Niki Papadopoulos, original photo on Houzz

By Christine Tusher, Houzz

The impeccable style of rooms featured on Houzz and elsewhere can seem unattainable even for those of us with lovely, well-organized homes. But many stylist tricks don’t require much effort or money. Try these nine simple ideas to make your home ready for its close-up in order to showcase your designer-style.

Conduct a color inventory. 

When a particular room is feeling blah, start by looking at the colors in it. Does one hue dominate? (Yes, brown counts.) Is every color a neutral? If so, liven things up by pulling in one or two bold colors through accent pieces.

designer style

Sellars Lathrop Architects LLC, original photo on Houzz

There’s no need to break out your paintbrush and drop cloth to bring in color; get creative with things you already have. Place a bowl of bright red apples on the kitchen counter and a squeaky clean red pot on the stove, as in the kitchen here. Or set a beautiful bouquet of blue hydrangeas on a side table to echo an azure coffee table book.

designer style

Niki Papadopoulos, original photo on Houzz

Create a comfy tableau with throw pillows.

A medley of throw pillows in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures, and patterns adds casual polish to sofas and chairs.

designer style

Niki Papadopoulos, original photo on Houzz

“Pillows are a great tool for that because they can be relatively inexpensive to change out and freshen up a space,” says Niki Papadopoulos, an interior designer with Mark Williams Design Associates who designed the living spaces in this photo and the next one.

“I love mixing sizes [of pillows], but 20 inches is usually my standard,” says Papadopoulos, “and then sometimes I’ll layer an 18-inch in front. I save the big ones, 22 to 26 inches, for beds or daybeds. I also love lumbar pillows for chairs.”

Use greenery to create height. 

Branches and tall blooms are elegant ways to create dimension in small spaces or enhance a high ceiling. Set your cuttings in a clear vase and allow them to spread wide to fill the space.

designer style

Elad Gonen, original photo on Houzz

Corral bathroom clutter.

Store countertop essentials in decorative trays to keep clutter under control. It’s an easy way to keep go-tos at your fingertips without their spreading messily all over your countertop.

Add a sheepskin throw.

A cozy sheepskin draped on a sofa, chair or bed corner instantly adds warmth and texture. Don’t be afraid to play with placement; folding a throw is totally OK.

designer style

Modern Hall, original photo on Houzz

Mix up your trios. 

By now you probably know that accents look best when grouped in odd numbers, but identical objects can appear boring. Vary the size and color of pieces in a group for interest.

Use firewood as decor. 

Stock up on firewood early in the season and stack it neatly in an empty alcove. It’s an inexpensive way to add rustic warmth while ensuring that your wood will be seasoned when it’s time to use it.

designer style

Gristmill Builders LTD, original photo on Houzz

Add a chalkboard. 

A chalkboard is a great way to infuse your kitchen with personality, whether you write inspirational quotes or grocery lists on it.

Use white towels and candles.

The only time you’re likely to see a colored candle in a magazine spread is during the holidays. White candles create a feeling of serenity.

The same goes for bathroom towels. Choose towels in interesting textures to add interest in an all-white or neutral space.

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