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How to Decorate Like a Pro

Type 75 Task Lamp by Anglepoise

How to Decorate Like a Pro

Our best tips and tricks for getting an Instagram-worthy
space—no interior design degree required.

Your home is so much more than shelter; it is your escape and the physical manifestation of your personality. However, the more we open up our spaces to others—in person or on social media—or rely on them to keep the world at bay, the more their flaws and failures come into sharp focus.

The easy answer is, of course, to bring in an interior designer to hone, polish or completely redo our spaces. But of course, that can be rather expensive and involved. Don't despair; there are plenty of tricks that you can use to get that extra level of finish with your interior design.

The Devil is in the Details

Being a DIY maven is awesome. But sometimes it can mean that one project begins before another is finished and leave things looking a bit incomplete. It's key to make sure that every home project is brought to completion and cleaned up after. Then, be on the lookout for details you might miss on a daily basis: Scuffs on the wall, uneven paint edges and other wear and tear, especially in high-traffic areas, detract from a polished look. Cleaning those details up will add a more finished feeling to your home with very little effort.

Cover Your Windows

A simple, straightforward solution to making a room feel complete is adding a window treatment. And to get a designer touch, take those treatments to the next level. Custom shutters can be a stately choice for a classic look. Smart blinds are an easy-to-control alternative. Or for a quick update, hang a beautiful pair of drapes. Opt for a double rod and layer a sheer below opaque drapery for a more finished look and complete functionality.

Colors Count

Consider a complete color story. A cohesive color palette matters not just for each room, but also for the home at large. Rooms may each have their unique colors, but there should be something that ties them together as you move through the home. A smart option is to find one great neutral—think off-whites, neutral pale grays, beige or taupe colors—that you can use room to room, and then add coordinating accent colors unique to each different space.

Upgrade Hardware & Switches

As homeowners, we become numb to specific details in our spaces, especially hardware. A classic designer trick is swapping out old or builder-grade doorknobs, drawer pulls, handles, and power outlets. Look for designs that work for your space and that can coordinate throughout the whole home. This makes a huge difference to the overall polish of a space. Plus, many upgrades include fancy features that might not have been available when the original fixture was installed, so this could be your chance to smarten up your home, too.

Stage Landing Spaces

Flat surfaces can become a catch-all for all the debris from our day: Mail, groceries, keys and anything else we're tired of holding gets plopped on the hall, coffee or dining table. To solve for a buildup of random items, stage these spaces. Use trays to mark out spaces and wrangle necessities like mail or remotes; are great for corralling keys and other personals. A vase or can create an excellent centerpiece, and a great framed picture always adds a nice custom touch. This creates a visual focal point and will encourage you to keep it free of all the clutter.

Upgrade Lighting

One of the fastest ways to create that custom feel in a non-custom home is to upgrade and replace lighting fixtures. Look for drama with your larger scale dining or . But even changing out the boring can make a world of difference. Look for spaces to add lighting, as well. This is the most impactful thing you can do to create a custom feel. , and all create a special "designed" effect.

Add Wall Art

Walls are your canvas—do not be afraid to using them to their full extent. The world of art can be intimidating, but creating your own wall art is one of the biggest tricks that designers use. Anyone can create abstract art that coordinates with the intended space, and then easily frame it. For a more casual vibe, you can also mine your social media. Instagram can yield some great shots, and there are companies that will print or even frame directly from the app.

Don't limit yourself to framed mediums, either. Painting patterns or other designs directly on the wall can be a bold way of adding interest to a space. Or try going three dimensional, with wall sculptures or .

Living Arrangements

The cherry on top for any space is the addition of a little living color. Cut flowers are an elegant way of finishing a space for a special event, but they can be expensive to keep on a day-to-day basis. Potted plants like succulents and orchids can be low-maintenance show stoppers; just make sure they get enough light. If your thumbs are more black than green, there some great faux options on the market (just make sure you keep them clean and dusted).

By using these tips, you can easily get and maintain a professional look to your interior design, so your home will always be ready for its close up.