Easy Solutions for Home Design Problems

Small Space

Many people make the mistake of thinking that smaller rooms require lighter paint colors to brighten them up. Actually, it's just the opposite. As strange as it may sound, smaller spaces appear larger when painted a darker color. Darker colors hide ceiling lines and corner shadows to make walls and ceilings appear further away. It is important that you don't paint the room black, of course, but a darker hue of the already-chosen color will definitely do the trick.

Little Windows

To gain the illusion of more windows, try adding mirrors. Larger mirrors create a sense of depth, like windows. They also reflect other windows in the space, tricking your mind into believing there are more of them and multiplying the natural light.

Less Is Always More

Put everything you want in the room you are redesigning and when you are finished, edit yourself by removing 25 percent of it. A person entering a room for the first time should be able to experience the space as a whole and not be overwhelmed by its contents. Remember, the more you have in a room, the smaller it appears.

Lighting Is Everything

For exceptional atmosphere, add a torchiere to reflect light from the ceiling onto the whole room. Recessed lighting adjacent to walls will create a scalloping effect, which will in turn provide not only general lighting but accent lighting as well. Table lamps and picture lighting will illuminate surfaces and artwork for a distinguished feel.

Not Everything

Has to Match

Today, pretty much anything goes as long as you do it with a sense of style. It's not what you have in your space, but how well it is all pulled together that really counts. Surprisingly enough, a contemporary piece works great with a traditional foundation and vice versa. What you are striving for when mixing periods is balance and texture, with the ultimate outcome of achieving a sense of harmony and comfort. Remember, you can't buy good taste!

Paint Can Make or

Break a Space

Even the best furniture arrangement and the highest-priced accessories can look awkward if their background is a poorly done paint job. Drips and brush marks on windows, moldings and floors are a sign of very bad interior design. Even though paint is known to be the least expensive way to update a space, it pays to hire a professional who knows the correct coat coverage, sheen and application process. Not only will a properly painted interior look like a million dollars in even the most modest of interiors, it will also be durable enough to stand the test of time in an active household.

Shane Inman is president and senior principal interior designer of The Inman Company. He is currently a blogger for the Chicago Tribune at ChicagoNow.com ("The Interior Design Savant") and is a featured designer on HGTV.com, where you can view his portfolio. Reach him at (231) 392-5548; www.theinmancompany.com.