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410_7,9__9,1,2_fusion_bigstockphoto_483040If a fancy, new bed isn’t in your budget right now, here’s a great way to create the perception of one.

Find 2 or 3 framed posters or artwork that, together, approximately match the width of your bed. Hang them just slightly above the height of pillows proped up against the wall. Add additional pillows and linens to match colors in the artwork and voila!… you don’t just have the look of a headboard, but an attractive feature wall in your bedroom. Adding a bench or row of ottomans at the base of the bed creates the perception of a footboard as well!

Another thing that really works in this room is the white wainscot at about the height of the bed. This low line around the perimeter of the room creates a relaxed, calming effect. The white color used near the floor makes this small room look more spacious, while the darker color above makes it cozy and helps darken the room at night.


Dining Room with white wainscotHere’s a simple way to expand the look of your dining room without losing the cozy ambiance that deeper colors offer.

By surrounding this dining room with a band of white (or off-white) on the lower wall, the room looks bigger than it would have if whole wall would have been painted dark. White paint colors look expansive because they reflect light; the same reason we look a little expansive when wearing white clothes!

If dividing a wall into two portions, experts usually recommend putting the light area on top – partly because dirt and scuffs occur on the lower portion and are easier to hide with dark colors, partly because  it mimics the natural world (the ground is darker and the air above it lighter).

BUT in the case of a small room, the reverse can be effective. Notice how the 2 areas that add light to the room (the ceiling because it reflects light down and the upper wall because it’s most visible) are kept dark and enclosing. But the 2 areas that create the room’s perceived size (the lower wall because it connects to the floor space, the window because it opens views to the outdoors), are kept light and spacious.  

The wainscotting and the ceiling molding also create horizontal lines that add to the spacious look. By moving the eye right and left, rather than up and down, the room looks wider and longer.

Another side benefit of a light-colored low wall area? The details of the chairs are easier to appreciate against a light rather than dark wall.

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Designer BathroomThe choice of colors in this bathroom design is all modern, but it’s the placement of those colors that make it spectacular. 

The first bit of interior design magic is the bathroom tile… sea glass-colored mosaic tiles on the foor that perfectly simulate the  unspoiled tropical waters of an idyllic island (if you’ve ever been to BoraBora, this is the actual color of the water). Running the same tile up the bathroom shower wall would transport you to the sea while showering!

The second bit of  magic is all the white paint everywhere else. Walls, ceiling and fixtures disappear around so much of this head-clearing hue. The trick here is to use not just a version of  white paint, but a pure, unadulterated white (Behr #1850 is the purest white paint color I’ve found).

The bathroom shower wall is all-glass. Light fixtures are simple white glass globes on the ceiling and there’s nothing fancy or distracting about the mirror goes on the full length of the wall. Towel racks are simple stainless steel and white towels would be a requirement.

The pedestal sink lets us see more of the bathroom floor, makes the room look bigger and creates the illusion that the uninterrupted floor is the sea itself. A storage shelf beneath the mirror is discreet and if other bathroom cabinets were needed, they’d need to be white.

Even if you don’t have a bathroom design as streamlined as this one, the same scheme would work in any bathroom.

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bigstockphoto_dining_room_1581886This small dining room could have been bland and mediocre with beige walls and builder windows. But by painting the wall leading into the kitchen a pasta color and adding a simple striped rug under the table, the room looks insired by a charming, global village somewhere halfway around the world. I like the use of black on the table & chairs. The simple design of the chairs – supports the primitive, rustic quality.

But the lighting pendant seems too contemporary for this space. Something more rustic would have kept that African village global style alive. Hanging it lower would also make it part of the table atmosphere.

The window looks like it should be taller. This proportion problem is reduced by keeping the window trim, wall and blinds the same color. Bit I’d hang draperies or a blind right from ceiling height to make that short window look  taller. A blind in a natural texture or weave… or plantation-style shutters would be the ideal way to warm up this small dining room even more.

For more home decorating ideas, or to download our free magazine, visit