Make Over Tips that will give your space the Designer look.

by Jamie Alexander

Often times clients & friends ask, how do I get the “Look”?… you know the designer Look? My response is always “Attention is in the details, the designer details”. During the planning of a room make over there are many things to think about. Contractors, electricians, painters & other trade folk to name a few. We get so overwhelmed in the “process” we forget why we are renovating or designing a new room in the first place. Details, Details & more details may add to the pile of what to think about during your room makeover but will definitely give you the most impact to your completed space.

Tip #1 – Create division, it can be a good thing, when your room is too open.

Looking at the Family room & living room “before’ photo, the room was odd in shape and the furniture out of place. Our clients told us they felt they could never quite seem to get the room right. It was a difficult space to “pull together” because the 2 rooms seemed to run one into the other with no clear definition of the space or which room was which.

The solution: Create an archway that would still keep the rooms “open” but define one space from the other.
Design Tip: When you have two rooms this open to one another, keep your colour palette in mind, keep your palette following between the two rooms.

Tip #2 – Create a home for the TV, nobody needs to see it when it’s not on.

Televisions, although an understandable necessity in the family room, can feel like they take over the room. In the “before” picture the TV was placed in the living room because they couldn’t find a home for it in the family room. You can tell that it competes with the fireplace for the attention in the room and that when it is off, it seems to be a “black void” in the room.

The solution: Create a proper home for the TV. In this case, we found a beautiful Canadian made piece that was narrow and perfect to house the TV. Placing the TV in the right room in the right location in the room, makes the room feel well laid out and designed.
Design Tip: If the TV cabinet does not close or hide the TV, select a paint or stain finish in a darker colour to camouflage the TV when it is turned off.

Tip #3- Create a Focal point in every room. A wall, a mantle, a focus for the eye.

I’ve always said every space needs 2 things. A wall with symmetry and a focal point, sometimes that can be two in the same. Rooms can feel like they lack design because there is no focus for the room. In the dining room “before” pictures the oversized cabinet felt bulky in the room and fill our only full wall in the space. In the living room “before” pictures the art felt too close the ceiling and the TV too low beside such a tall fireplace. The rooms really felt like the furniture was just put in the room with no design thought.

The Solutions: In the Dining room, we created a focal point using a wallpaper that complimented the wall colour & design of the space. For the living room, we made use of the unusually tall fireplace mantle to create a focal point layering mirrors & accessories.
Design Tip: Art doesn’t always have to be a picture or a painting. In these spaces, we used gold bowls in the dining room and mirrors in the living room.

Make a List – As you contemplate your next room make over, make 3 lists. List 1 – the contractor & trade list. This list is going to have all the info you share back and forth with your contractors. List 2 – details list. In your details list make sure to note the little details you want to have in the space. List 3 – the Wish List. Notes of things you like that you see in magazines, on TV or your friend’s house. Make sure you often refer back to your Wish list when discussing you plans with your contractor or when you’re compiling your details list. You will find a lot easier to make over your room keeping your notes organized and your mind focused on the “Designer Details”.

Jamie Alexander is an award-winning designer, home decor writer and TV personality that has been named one of the “Top 10 designers in Canada”. He can be found from time to time working in the design studio with Julie & Joanne at Decor Haute Look in the scenic town of Neguac. For more information please visit: | 506.776.0200 | Twitter @JamieLAlexander | Instagram: @JamieAlexanderDesign

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