Have you ever caught yourself staring at a photo in an interior design magazine and admiring how amazing some rooms look? And have you tried decorating your own room in a similar manner? Was there something missing? You can do everything right, including the design style, colour palette and furnishing, but if you’ve missed all those little details that bring a room to life, you will never get an Architecture Digest-worthy space. Here’s your cheat-sheet for achieving that.

ARTWORK ON THE WALLS

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A room can’t be complete without art, but there is no uniform way or specific style to display art. Besides the usual paintings (abstract, impressionist, cubism, etc.), you can also go for alternative (and affordable) options, such as  kids’ artwork, framed wallpaper/fabric samples, silverware or keys in shadow boxes, framed old book pages, etc. Some of the best places to hang your art are above the sofa, over the mantel or on either side of the windows.

POWERFUL PHOTOGRAPHS

An art style of their own, photographs can drastically change a room’s appearance. Depending on your preference and the style of the room, you can use various family photos, or choose a specific theme (e.g. your favourite cities or windows, flowers, etc.) and use it for guidance.

GREENERY

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Want to bring a room to life? Then introduce life into it – it’s that simple. Greenery, branches and fresh flowers are an excellent means of adding dimensions to smaller places as well as enhancing larger ones. Consider strategically placing several larger plants (e.g. potted trees) or a group of smaller plants in different corners of a room.

A BOLD COLOUR

Adding a pop of colour to a room is one of the oldest tricks in the book, so why not use it? A neutral room can benefit from a brave colour choice introduced through various accessories (e.g. throw pillows, vases, tablecloths and other decorative elements).

MIRROR(S)

Mirrors don’t belong exclusively in bathrooms. If selected and placed well, they can be a style statement in any room. In small rooms especially, mirrors can reflect light and make the space feel larger and brighter. If you want to avoid that “bathroom-look” you can always go for custom mirrors that will enhance a particular design feature and serve as a signature piece.

BOOKS

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Of course, books are appreciated for much more than their aesthetic appeal as decorative elements, but we can’t deny that they sure make a positive impression when stacked on a coffee table or aligned on a bookshelf.

LAYERS

If you don’t want your room to look cold and soulless, you should include different textures. A knitted blanket, for example, is a nice addition to a leather sofa. And a cowhide rug will look amazing on a hardwood floor. Also consider a different kind of layering – layering the lighting.

LAMPS

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Speaking of layering the lighting solutions, lamps (table, floor and wall lamps) are a perfect way to add that extra layer that will introduce warmth and liveliness. Besides, if you choose an interesting design, you can kill two birds with one stone.

MEMORIES

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There is no better way to add life to a room than by including things from your own life. So, display your travel souvenirs, your grandma’s rocking chair and other personal items that carry a special meaning to you.

AN ELEMENT OF SURPRISE 

Finally, be aware that interior design should be fun, so play with it for a while. For instance, you can hang empty frames instead of filling them with photos. Add a modern piece into a vintage room; design a reading nook in your bathroom…

These ten details will definitely bring your room closer to the ones you admire in design magazines and further from the empty, sterile, by-the-book look we often confuse with “proper design”.

Molly Milson

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