean Liu

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Don’t Be Afraid of Clutter

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Splurge on a Master Bath

“The splurge everyone should make is a fabulous master bathroom. I used hand-painted porcelain sinks in mine.”—Todd Richesin

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Don’t Underestimate the Coffee Table

“In an open seating plan, always use a well-proportioned statement coffee table to ground the arrangement and give it a sense of place.”—Sean Michael

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Be Creative!

“Get creative when thinking about form and function. A client in a traditional Georgian home needed it to work for her modern way of entertaining. We opted for an asymmetrical, organic space that encourages guests to float through the room while engaged in conversation.” —Kate Coughlin

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Make Ceilings Look Higher With Tall Furniture

“Use tall pieces in a low-height room. Short furnishings would make the ceiling feel that much lower to the ground.” —Jason Oliver Nixon

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Invest in Upholstery

“My clients ask about the most important pieces to invest in: I believe in upholstery and art! They help anchor a room.”—Ashley Darryl

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Have Fun

“Make sure you’re having fun. What’s more fun than making your own home more beautiful?”—Eche Martinez

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Create Your Own Light

“When you’re given a dark space that doesn’t have great light, create your own light. In this kitchen, we used Sherwin-​Williams’s sunny Ener­getic Orange, and it turned out just fabulous— so cheerful.”—Matthew Boland

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