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Tricks of the Trade

Simple design tips for your home By Deann Hammer, Broadway Design

Design is personal. However, in my 30 years of designing homes, I have found some common details that work well for almost every home. These simple tricks will make your home glamorous.

1. Curtains take the edge off and create warmth—literally and figuratively. Solid fabric or textures are best. Buy the best material you can, and make sure it is lined. Hang your curtains as tall as you can, and don’t let them float more than .25 inches off the floor. I prefer to hang the rod directly between the top of the window trim and the ceiling. It will absolutely make your room feel larger. Double curtain panels on each side of the window, in most cases, for fullness. Place them no more than 6 inches overlapping the actual window.

2. Tall shower curtains make an impact. Buy the tallest ones you can. Eighty-four or 96 inches is best. Seventy-two inches is too low and, unfortunately, is the size most stores sell. Look for the larger sizes online. Neutrals work best. If you can’t find a taller height, use a drapery curtain with a shower liner under it. Shower rings will hold both the curtain and the liner on the rod together.

3. Accent walls. Go for neutrals, and keep them in the same color family as your overall wall color. Look for a shade at least three to four colors darker than your base color. I paint accents in one wall in a narrow hall, or at the end of the hall, to create dimension. I use them on fireplace walls, headboard walls, the back wall of a kitchen, and on one stair wall as a backdrop for art.

4. Lighting. Wall sconces, chandeliers and under-cabinet lighting will add dimension and warmth to your home. Your lamps are the “jewelry” of your house, so spend the money and buy the best. Target lamps look cheap. Take your time and buy something well made with a shade that has a texture and color like black or linen, not stark white.

5. Area rugs come in all shapes and prices. Polypropylene carpets are inexpensive, but they are mostly very flat and do not feel good under foot unless they have a nice wool and rubber pad under them. If you buy one, make sure it isn’t shiny.

Stay away from “art silk.” It looks beautiful, and feels soft, but you will never get it clean. If you buy a cheap wool rug, you can bet it is going to shed forever and might not be the best bargain after all.

Handmade carpets are the best investment. They will last a lifetime. Better made carpets have longer carpet fibers and do not shed. They clean much easier than cheap ones, so don’t think you are saving money by spending less assuming your pet will ruin it. You will just be replacing it and buying it twice. After all, sheep live in the dirt and muck, and their natural oils repel most things.

6. Invest in a few pieces of large sized art: 4’ x 4’, 3’ x 6’ or 5’x5’ are great sizes. Too many small wall hangings make a room look busy and less sophisticated. You can purchase large framed custom art from at super prices through your local interior designer. Decorating doesn’t have to be tricky. Trust your local design professional to help you make the best design decisions for the most artful and intelligent impact.

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