Did you know that before I was a design firm owner and HGTV host I started my career by staging model homes? I was pretty darn great at it, and hunny I have the awards to prove it (insert a snap here). I have never lost my passion for models and now I am sharing my ideas on how to make your house look like a model home!
There are some tips that you can use now to make your space look like a model home. I am serious! It isn’t as hard as you might think.
1. Float your furniture. Move your furniture away from the walls. More often than not, you will make your room look more inviting and more accessible. If you have a larger or long space, make sure to design your room in zones.
2. Get more lighting. One thing that sets model homes apart from everyone else’s homes is the lighting. Use dimmers, use lamps, and recessed lighting. Layering the different types of light in the room is key. The rule of thumb is 100 watts per 50 square feet.
3. Find your inspiration. This is how many designers start out their designs for model homes. They start with a single piece of inspiration. It may be a swatch of fabric or a piece of art or even a piece of pottery. Use that item to find your color and design scheme.
4. Paint and wallpaper. A lot of model homes really rev up their spaces with just paint. They have painted something special on the walls almost using the painted wall as art. Other times, they will paint an accent wall. Two words of caution on accent walls. First, make sure the accent wall contrasts enough with your main wall color. Second, make sure you pick the right wall to be the accent wall. Don’t pick some sliver of a wall or a wall that is to the side of the room away from the focal point of the room. Wallpapering is also a statement and saves money on art.
5. Plants. Many model homes have plants in the home. Indoor trees and plants bring the outdoors in!
6. Bookshelves. Lots of model homes have a library area filled with books that look fabulous. We all know that books are expensive to use only as a prop. You know what designers do? They visit thrift stores and buy books based upon the color of the cover. Never leave the paper sleeve on it.
7. Choose fabulous tile. Most of the model homes look like they have really upscale kitchens. If you look at the details, most of the money is spent in the backsplash tiles. They find fabulous tiles to put up and it adds a classy and upscale touch to the kitchen.
8. Window Treatments. We all know that drapes can be hugely expensive. In most model homes, they only add drapery panels on either side of the window. They do not cover the entire window, but simply frame it.
9. Candles. This is a standard in most model homes, especially in bathrooms. Get pillar candles and make sure to light the wick. It’s the small touches that make your home look lived in and warm.
10. Clutter. Get rid of the clutter. There is no clutter in model homes. Just adhere to a place for everything and everything in its place.
11. Molding. Many of these model homes have crown molding and chair rails. Try to come up with original ways to use molding.
12. Accessorize your stairway. Don’t forget to accessorize your stairwell. Place a collection of picture frames, art, metal pieces, etc.
13. Use artwork, doors, or large mirrors as a headboard. If you do not mind parting with an upholstered headboard, this trick may be great for you. Many times it is too expensive to buy a headboard, but you don’t have to. Buy a mirror or old door and mount it to the wall. Make sure that any rough edges are sanded down and treated.
14. Pillows. Use lots and lots of pillows on the master bedroom bed. Usually about 7 pillows will do the job. Two large in the back, next three smaller ones, then two more even smaller ones, or 1 roll pillow.
15. Artwork. You will need to put up artwork behind your couch, over the bed, on either side of a mirror, over the fireplace, over a dresser. An inexpensive idea is to use children’s art, or your collection of photos from Instagram. The scenic photos work great here. Ikea has great collections of picture frames in various sizes.
16. Murals. Murals are very nice to use in kid’s rooms. Pick a theme and if you can’t afford someone to paint one, use decals. There are many available now that look spectacular.
17. Flooring. Delineate your spaces with area rugs. Pick interesting flooring to jazz up a space. With this tip make sure that you use area rugs that are large enough to fill the room vs. just enough rug to fit under a table.
18. Use common items as a headboard. In a kid’s room that has a theme, use regular everyday items as a headboard. For example, if your child is interested in tennis, use five tennis rackets staggered.
19. Coffered Ceilings. These days you can buy faux wood beams to make your own coffered ceilings.
20. Built-Ins. For those of you that are DIY’ers you can do this on your own. Come up with a design and build it. These are usually very basic and trimmed with molding. To get inspired search Google for “DIY Built Ins”.
21. Accessories. Add accessories around your house in sets of odd numbers like a set of three. It is more and pleasing to your eye. For my comprehensive accessory list click here
Your Interior Designer & HGVT Host