Simple decor tricks that guarantee a polished space

To put it into context, decorating a space is similar to putting together a perfect outfit for an occasion. The colours should mix well together, they should hang right and most importantly, the scale must make everything look proportionate. There are a set of certain design "rules" that will make your space look ultra chic. From hanging your light pendants at the correct height to placing your artwork in the right spot, the following design tricks will have your home looking like those you see in all of the glossy magazines, pulled together to look very stylish.


Image credit: Tali Roth Design

A classic mistake that most people make is hanging the chandelier or pendant in the dining room too high. Based on standard 8 foot ceiling height, which is just shy of 2 1/2 metres, the pendant should hang about 30 to 40 inches above the table top, which is about a metre, give or take a couple of centimetres. For each additional foot (about 30cm) of ceiling height, add an additional 3 inches, which equates to about 7 centimetres, for the most visually pleasing placement.


Image credit: Amy Bartlam

If you have an older home that hasn't got perfectly smooth walls or ceilings, opt for a flat matte paint finish with very little to no sheen at all, to disguise imperfections. This is particularly important in homes with curved and sloped walls and ceilings. Remember that the higher the gloss level in a paint finish, the less forgiving it is of imperfections.


Image credit: Monica Wang Photography

If you’re hanging a single art piece over a sofa, aim to hang the artwork so that the bottom of the piece hits six to nine inches above the top of the sofa. This is roughly 15 to 20 centimetres. If you're hanging a piece on a wall without furniture, the centre of the artwork should be placed at roughly eye level. If you hang it too high, it will look like the art is missing a piece of furniture beneath it, and if you hang it too low, it will just look misplaced.

Image credit: Tessa Neustadt - Design: Emily Henderson

In bedrooms with limited space, opt to use smaller bedside tables and save on precious surface space by installing either wall sconces above them, or pendants hanging from the ceiling, to give you extra space to style your tables. Ideally the height of your bedside tables should be the same as the top of your mattress.



When arranging living room furniture, opt for either an H-shaped plan or U-shaped configuration to encourage conversation and maintain flow. In an H-shaped plan, two lounge chairs face the sofa with a coffee table in between. In a U-shaped plan, two chairs face each other with the sofa in the middle. Also do not have your sofa flush with the wall, allow for at least 7 -10 centimetres away from the wall, so it can breathe. This little trick also makes your room feel bigger.

If you’re having trouble pulling a space together or coming up with a coherent color scheme, keep the space neutral or play with tones in the same colour family for a foolproof design that always looks polished. Play with natural textures instead of colour to layer the space, such as rattan or seagrass, exposed brick or natural wood in the same colour tone, bearing in mind that lighter shades of wood work better together than darker shades. If you have some good solid wood pieces in darker tones, try and strip them of all that ugly dark varnish, down to it's raw state, which will instantly lighten up your space and make it look sophisticated.

Make your windows seem taller and wider than they actually are by hanging curtains as wide on the window and close to the ceiling as you possibly can. The additional length will give the impression that your ceilings are higher, thereby making your room look larger, while wider hanging curtains will make your window look larger and wider than it actually is and allows more light to enter your room.


If you want to bring in an accent chair to fill a lonely corner, keep it from looking like an afterthought by also adding a small side table or floor lamp. The additional items will make the space feel purposefully designed and more useful than a single item on its own.


Image credit Tali Roth Design

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Contact Kelly on 071 497 7262 or kelly@urbandezign.co.za