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Diary of a Mad Renovator: Walls That Work for Me

Written by Jaqui Lividini


This is a question close to my heart. Wallpaper can be one of the most fabulous things you can do in your home–but, like color, this is one of those very personal choices. With wallpaper, you can really clean up the architecture of the space. It gives a more completed sense of design. There are a zillion types of wallpaper to chose from as well:  geometrics, raffia cloth, grass cloth, faux finishes, and on and on. This is a great way to get a lot of bang for the buck.

Wallpaper vs. Paint and 9.5-foot ceilings magically look like 12-foot ceilings

Did you know that if you put a line 6-12 inches below the point where the wall and ceiling meet and paint that space above the line the same color as the ceiling, you will instantly create a feeling of a much higher ceilings? It’s counterintuitive, I know, but something as simple as a picture rail will work. Paint the area above it the same as the ceiling, and below it is your wall color. Magic!

The cardinal rule for selecting lampshades: YOU MUST TAKE THE LAMP WITH YOU WHEN PICKING OUT THE SHADE. I know this is a pain in the neck, but it’s the only way to really know what the shade will look like. Even I make mistakes when I think I can get away without having the lamp with me. First of all, the shade should cover the hardware at the top of the lamp. After that, there really is no general rule about proportion. It really depends upon where the lamp sits in the room and then figuring out what size shade can fit in that area.

It’s important to have one piece of furniture in the room that amuses your eye. Whenever I’m selecting furniture for a room, I really like there to be one focal piece—something that really pops, that your eye goes to immediately—to pull the room together. This needs to be a strong piece, either in scale, color, or design. This one piece really makes everything you have in the room sing together.


The focal piece in my kitchen is the red banquet amidst an all-white decor

Try painting the doors in your home or apartment so that they become a statement or architectural element unto themselves. This doesn’t work for everyone, or every home for that matter, but it does add a richness when it’s done right. Paint just the doors in a color that works throughout the space—I think you’ll love it!


Testing different blues for our hallway doors



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