Red Barrinuevo is the property stylist on HGTV Canada’s Hot Market and is the principal designer at Redesign4More. He is an award-winning interior stylist who was also named one of the most influential people in real estate home staging this year by RESA Global.
There’s no magic in styling your home to look like it’s from the pages of your favourite magazine, but there are definitely some tricks of the trade to bring that elegant esthetic to life. Whether you want to style and stage your home for sale, or want to raise your style standard for your own enjoyment, here are some tried and true tips for decorating your home like a pro.
First and foremost, get rid of the clutter. Clutter is anything that you don’t love or use, eating up valuable space in your home and mind: the boxes of old trophies and yearbooks, the clothes that don’t fit but you’re keeping “just in case,” aunt Ruth’s ceramic cat collection from her china cabinet — maybe the china cabinet, too.
Oftentimes we hold on to things out of obligation. Evaluate every single item in your home and if you don’t love it and use it, get rid of it. This may seem like a laborious task, but the deeper you dig, the lighter you’ll feel. Also, remember that you don’t necessarily have to toss it all. Wherever possible, reinvent it. For example, old furniture can be repaired and restored by repainting or re-upholstering.
Once you’ve narrowed down your belongings to a small but meaningful collection of furniture and accessories, you can start to fill in the gaps. You’ll likely be buying a few new pieces of furniture, so make them count. Make them worthy of being featured on the front cover of a design magazine.
Look for bold colour, patterns and shapes to spice up a neutral backdrop. When arranging your furnishings and accessories, look for the natural focal points in the room. This could be an architectural feature, such as a window or a fireplace.
Alternatively, if a room lacks an obvious focal point, create one with a bold piece of furniture or art. Highlight these features with vignettes, such as a reading area by the window, or a conversation area in front of the fireplace. All you need is a chair or two, a rug underfoot to help define the area, and the right lighting to enhance function and ambiance.
Last but not least are the finishing touches. They can make or break a home’s style, so don’t overlook these fine details. I love using repurposed and restored accessories, which help tell a story and engage the senses. Updating an old gem can bring it new life, will save you money and keep perfectly good, usable items out of landfills.
If you do need to pick up new accessories, look for classic pieces with staying power, which will look magazine worthy year after year. A beautifully styled home should look effortless, which ironically, can be a real task. Get inspired by your favourite furniture showrooms, decorating magazines and social media influencers. Compile all those ideas and put your own creative spin on them.
For more tips from local interior designers and renovation experts, click here.