8 Experts Reveal Their No. 1 Way to Transform a Room
When you're ready for a dramatic change, often it's the subtle style switches that make the biggest difference. Paint is usually one of the key go-tos if you want to make a big impact, but this process takes time, something many of us don't have. So if you're ready for a room revolution, what other abode-altering options are out there? We asked the interior experts for their most transformative techniques to update your home.
Athena Calderone of EyeSwoon is a “visual creature,” fusing simple ingredients to draw the eye and create a space that is at once inspiring but right at home. Her use of vivid color, texture, and personal treasures has made her highly sought after, along with her keen eye for sourcing stylish vintage and antique pieces. Calderone says the use of vintage furnishings and materials with a “timeworn patina” are the best way to transform a space. “They add a natural, textural warmth to a home,” says Calderone. “I love to use industrial antiques, reclaimed woods, burlap, rope, leather.”
Gabrielle Savoie of Savvy Home says “lighting is the jewelry of a room,” which is why she always gives it top priority for any new project. “Great lighting can cast the most flattering light on objects and people, whereas a badly lit room can look really dingy,” Savoie notes. “I always plan for three lighting sources minimum, and opt for warm light over harsh neon lighting.” Another way she turns a room from drab to fab is via interesting art. “I'm always on the hunt for oversize eye-catching art for my clients: the bigger, the better!” says Savoie. “I love using art in unusual ways—as a headboard replacement, for example.”
Renowned for a detail-oriented approach, Burnham Design expertly fuses polish with grit for a flawless, cutting-edge look we all want to replicate. Betsy Burnham and Max Humphrey have a flair for creating spaces that are visual feasts of carefully curated modern and vintage pieces, and this is also their number one way to transform a room. “Pick a nice, big wall—in an entry, maybe, or a dining room or a hallway—and start a gallery,” says Burnham and Humphrey. “Use everything from kids’ art to vintage posters to investment pieces, frame them, and have fun with the mix. It takes some time, patience, and a level, but the payoff is super cool.” The designer duo recommend starting out small and adding to it over time.
We’ve always admired the high-impact interiors of Brian Patrick Flynn. His choices are bold but so on point; it’s all chic, no clash. When we first asked Flynn, he reeled off at least three style updates, but his number one? “Hands down, I think introducing graphic pattern into a room is the most lickety-split way to transform it,” says Flynn. “In my blink-and-you-missed it bedroom in the country, I made a 9.5-by-10.5-foot space feel larger and personable by covering the wall behind the bed with a woolen plaid from Holland & Sherry. Pattern offers so many elements to play off of, like color, texture, scale, and shape.”
When it comes to interiors, Chloe Redmond Warner of Redmond Aldrich Design enjoys updating the classics with a modern edge. This is why wallpaper is her favorite way to transform a space. “Be brave, take a risk, and make a statement,” she says. “Wallpaper can be so much fun, and it adds tons of personality to a space.” But before you take this design leap, Warner has some sage style advice first. “If you invest in beautiful paper, don’t try to hang it yourself! Hire a professional, no matter what the design shows say; you’ll get the cleanest, most designer-inspired results if you do.”
Amber Lewis has an enviable skill for mixing bold patterns and color combinations with ease. It’s this uncanny knack that has crafted a devoted following for her popular design firm, Amber Interiors. But when it comes to transformative techniques, Lewis loves the white effect. “Painting a room white does wonders for lightening up a space,” she says. “It gives it a very bright and airy feel, but it also creates a neutral base that allows you to be more free and creative when picking and choosing other materials and furniture pieces.”
Who doesn’t love the charisma and charm of Mr Jason Grant? The Australian interior icon injects his bright personality into everything he does. So it's no surprise that he's a huge fan of color, and that this also, along with pattern, his number one tip for making an easy but high-impact update. “A bathroom is an easy place to start small and to experiment,” says Grant. “Adding color is a simple but impactful decorating trick, but updating your accessories is another affordable way. It’s as easy as brand-new (colorful) bath towels or a statement shower curtain—BOOM!”
For 15 years, David Phoenix has built a loyal fan base for his traditional, elegant interior design style that puts luxury and livability in the same room. He has a talent for making classic furniture work in a modern architectural setting, with seamless results. But when it comes to transforming a space, Phoenix says bedding is the easiest way to update and transform it. “Crisp white linens are always a favorite of mine,” says Phoenix. “They bring a touch of luxury and sophistication to any bedroom.”