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Our Home Design Director’s Room Refresh Uses a Tried-and-True Shortcut

published Aug 15, 2023
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Credit: Photo: Armando Rafael; Stylist: Margaret Ward

Sometimes when a room needs a little reboot, the possibilities (and the square footage) can make change seem a little overwhelming. But we know a shortcut to refreshing any room’s vibe in an afternoon: Find your focal point.

That’s what Apartment Therapy’s Executive Home Director Danielle Blundell did when her living room felt a bit uninspired. Instead of launching a full-scale redo, she focused on a spot that naturally attracts her attention every day: the mantel, with its gorgeous original details like a stunning fireplace and built-in bookshelves.

Focusing on a self-contained canvas like a mantel (or a side table or corner) takes the pressure off. You can experiment and design a little scene that stands out and stands on its own. Plus, when you create a fresh vignette in a smaller spot like this, you start a vibe reset that will radiate throughout the room.

Credit: Photo: Armando Rafael; Stylist: Margaret Ward

And don’t forget about scent as a design element — it has just as much power to reset your space! Glade® PlugIns® Scented Oil MaxControl puts you in charge of your aromatic experience, with five adjustable settings that let you control the strength or subtlety of your favorite fragrance. Danielle can customize it day to day, for a fresh yet familiar layer of scent that completes the whole scene.

“My living room is my favorite space in my home because of all the original charm,” she says. “It just needed that layer of finishing touches to really make it my own, from artwork and decorative accessories to textiles and a signature scent.”

Credit: Photo: Armando Rafael; Stylist: Margaret Ward

Danielle’s home reflects her deep appreciation for all things aesthetic, with a warm neutral color palette and accents that help the space feel both luxurious and cozy. To bring more of that energy to her mantel, she staged mini “shelfies” on those gorgeous built-ins, with elegant sculptures, gilded trinkets, and framed art. Pro tip: You’ll create more visual interest when you group items in threes and fives; the odd number keeps your eye “off-balance” in a good way.

To make this space feel even more dynamic, Danielle also played with height. Tall planters and tapered candlesticks add height naturally. But you can also create lifts and levels (see: the bowl atop a stack of books) to artfully fill space. This also gives Danielle’s beautiful accents breathing room, so that the space feels pleasantly full, not over-stuffed.

Credit: Photo: Armando Rafael; Stylist: Margaret Ward

She tossed a couple new throw pillows on the sofa, for extra coziness when admiring the new view. Then it was time to set the scene with a signature scent. Glade® PlugIns® Scented Oil MaxControl in Tranquil Lavender & Aloe accentuates the warm and subtle notes of Danielle’s decor, with its blend of French lavender, soothing aloe, and violet petals.

MaxControl is Glade’s most adjustable fragrance warmer yet, with higher high and lower low settings for the ultimate customization. Whether Danielle wants to unwind after a long day or greet guests with a welcoming aroma, she can use the innovative MaxControl technology to set the precise amount of scent. “I’m a scent person, so I usually dial it all the way up!” she says.