Top Secrets Every Designer Does Not Want You To Know


1.  When decorating use the 70/20/10 rule.  The neurtral color should be 70% of the room, the secondary color is 20%, and the bold accent color is 10%. 

2. Hang curtain panels to the ceiling to make a room feel taller.  The average sizes of curtains are 84”, 96”, 108”, and 120”.  Please never use 84” because it is too short, unless you live in a hobbit house.  Curtains should not touch the floor; instead, they should stop 1” above the floor.

3. Having a maximum of 5 items on a kitchen counter makes it feel cleaner and much larger. For example: coffee maker, utensil holder, soap dispenser, spice rack, and knifes.  

4.  In a living room, pulling your seating a few inches off of the wall will makes a room feel cozier.

5. Add a tray on your coffee table or ottoman to cluster unusual items together.

6.  ALWAYS pick a color scheme of 2-3 colors.  Make sure every item in the room has at least one of the colors in it.  This will include family pictures, books, art, rugs, pillows, etc.

7.  If you use a rug, a common and versatile size is 8x10 or 8x11.  Make sure the rug is large enough to place the front feet of all the furniture on the rug.

8.  To create a designer look, make the art as large as possible.  Most people buy too small.  Art is a large investment but makes a huge impact.

9.  Using the same paint color throughout your home creates consistency.

10.  Make sure to mix textures in a room.  Glass, wood, fabric, metal, leather, etc.

11.  Add a little shimmer.  Glass lamps are a good option.

12.  Every room needs a touch of black.  It adds a bit of depth and modern appeal.

13. Mixing in an antique can give a room a more unique style.

14.  Find a good upholstery person to re-cover furniture.  Re-covering an antique gives your home more personality.  My guy knows my voice as soon as I call.

15.  Expect to spend 10-20% of your home’s value on decorating.  For example a $500,000 home should cost between $50,000 to $100,000 to decorate.

16. A good paint color for ceilings is the trim color plus 50% white.

17. A bathroom vanity that is 36” tall will feel more comfortable to use.

18.  To determine the proper size of a chandelier for a room:  Take the size of the room in feet, add it together, and that is the size chandelier to buy in inches.  For example a 12x16 foot room should have a 28 inch chandelier.  Try to make it match the shape of the room.  A rectangle room gets a rectangle or oval chandelier, were as a square room gets a square or round chandelier.

19.  Hang chandeliers in a dining room 60” to 66” from the floor.

20.  Less is MORE. 

20.  Keep an estimated 13” between your sofa and coffee table.

21. Making dining chairs a little uncomfortable makes your guest have better posture, more attentive to the conversation, and go home at the end of the night!

22.  A pillow insert should be 2” larger than the pillow cover.  Also an ideal pillow size  for a sofa is 20” square.  

23.  Bigger is always better.  Have at least one item that is oversized in a room.  This could be a piece of art, a tall bookcase, a oversized ottoman.

24.  Hang wall art 7” above a piece of furniture.  Hang wall art 9” above the back of a sofa.  When hanging a cluster of art give 2” to 2 1/2” apart.

25.  When hanging art alone on a wall....find the center of the art and hang it 64” from floor.

26.  In a dining room match the shape of the table to the room’s shape.  Rectangle dining rooms need a rectangle or oval table, were as a square dining room needs a square or round table.  A ideal width of a rectangle table is 36”, perfect for conversation.

27.  Fill euro pillows with polyester instead of feather down pillows inserts.  It will make the pillow stand up prettier.

28.  Make endtables the same height as sofa arms.  1” above or below is the adjustment.  Never more or less. Same rule goes for the height of the coffee table to the sofa seat height (usually 18” to 20” tall).

29. Make sure that ALL chair feet are on a rug.  Not two front feet on the rug, and two back feet off the rug.  The rug should be a minimum of 36” from the edge of the table.

30.  Hanging curtains is the lipstick of decorating.  Always apply it.

31.  Do not use the same fabric in another room of the house.

35.  Odd numbers are more appealing to the eye.  On a bookshelf put 3-5 items on each shelf.

36.  When decorating a fireplace mantle make it symmetrical.

37.  Have varies heights furniture in a room.  I love to add a bookshelf.

38.  Carry in your car a small bag of paints swatches, fabrics, wood swatches, and wallpaper from your home.  You never know when you will find an item you want to buy and you will need your fabrics with you.

39.  A 82” to 102” is an ideal size for a sofa. 

40.  Go neutral on your sofa, chairs, and rugs.  Bring color in with pillows, rugs, curtains, and artwork.  This allows for quick redecorating that does not cost as much.

41.  Do not be afraid of wallpaper.

42.  A 30” walkway in a home is a minimum, but 36” is ideal.

43.  Going neutral is always better. 


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