As you study vignettes on your bookmarked design blogs, flip through pages of shelter magazines and binge-watch HGTV shows, it's hard not to imagine certain design details transforming your own home.

Design professionals have a lot of tricks that can enliven rooms, whether it's to make the most of a small space or add a dimension to a larger one. You can choose to break the rules or honor them. But everyone needs a little inspiration.

We asked some of the country’s top designers to ideas they are incorporating into their own work right now, as well as those that have stood the test of time.

1. Choose a big mirror for big impact

"Whenever presented with a narrow, unadorned space or merely a blank wall, remember that a large mirror acts like adding a window to a room. This simple trick works because the reflection gives the perception of another space beyond, and as you move around, so does the view."

Patrick Sutton, Baltimore

The designer's work can be found in homes, hotels and restaurants, including Azumi and Loch Bar at Baltimore's Four Seasons hotel.

1. Look to your travels for texture

"My design aesthetic has always been intensely personal. As you look to update a room you've lived in for years, or if you're starting fresh in a new home, begin by curating what you have. I like to bring together groupings of well-traveled objects, textiles, decorative accessories and furniture . . . things that represent the people who live there. Think hand-woven elements, thick textiles, objects that have patina and mix in with beautiful, neutral upholstery and furniture. A well-designed room is one that is layered and feels assembled over time."

Nate Berkus, New York

He designs for Target, Jo-Ann Fabrics and others, and his work has been featured in numerous shelter magazines, including House Beautiful, Architectural Digest, ELLE Décor, O magazine and others.

3. Think beyond recessed lights

"One of my go-to design techniques that I find adds a timeless touch to modern interiors is the use of flush-mounted lighting and wall-mounted sconces in lieu of a sea of recessed ceiling lights, which can often feel impersonal."

Thom Filicia, New York

Noted designer of the Thom Filicia Home Collection, he is also an author and was the interiors expert in the Emmy-winning "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."

4. Wallpaper the ceiling

"One of my favorite ways to combine wallpaper and passemanterie is to paper the often-ignored ceiling and finish it with a tape trim, which adds such a surprising and luxurious detail. In this case, I used a wallpaper in a painted linen texture and added a small tape trim with faux nailheads around the edge of the ceiling where it meets the crown. Depending on the paper and trim that you use, it can be an affordable and easy way to dress up your ceiling or walls. I actually think a trim would be the perfect thing for dressing up a peelable wallpaper and making it extraordinary."

Michael Hampton, Washington

The designer's projects include homes across the Washington area as well as Santa Fe., N.M.; Napa Valley, Calif.; and Aspen, Colo.

5. Line your bookcases with fabric

"Lining the back of your bookcases with wall covering or fabric is a wonderful way to add depth, layering and richness to a room. This detail is visually unifying and helps bring together a disparate collection of objects and books. Also, adding a beautiful lining such as a grasscloth or velvet elevates your collection into something even more precious."

Jose Solis Betancourt and Paul Sherrill, Washington. The pair co-authored "Essential Elegance."

SOURCE: Washington Post


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