Decorate like the pros: Tips for creating elegant rooms

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:58

    When you look at beautiful rooms— in the pages of glossy magazines and design books, at model rooms in stores, or at local decorator show houses — do you find yourself mystified by how such rooms are created? The most successful interior designers have an arsenal of techniques for turning ordinary rooms into the extraordinary. According to the design experts at Stroheim & Romann, the high-end resource for decorative fabrics, wallpapers, and trimmings, some of these solutions to design problems can be used to create elegant rooms in your own home. Here are some of their tips: Painted walls are nice, and those covered in wallpaper are better, but the most elegant rooms have fabric upholstered walls. Using fabric on the walls adds warmth and texture, and, best of all, a unique one-of-a-kind look. Fabrics can be applied flat against the wall, or layered over batting for a quilted effect. Top designers know that all furniture doesn’t have to match, and that the most interesting rooms have a mix of styles and finishes. For example, pair a dark wood table with pale wood chairs, or combine wood and painted finish furniture in the same room. Even chairs around a dining table need not match if you want to give your room an unconventional look. Create interesting window treatments rather than the expected. Combine two or more different fabrics on the same drapery panel, in either horizontal or vertical bands, or use different fabrics for the draperies and the valance. Customize the window treatment with beautifully detailed trims and tassels. Layer windows with a delicately patterned sheer fabric under soft flowing draperies. Choose distinctive drapery hardware that complements the fabrics, and be sure to use generous amounts of fabric so draperies are full and lush, rather than skimpy. Designers know the value of using furniture that offers flexible options. For example, chairs with upholstered seats or backs are not only more comfortable for dining, but can also be pulled into the living room as extra seating. Make sure the fabrics complement those in the living areas. Explore the many choices available in floor coverings to best complement your decorating scheme, rather than opting for the expected. Rich wood, beautifully patterned or textured carpet, and gleaming tile, marble or stone are all interesting choices. Usually the most beautiful rooms feature a fairly simple color palette. Choose a range of no more than four or five main colors, or limit it to tonal variations on one main color. A monochromatic color palette is especially elegant when there is a mix of textures and patterns. Designers know that a few well-chosen accessories are better than several ordinary ones. A group of artwork or photos with matching frames or mattes, when hung closely together makes a strong statement. A single vase with flowers creates a sculptural effect on a table. Highlight one especially beautiful object by displaying it alone on a wall bracket or shelf.