6 ways Edy Keeler finishes a room with style
Whether you have invested months into renovating a room – or you’re frantically primping it for an impromptu visit from friends – making that finishing touch is key. Pulling together a room’s emotions, decorations and overall vibe is often the biggest challenge in a project. Edy Keeler, an interior designer in Santa Fe, N.M., with projects featured in Architectural Digest and Western Interiors, confesses she’ll even sit in someone’s closet to help them figure out their design scheme before adding the finishing touch.
“Look at what’s in there. Is it hipster or is it banker? What colors do you wear?” asks Keeler.
Keeler offers six tips on how to pull together a room, with affordability in mind.
Empty the room
It may sound drastic, but once you get every little side table, stack of books, tchotchke and gadget out of the room, you’ll see the bones (Is it square? Long and narrow? U-shaped?), and immediately know how to reposition everything. You’ll also be forced to prioritize your favorite decorative accents as you shuttle everything back into the room. What, you never really liked that marble plant stand? Then reroute it to the garage – not back to the living room. “Look at the room. It will stop you from putting more tchotchkes in the room. Less really is more,” says Keeler. “Take all tchotchkes, have a yard sale and buy just one in a larger size. Let that do the talking.”
Create a focal point
Every successfully designed room has a focal point. Maybe it’s artwork arranged in a grouping, a cozy armchair for reading your favorite magazines, the built-in buffet in an historic home, or a flat-screen television for watching your hometown baseball team’s games. Don’t stress yourself in creating this focal point. A lot of times it comes naturally. Ask yourself what you use the room for most often – and stick to that intention as you’re rearranging. “What most rooms lack is a focal point,” says Keeler – and that could divide an otherwise cohesive design into parts.
An easy, inexpensive way to dress up your framed collection of photos depicting your friends, family pets and family members is to swap out the frames. Transition those photos to frames that are consistent in some fashion – either a similar stain of wood or an ornamental design (ornate metal or glued-on seashells, for example*). “Get rid of all the frames,” says Keeler. “Go to the great sale at Hobby Lobby and get a bunch of frames in the same material. Then, all of a sudden, you have a grouping that’s not a hodge-podge.”
Coax soft lighting
Want to know the secret to what makes a room the kind you want to hole in with a good book on a rainy day? Or catch up on your family members’ weeks? Two words: soft lighting. But it’s not that easy to effectively create. “Buy a good quality small up-light with a base to place on the floor, keeping it a safe distance from furnishings.” instructs Keeler, and then pull out the sofa from the wall and put a light behind it to soften the wall. This can also be done with a bed. Another easy trick: buy a tall, oversized potted plant with spiky leaves and place the same type light behind it. Once again, not close to anything flammable. “You’ll have a beautiful lighting effect – a silhouette – on your walls and ceiling,” she says.
Change out the linens
For less than $50 – 100 bucks if you splurge on high thread counts or brand names – you can instantly switch a kitchen or bathroom’s design from mod to masculine, or Edwardian to edgy. It’s all in the towels. “For 100 bucks it feels really good,” says Keeler, who also suggests for kitchens investing in a fun teakettle – perhaps in a bright cherry-red hue – to keep on the stove even when you aren’t boiling water. “That’s a cheap way to pull it together.” Most teapots won’t cost more than $25. And when paired with new, non-faded and unripped tea towels it’s a brand-new look.
Touch up with flora and fauna
What makes Keeler cringe and want to quickly exit a room are dried plants and flowers. They accumulate dust (visible in natural sunlight), particularly with flowers, and they lack a perfumed scent and bright shine that’s impossible to mimic. Opt for fresh-cut flowers instead and arrange them in a pretty vase. “Using scent in the design is a relatively new thing,” she says. If flowers and plants are a concern due to allergies or the presence of pets, lit scented candles can achieve the same effect.
The Edy Keeler | Core Value Interiors blog updates every Monday.