Some people are born with a great eye for decorating or design. Others learn the skill and are able to apply it successfully. And then there are the rest of us. If you don't have much of a knack for design, a few basic techniques can go a long way.
1. Pick the perfect paint colour: When you go to pick paint, either go for a perfect shade of white, a colour that flatters every skin tone, or go for bold in a dark shade of red of brown or even black. Ceilings painted white or cream tend to make the room feel larger.
2. Make your bathroom look like a hotel: This means a counter free of products except a couple that have pretty packaging. Rolled up white towels in a basket and a potted plant look clean.
3. Add a bedroom seating area: It seems counter intuitive to pack in more furniture, but if you have the space put an upholstered bench or chair and a side table in a corner. It'll give the impression that the room is larger.
4. Style your coffee table like a pro: When designing the top of your coffee table, start with something large and wonderful in the middle: a floral in an interesting pot, a huge bowl (maybe filled with sea urchins or something else interesting). Then build out from that: stacks of art books, candles, sculpture or pottery. Make it interesting and change it regularly.
5. Layer the lighting: Ambient lighting makes a room. Place floor and table lamps at different heights around the room...it is the essence of design romance. Hanging lights (pendants and chandeliers) can be low over dining tables, but need to otherwise be high enough so that tall people don't bump their heads. Sconces look great in larger rooms but tend to hoard wall space and limit options in small rooms.
6. Quickly tie a room together: Whenever I put live white orchids in a room it instantly looks fresh and inviting. Place a throw on the sofa. Plump the pillows, open an art book to a beautiful photograph...and turn the page when you get bored with it. Group together the like items of accessories: little deities or white vases or jars of sharp pencils if it's an office.
7. Don't forget about the outdoors: Think about the indoor and divide the outdoor space into rooms. What will you be doing in each room? If you have the space, do a dining room and living room. The furnishings should relate to what you will be doing in each space. Put two chairs and a little drinks table in an area that no one uses and suddenly you have a new room!
8. Make a good first impression for your guests: Statistically, you have eight seconds at the front door to get a favorable emotional response from guests. Paint your front door an unexpected color. It sends the message that your home is well cared for.
9. Lengthen your ceiling: To create an illusion of taller ceiling or larger windows, hang curtains from as high up as possible!
10. Don't be boring: I like to vary sizes and shapes of decorative pillows to add interest. Every now and then stick a round one in the mix. Nothing is more boring that going to a dinner party with all the same types of people right? Same with pillows. Make it interesting!