14 interior design secrets that make a big impact – with minimal fuss

It’s said there’s a world of difference between a room designed by a professional interior designer and one done by a home decorator, but this needn’t be the case.

This is according to Yael Geffen, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, who says: “Contrary to what most people think, achieving a stunning interior design doesn’t always require a hefty budget or extensive renovations. Simple yet artful interior design tricks have the remarkable ability to transform a space, making a significant impact with minimal effort.

“In fact, some of the most impactful design elements can be implemented with minimal fuss and expense, but still pack a visual punch.”

He says that by employing any of the following tips, one can make a dramatic statement in one’s home:

1. Create a warm welcome: Start your stylish home from the beginning by paying attention to your home’s entrance. Paint the front door, update the hardware, ensure there is adequate lighting and complete the kerb appeal with greenery such as a hanging basket or potted tree. 

2. Strategic lighting: Lighting can dramatically alter the ambiance of a room. Update old lightshades and incorporate a mix of ambient, task and accent lighting to create depth and visual interest. Opt for adjustable fixtures and dimmer switches to control the intensity of light and set the mood according to the occasion.

3. Work around a hero feature: Select a star item to be your feature as the main focal point of the room. Then use other items to blend into the backdrop to accentuate your main attraction and create a calming vibe rather than a cluttered one.

4. Mirrors for illusion: Mirrors are a designer’s secret weapon for making small spaces appear larger and darker rooms feel brighter. Place mirrors opposite windows to reflect natural light or use them to create the illusion of depth by strategically positioning them across from each other.

5. Use rugs wisely: Rugs are the ultimate way to draw an interior design scheme together, but there is an art to it. If too small, the rug will look lost and your scheme will fall flat. Ideally, a rug should be big enough that some or all of your furniture’s feet can sit on it. For instance, in a dining area, you should be able to sit at the dining table with all four of your chair’s feet on the rug. Consider using them in different ways, too; whether it’s a few rugs overlapping each other or even hung as a wall hanging.

6. Statement wall: Transform a room with a statement wall that adds personality and visual impact. Whether it’s a bold paint colour, eye-catching wallpaper or a gallery of artwork, a statement wall can serve as the focal point of the room and elevate its design without the need for additional decor.

7. Multifunctional furniture: Make the most of limited space with multifunctional furniture pieces that serve dual purposes. Look for coffee tables with built-in storage, sleeper sofas for accommodating guests, or ottomans that double as extra seating and storage solutions.

8. Use the whole room: Don’t feel you have to line your furniture up along the walls, which often results in wasted space and awkward gaps. Bringing sofas and armchairs or even home office desks into the centre of the space will create a sociable seating space and practical office. This works particularly well in open-plan spaces with large windows.

9. Fresh coat of paint: One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to refresh a room is with a fresh coat of paint. Experiment with different paint colours to create a mood or add dimension to your space. Don’t be afraid to paint an accent wall or ceiling to make a bold statement.

10. Use the 30:70 split: This is a handy trick for getting your proportions right and balancing different styles within the same space. A guaranteed way to give a room character is to decorate about 70% of it in a particular style and then complete the remaining 30% in a completely different style. In this way, you can spice up a largely traditional scheme with a smattering of contemporary items, or vice versa. 

11. Accessorise with textiles: Elevate your decor with the strategic use of textiles such as throw pillows, rugs, curtains and throws. Incorporate textures, patterns and colours that complement your existing decor to add warmth and visual interest to your space.

12. Indoor plants: Bring the outdoors in with the addition of indoor plants that not only add a pop of colour but also improve air quality and promote a sense of well-being. Choose low-maintenance plants to add greenery to your space with minimal effort.

13. Hardware upgrade: Give your kitchen or bathroom an instant facelift by upgrading the hardware on cabinets, drawers and doors. Choose modern or vintage-inspired knobs, handles and pulls that complement your existing decor and add a touch of elegance or whimsy to your space.

14. Declutter and organise: Finally, one of the most impactful design secrets is simply decluttering and organising your space. Clear away unnecessary items, streamline your belongings and invest in storage solutions that help keep clutter at bay. A clean and organised home not only looks better but also feels more spacious and inviting.

“These simple yet artful interior design tricks demonstrate that creating a beautiful and harmonious space doesn’t necessarily require a large budget or extensive renovations,” says Geffen. “And that with creativity and attention to detail, even the smallest changes can make a big impact – transforming a house into a home that truly reflects the personality and lifestyle of its inhabitants.”

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