Interior design is more challenging than it might seem. As a profession, it requires not only an eye for aesthetics, but extensive knowledge of materials, budgeting, safety, installation and construction. Interior designers are part engineers and part artists, and interior design is about more than just decor. Still, amateurs and enthusiasts can learn plenty from the professionals, adapting their advice and strategies to do-it-yourself renovations.
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One of the quickest and most effective ways to add light to a room is to install a skylight. It creates an open, airy feeling and lets in more light than standard windows.
Mirrors can also lighten up a room in subtle ways. They reflect light, and make a small room seem both larger and lighter.
Another surprising design trick is to use tiers of lighting in each room. Start with reading lights on low tables, and move upward to sconces and ceiling fixtures, including picture lights, directional ceiling lights or LED lighting strips. These layers create visual interest, draw the eye upward and create mood within a room.
Kitchens offer plenty of opportunity for surprising and space-saving storage, from pull-out drawers to revolving circular cabinets that offer plenty of storage without cluttering up the room.
Avoid using fabric or paper to decorate in a kitchen, whether on the walls or on light shades. These are likely to trap grease and cooking odours. It's better to use glass or plastic fixtures instead.
Bedrooms require thought and care because these rooms are a retreat and a place to unwind at the end of a long day. Designers recommend not crowding the room with too much furniture. All that's really needed is a bed, side table and dresser, as well as lighting. Thick drapes or blinds prevent too much light from entering the room early in the morning.
Space can become tight in a shared bathroom where elbow room is at a premium. Designers recommend allowing for at least 30 inches of space between two sinks in a shared bathroom, measuring from centerline to centerline. Substituting pocket doors for hinged doors in the entryway can also free up space.
Photography or artwork hanging in a high traffic area is likely to become misaligned or crooked simply from the activity nearby. Rather than hanging photos and artwork on nails, try using poster strips, Velcro or poster putty to hang them on all four corners so they stay secure and level.
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