How to add design elements to a room

Home decorating TV shows would have you believe that everybody needs a designer. Don't be fooled! Here are some tips that are sure to bring out your very own inner designer.

How to add design elements to a room

Put together a no-frills design kit

Use the tried and true design-planning method that's easy, cheap, fun and free of any sales pressure — a do-it-yourself design kit made with a ruler, a pencil, graph paper, construction paper and a tape measure.

A tiny touch of originality

Remember what refrigerators used to look like? Today they're likely to be covered with more magnets than a millipede has legs. While the fridge as magnetic bulletin board filled with notes, photos, take-out food menus and you-name-it is a boon to busy folks, it will benefit greatly from the occasional decluttering. So why not use magnets that reflect you? Make your own simply by hot gluing small magnets, sold at craft stores, to tiny souvenirs and found objects like small seashells; clip-on earrings (clips removed); lapel pins from museums; smooth, flat river rocks; or unusual buttons.

Create a strong focal point in any room

The focal point of a room is the first visual element to which the eye is immediately drawn. Rooms without an obvious focal point tend to look bland, disorganized, or incomplete, regardless of the quality of the furnishings. To add flair to a blah, unfocused room, the quick and inexpensive fix is to use items you already have. Decide on the logical focus of attention, and then go through your storage closets and attic for things you've tucked away or forgotten.

  • Bright throw pillows or a quilt will add impact to a plain-Jane bed.
  • Frame that beautiful silk scarf or lace shawl you haven't worn in years and hang it on the wall behind the bed.
  • If your fireplace and mantel don't grab the eye, use leftover paint to set them off with a floor-to-ceiling background panel of a different colour. Hang a large mirror or a display of eye-catching pottery plates above the mantel.
  • Get rid of clutter to bring the eye to a focal point: Remember that less is more, so rotate collectibles instead of displaying all of your treasures all the time.

Laundry basket as pillow nest

What can you do when all those fancy throw pillows get in the way? Convert an old wicker laundry basket into a pillow holder. If you have a plastic laundry basket, cover it with a sheet by setting the basket on it and folding the sides and corners into the basket itself (like you were wrapping a gift). Fill with pillows and no one will know that you didn't buy it at that fancy design shop.

It's easy to add a pop of colour or focal point to a room with these handy tips.

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