Tips For Adding Local Flair To Your Home From A Chicago Designer

February 13, 2013 7:00 AM

(Credit: Nicola Razniewski)

By Angela Hazen

Delightful spring weather is about to begin, and this is a terrific opportunity to get a head start on sprucing up your place for the warmer seasons ahead. On limited budgets, however, you may be hesitant to make too many changes out of concern that you may be in over your head financially. So, what is the best way to get a glorious new look to your living space? Here is some advice from decorating expert Nicola Razniewski, Owner and Senior Creative Faux Artist and Decorator at NNK Designs, who gives her take on giving your living space a bright new look that’s uniquely yours.

(Credit: Nicola Razniewski)

(Credit: Nicola Razniewski)

Nicola Razniewski
NNK Designs
(630) 670-8857

Add Green to Your Space

“Plants always add color and life to any room. A well chosen plant or two can make a big difference. From a small plant on the counter to a large potted tree, there’s a plant for all spaces. There are quite a variety of beautiful pots for plants out there, so you should never have three of the same pots in the same space. Choose a variety that complements your style and decor and have fun with it.”

Inexpensive Color Accents

“When it comes to living room or family room spaces, it’s difficult to spruce up the space without changing the larger pieces in the room. One inexpensive way to add some color and a breath of fresh air is to change your pillows and throws. A plain beige couch can easily become the accent piece of the room with well chosen pillows and a throw. Don’t be afraid to choose patterns or colors. The same can be said for bathrooms. By getting a new shower curtain, area rug and towel set, you can completely change the look of the room without having to change out the hardware or repaint.”

Related: Best Home Decor Stores in Chicago

(Credit: Nicola Razniewski)

(Credit: Nicola Razniewski)

A New Coat of Paint

This may be one of the more obvious ways to change the look of a room, but it’s not always necessary to repaint the entire room. By choosing one accent wall, you have several options to choose from. You can choose a bolder color, a great piece of artwork, decorative painting or even a beautiful wallpaper. A combination of these works great too. The possibilities are endless. Many homes have beautiful arches going from one room to the next. Why not use this as a canvas for imagination? One example of creative painting is something done above kitchen cabinets. If the kitchen has a vaulted ceiling and the space between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling is a very large empty space, paint five colorwashed tall rectangles above the cabinets and hang small decorative red baskets over them with vegetable garden stakes to break up the space. It really adds life to the blank space.

Do the Shuffle

Rearrange what you already have. There are times when buying new items to change the look of your space either isn’t in the budget, you can only get one or two pieces or you just like to change things around often. What do you do? Take a look at your current accessories and artwork. Then, move them to a different room altogether. Take that piece from your living room and put it in the bedroom. Change the frames your pictures are in and rearrange the order. What’s nice about this is you can get several different looks with what you have without having to empty your pocketbook to do it.

Color and Patterns

Color and patterns go hand in hand. The right blend of both can make you never want to leave home. Color is a great thing. Don’t be afraid of it, and at the same time, keep it in its place. You can buy one item in every color and put them together, but that doesn’t mean it will look good. While choosing a single color may seem like an unexciting thing to do, doing a variety of shades and patterns within that one color looks great. If you have a beige couch with burgundy and navy plain pillows, yes, your couch has color, but does it have character? Give your fabrics some life. Choosing patterns over solids, or in combination with, is a really nice way to add variety.

Related: Best Places for Antiquing in Chicago

Angela Hazen lives in Oak Park, IL. She has worked as a model in Chicago and studied broadcast journalism at Columbia College Chicago. She has traveled to Europe on several occasions, and keeps her readers up to date with local and international style, shopping, fashion and beauty trends. Her work can be found at

Watch & Listen LIVE