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Decorating Secrets Revealed From House Beautiful

Article courtesy of House Beautiful

We asked designers to share some of their favorite tricks and ideas for putting together a beautiful space. Here, they reveal their top dos and don’ts.

Don’t Design with Clichés

Timeless design is restrained, balanced, and doesn’t give in to the obvious. “When you’re in Florida, you don’t have to have wall sconces made out of seashells. If you cross the line, your home can become a theme park,” says architect and designer John Saladino. Instead, he choose a sophisticated sandy palette for the beachfront living room of this Spanish-style house. “I like to imply rather than be explicit,” he says. “When you do that, you’re hopefully designing something that won’t embarrass you in 30 years.

Don’t Be Afraid to Mix Design Styles

Mixing humble materials with more luxurious ones is a contemporary approach to great design. In the dining room of the same family home, Saladino slipcovered chairs in washable vinyl, then placed them around a 19th-century walnut trestle table. “An antique table is appropriate here because it’s a non-intimidating surface. Children can spill their food on it, or drop their flatware on it, and they dent it – so what?” he says.

Do Hang Artwork Together

Grouping framed pieces together makes a strong, lasting impression, like in the family room of this Palm Beach home by designer Meg Braff. “By hanging six prints in a grid over the family room sofa, I got the impact of a much larger piece of art,” she says.

Do Incorporate Side Tables

Intimate spaces make for a warmer, happier home, according to designer Benjamin Dhong. The key to getting one right? Make sure that every chair or sofa has an accompanying side table. “When you walk into a room and you see a little table or a stool pulled up to a chair, you immediately imagine curling up with a cup of coffee or a drink,” he says. He did exactly that in this home’s cozy master bedroom, with a wood block table placed next to a French settee.

Do Understand that Mixing Patterns Takes Practice

Making busy prints work together isn’t effortless, so go easy on yourself if you don’t get it right on your first try. In this dining room, Markham Roberts choose similar colors to tie the rug and wallpaper together. “You just have to pull out your swatches, try things out, and trust your eye. If it’s hideous, try again.” Still having trouble? This is why there are pros.

Do Make a Small Space Work for You

A tiny kitchen didn’t stop contributing editor Frances Schultz from purchasing her dream home. She made the most of the narrow space by extending cabinets all the way up to the ceiling. Glass fronts make it easy to spot specific items, as do deep drawers in lieu of lower cabinets.

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