By Joanne H. Shawcross

I used to have a college friend that had the cutest apartment in an old Victorian, but it had some of the ugliest radiators you’ve ever seen.

Let’s say you have a room at home that has something you want to ignore or hide.  It could be a ‘bad bookcase’ or a ‘vagrant view’. Here’s some design tips to make your problem “disappear”.

Your Problem: The whole room looks generally cluttered.

Target a large object or two (like a sofa) and make the background behind it similar in color or pattern.  This is a trick straight from Mother Nature!

Use the same color of the ‘busy-looking’ or offending furniture on the wall behind it. The lack of contrast between foreground and background simplifies the view of objects competing for attention. Camouflaging minimizes the problem.

Another approach is to paint the unattractive room molding or door trims to resemble the wood-grain pattern or color of the targeted furniture.  The furnishings then pleasantly blend in as part of the whole scene.

Your Problem: After a couple of seasons, our family room furniture looks kind-of boring.
My fix: COVER IT.

Use slipcovers for different seasons to perk up your otherwise blah room or hide a problem. Instead of replacing your sofa, be eco-friendly and continue using your existing furniture but get a fashionable new feeling by changing the sofa cover or throw pillows.

Today’s stylish slipcovers come in fun and fashionable colors and prints. A  formal room may require custom-made covers, but ready-mades are available for more casual rooms.

This fun slip cover immediately gives the room a playful personality.  Pair a pillow or woven lap blanket with interesting textures, and complete the look by grabbing and repeating surrounding colors.

Your Problem: There’s an extra door or ugly wall that shouldn’t be there.

Curtains and woven blinds can cover more than just a window.  Use them to hide an unwanted doorway or section of wall. How about hanging panels from the ceiling as a room divider?

Or, consider stretching a curtain rod across an entire wall. Mount it just below the ceiling, and hang gathered shear fabric curtains down to the floor. This tactic gives your room a designer look, and if there’s a window, light still filters in. You even get an extra energy saving bonus because the fabric helps stop heat/cooling loss through the wall.

Your Problem: There’s some other ugly room feature that can’t be removed.
My fix: DISTRACT The eye from IT.

The moment you enter the room, have some point of interest with some wow-factor that commands attention. Maybe it’s a beautiful fireplace mantel arrangement, or a large piece of art (I’m talking poster size or larger).

Another idea is to set up your furniture on a diagonal.  That’s always a winner because it’s an unexpected surprise.

It’s almost like you’re a magician – distract and dazzle with one hand so your visitors don’t notice the ugly thing that’s bothering you.  The offending object remains quietly there, ignored!

So, when you’re decorating keep these tactics in mind: Camouflage It – Cover It – Conceal It – Distract the eye from It -  and all your friends will be in awe of your creative skills!

Let me know your ugliest interior design problem in the comment box – maybe together we can give you some fresh ideas!

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