Whether a home is being photographed for a magazine or readied for a quick sale, it's carefully staged to look cozy, inviting and full of life. Bring those qualities into your home with some of the tricks that stylists use.
- Clean and declutter: Clear surfaces and repair surface damage. Apply furniture oil to cabinets to bring up their shine, polish shiny metallic surfaces with a microfiber cloth and cull magazines.
- Bring in nature: Whether it's a potted plant or a single tulip in a small vase, nature adds life to any space. If your funds are tight, buy a pre-made mixed bouquet or bunch of flowers and break it up, sprinkling a few blooms in each room. A bowl of fruit or vegetables can also do the trick.
- Towels: Beautiful towels signal luxury in even the smallest of bathrooms. Hang a folded hand towel or two within easy reach of the sink, hang generous sized body and hair towels on hooks near the bath or shower. White towels are always fresh but you can also use colored towels. Match them to the color of the bathroom, pick up a color in the tiles or use a contrasting color for drama.
- Minimal but beautiful products in the bathroom: If you can't store all of your products, consider how what's left out is displayed. Grouping items by color or shape is one way to bring order to your smallest room.
- Make the living room, livable: A throw across the arm of a sofa, a pile of books or magazines on the coffee table, remotes in a pretty bowl sitting on the floor at the corner of the couch — these touches dosn't only look good in a magazine, they work for your real life too.
- Group items in odd numbers: Collections are most pleasing to the eye when grouped in odd numbers (with an even number, your brain will be distracted trying to pair up the objects).
- Balance bare areas with decorated areas: You don't need to fill every space.
- Vary the height of a grouping: One tall vase with two smaller ones, for example.
- Display similar items together: Putting them together creates greater impact and tells a story. (If you saw trophies scattered around a house, you might make a mental note to ask your host about them; grouped together, they're the jumping off point for a conversation about the accomplishments they signal.)
- Corral items in bowls or on trays: Pile your remotes in a bowl, gather your lotions and potions on a tray, cram your most used kitchen utensils in a vase near your stove.
- Finishing touch: get out your digital camera, step back and take a picture of your home to get an objective look at it. Happy with the results? Email it to us for a house tour!
Image: Jon and Tyke's Modern Cabin