accents, such as new pillows, can liven up a room.
1. Light It Up
"Lighting is often taken for
granted or completely ignored, but it is an important design element.
The right light can enliven a space," says Noreena Scheve,
interior designer with Design Resource Center in Elm Grove.
"Lights can showcase a wall or highlight specific points on a
wall such as artwork, photographs or architectural elements. You can
wash a wall with light to reveal textures or faux finishes, or set a
small light behind a plant to create dramatic shadows. There’s so
much you can do," she says.
2. Put Your Wall Up
Wall panels defined by moldings can add
interest to plain walls. "We used wall panels in an ultra-modern
condominium and completely transformed it. You would’ve thought you
were in a pre-war apartment in New York," says Jon Schlagenhaft
of Jon Schlagenhaft Design of Mequon. "The panels can go floor to
ceiling or just part of the way down. They really add character to
plain walls," he adds. The interior of the panel or the moldings
can be painted a different color than the walls or finished with a
3. Gotcha Covered
If the idea of wallpaper makes you
cringe, consider this: "Wallpaper has really changed since the
’70s and ’80s," Sheve says. "There are more graphic
designs, more bold and bright colors and some with just a touch of
metallic — not to mention cork and even snakeskin patterns,"
Putting up and taking down wallpaper
— one of the biggest pains in redecorating — has even gotten
easier, Sheve says. "Some wallpaper can go on and off almost like
a Post-it® note. It has staying power, but will come down easily when
you want it to."
4. Ceilings: The Fifth Wall
Make the ceiling the fifth wall of the
room. Remember, walls can be one color or pattern, ceilings another.
Create interest on often-forgotten upper walls and ceilings with bands
of vibrant color or pieces of fabric, such as canopies and
architectural embellishments. Ceiling panels draw the eye upward and
create an interesting effect. "In a kids’ room, round, fabric
covered acoustical disks mounted to the ceiling can control noise.
And, fabric suspended from the ceiling, flowing over a bed can add
intimacy," Sheve says.
5. Refresh With Color
There’s nothing like a fresh coat of
paint to revitalize a bland space. Work with colors that please you,
says Schlagenhaft. "I avoid color trends, but what is popular now
and really beautiful are subdued colors such as grayed out blue-greens
and turquoise or browned out purple or violet. These colors are
sophisticated and glamorous," he says. "If you’re nervous
about how a color will look, many manufacturers are providing small
paint samples that you can try out."
6. Design With An Accent
The use of accent colors can brighten
up a plain room or add a cohesive feeling. Use an accent color in
artwork, decorative pillows, throws or items such as ceramics or
collectibles, Schlagenhaft suggests. But be frugal with the accent
colors or you’ll risk losing the effect. "I would use no more
than three accent colors in a room," he says.
7. Do-it-Yourself Art
One of the easiest ways to enliven
walls is with artwork. Art used to belong only to those with plenty of
money to spend, but not so these days. You can create your own
striking works of art by purchasing inexpensive canvases and paints
from arts and crafts stores, according to experts. Best of all, you
can create artwork expressly to harmonize with your décor, using
colors or patterns that coordinate with your furnishings.
8. Whimsy Is In
Give flight to your imagination with a
little bit of whimsy, says Sheve. "Take something you love or
treasure and weave it throughout various rooms, whether it is in wall
coverings, window treatments, or whatever you like. I had one client
who loved pineapples, which are the traditional symbol of greeting. We
used it in various ways throughout her home. It doesn’t have to be
obvious," she says. You can use this idea again and again, using
other favorite items like musical instruments, a favorite flower or
even animal prints. M