1/ Less is more
I don’t know if it’s because i’m French that I value simplicity so much but it really bothers me when there are too many things everywhere. When there are too many pillows and blankets on a bed, too much decor accessories on a buffet or a shelf, too many appliances on a countertop, too many accent walls… you get the idea, right? Indeed, too much often equals too stuffy, borderline messy and outdated; and to be frank can even be stressful! Have you ever noticed how peaceful, an uncluttered room is ? At least that is how it makes me feel. As much as I value cosiness and colour, I strongly believe that less decor is more sophisticated. So start storing away BUT do not throw away, just keep swapping your items so you can “renew” your room every time you feel like it.
Credit photo: Fresh Photo House via Houzz.com (http://www.houzz.com/photos/20965032/Dining-In-contemporary-kitchen-london)
2/ White paint BUT not white everything
Obviously, painting your walls in white instantly give this clean and ethereal feel to a room. I recently read somewhere that one shouldn’t paint the ceiling in flat white because it has some gray in it and it will darken the space and instead use a creamier shade. While it is true in some instances, I do believe that a flat white ceiling is one way to go, especially if you have greyish walls; indeed a cream ceiling might come out yellowish… I would also consider choosing a slightly shiny finish if your room has poor natural light, so it will reflect the light onto the room. If you have white walls, make sure the ceiling either matches the colour of the other walls or a shade lighter. Having said that, I also love an all white space, it looks fresh and modern; but if there is not even the slightest touch of colour, it can be boring and cold. Finally, if colour is really not your thing, try to add some metallics or use different shades of neutral; I am personally really into adding gold and copper to white spaces
Photo Credit: Restoration Hardware, Inc.
3/ The floor
Do not underestimate the potential those floors have to transform your space. There are pros and cons to both dark and light floors (please refer to my other article Dark floors VS light floors). But in this case, if you want to brighten up the room and give it a crisp, contemporary or even a casual or shabby chic look, depending on the material; I believe lighter shades are the way to go. Light floors are perfect if you do not have a lot of natural sunlight and they make a room appear larger. Furthermore, in a bathroom, I would strongly advise for light colour floors, the lighter the floor, the cleaner it will look and that’s exactly the feeling you want to have when entering a bathroom. At last but not least, if you do not have the time or budget to change the floor; or simply if you are renting a space; then use rugs, they can make a huge impact on the space. Light colour rugs look great on darker floors and will make a room look more spacious, as well. In any case and as if I hadn’t said this enough, make sure there are some contrasts with the rest of the apartment (furniture, walls, appliances…); the last thing you want is a mono-chromatic apartment (Point developed further in paragraph 5).
Photo Credit: One Kings Lane/Manuel Rodriguez (Rebecca Minkoff’s apartment).
4/ Use colourful accents
Further to my point above bout adding colour to an all-white room; I believe colour can brighten both the space and the mood; which is rather essential in a living space. As a decorator, I personally like neutrals when it comes to walls, big furniture, countertops etc… But when it comes to adding colours in small touches here and there I am all in! In the picture above, I am totally crazy about those electric blue counter-height chairs; which certainly transforms the room into a brighter and cosier kitchen; still it remains sophisticated! You can also mix and match colours, as long as it remains in subtle touches.
Photo Credit: Leslie B. – Upper West Side Apartment, NY, NY.
5/ Fresh flowers and plants
There is nothing like fresh flowers and plants to freshen up and instantly give a pop of colour to a room. The good thing with flowers is that you can change the atmosphere of the whole room every week as they come in different shapes, sizes, colours; there are truly endless possibilities with flowers and plants. I personally love them either huge to give a dramatic effect or small just to add charm to an area of the room (like the nightstands, coffee tables etc…).