Four basic updates step up your style--some take just a weekend.
1 of 4Photography: Laurey W. Glenn
1. Freshen Up
It's common: You find a house on the perfect street, and you fall in love with it--the street, not the house. Patti and Claude Perrier gave some TLC to a ranch-style house in their dream neighborhood--and now they have an incredibly stylish space. They prioritized what they could live with and what could be covered up with paint. They had an advantage though. Patti, a designer, knows tricks that don't require a total overhaul. Keep reading for her secrets.
One great feature of this 1950s Houston home: The large rooms flow from one to another. However, the lack of architectural details is consistent from room to room too. Instead of adding such details, where they'd be a tad out of place, Patti removed dingy carpet and gave everything a coat of creamy white paint, a nice backdrop to her antiques collection. Existing hardwood floors add a rich feel.
2 of 4Photography: Laurey W. Glenn
2. The Art of Disguising
Replacing a 14-foot-long living room window would be costly. Instead, Patti creatively covered it up with drapery panels paired with natural blinds. To mask the metal window frames, she ordered four panels, not just two, to flank the window. Hang the drapery rod as high as it will go to visually raise the height of a room. The blinds add dimension while also filtering the sun.
3 of 4Photography: Laurey W. Glenn
3. Wise Furniture Buys
Furniture style and placement does matter when updating a room. In the living room, Patti grouped a sofa and a pair of tufted chairs in front of the large window and positioned two large wing chairs on either side of the fireplace. This gives the room plenty of seating without feeling cluttered.
The tufted chairs are covered in a soft coral ticking, providing a hint of color. The wing chairs sport cotton canvas. Pillows add a splash of color to the neutral slipcovers. The dramatic scale of the chairs creates symmetry.
In the dining room, Patti selected an oval table to break up the rectangular lines of the house and generously fill the space.
4 of 4Photography: Laurey W. Glenn
4. Accessories Matter
The living room also features rectangular niches on one wall. Patti uses neutral accessories and stacks of books to establish a more restful scene in this area. Avoid colorful items, which call attention to these spots.
A patterned rug anchors a room. The Oriental one that Patti chose pulls together all the colors found in the living room and connecting dining room.
Elegant coral silk draperies introduce color in the dining room. Patti repeats the natural blinds here to lend a more playful, less serious look. A large antique mirror creates a beautiful focal point in the room. Two iron floor lamps repeat the symmetry and clean lines found in the living room.
This article is from the January 2006 issue of Southern Living.