Eighteen Inexpensive Decorating Tips

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Here are eighteen simple decorating ideas that call for just a little imagination, and just a little money which will add instant style to any decor.

Canvas the Area
Hang canvases painted with interior latex paint to brighten blank walls. Think big: The canvases should fill the wall.

Create a Side Table
Stack modular storage units to make a stepped side table with surfaces for displays and lighting. Create miniature still lifes in the storage area, or stack reading material that you’re going to get to someday.

Hang Plates
Plates in unexpected colors make a fresh wall arrangement. Vary hues (within the same palette), sizes, textures. Put the most dramatic plate toward the center (lay out the plates first to experiment); attach wire plate hangers and hang plates on picture nails.

Lighten Up With Wicker
Inexpensive wicker that looks as if it belongs outdoors changes the mood of any room. Put chairs in a sunny corner of their own or mix them with your upholstered pieces.

Make Your Own Art
Even photocopied art looks sophisticated when it floats between two pieces of glass in document frames. The wall colour shows through the glass, creating the illusion of a custom mat.

Be Crafty
A variation on the idea above: Make use of mittens missing their mates. Cut felt to fit the backing of the frame, then use craft glue to adhere the felt. Centre the mitten on the felt and glue it down; let dry overnight. Or use the same methods for any similar items you can think to create a unique and original centrepiece for any wall.

Go Natural
Use shells and other beach bounty to warm up a kitchen, an entryway, or a stairwell by creating a rustic, relaxed display.

Hang a Gallery of Photos
Go through your camera or smartphone for your best shots (pick a theme: weddings, birthday parties, vacations) and put them in identical frames. Hang in a tight grid or a long line—you can’t go wrong if you stick to a geometric arrangement.

Reflect Your Style
Define a space, such as a foyer, with a mirror that adds both drama and light. For those on a tight budget, buy from a second-hand store and dress it up with one coat of spray paint.

Bring in Shades of Colours
Coloured lamp shades can make a bold statement. Limit the colours to one per room, and select other lamp shades in neutral tones, such as parchment and white.

Stack Your Books
Piled books draw the eye. If shelves aren’t high enough or deep enough to accommodate oversize books, stack them on a flat surface, such as a bench or an end table.

Cluster Candles
Candles look best when massed, particularly on a spacious surface, like a coffee table.  The larger the surface, the larger the candles should be. Group four or five pillars of different heights (same color) in glass containers.

Mix Patterns
No matter the season, your bedroom will look spring-like year-round with floral sheets or pillowcases paired with crisp white linens. Pick patterns with white backgrounds to keep florals harmonious. Drape bedside tables with vintage floral tablecloths or white matelassé runners.

Bring the Outdoors In
Lend an entryway an earthy style with a coat-rack made from found materials. Using polyurethane-based glue, attach a stone to the end of a wooden drawer knob, then screw each knob into a plank of wood.

Repurpose Furniture
Rickety seating can be given a second life as a bedside table. If there’s a hole in the caning, place a tray on the chair to hold an alarm clock, a reading lamp, etc.

Pump Up the Color
Perk up a dull room with vibrant hits of a colour such as green. Although better when accessorized generously with the same shade, even something as subtle as green blossoms can really stand out.

Amplify Your Space
Tight spaces expand and rooms seem roomier when you prop up a large mirror (at least three-quarters the height of the wall). It’s a classic interior decorator’s trick to create instant―if not real―additional floor space.

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