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The softer side of home improvement gets some attention as we dig into the art of making your home match your personality. We’ll focus on getting the most for your design dollar, and the best methods of doing it yourself.

Tip #1: Camouflage with Color

Paint large pieces – such as a built-in bookcase – a complementary color to the walls, rather than the color of the woodwork. This will allow the piece to blend in with the décor, rather than overpowering the room.

Painting this bookcase a similar color to the walls kept it from standing out.

Tip #2: Sometimes Less Is More

To avoid a cluttered or over decorated appearance in a room, don’t fill shelves to capacity. Instead, remove everything from the shelves, then reuse a limited number of items in a mix of colors to serve as focal points.

Tip #3: Make the Most of Natural Light

While windows and glass doors are a great way to bring natural light into a room, too much of a good thing can cause glare and damage or fade furniture, fabrics, and flooring.

Etched glass window film on glass doors
Etched glass window film.

One way to solve the problem is by applying a nonadhesive window film to the glass. Window film is available in a wide range of colors and patterns from frosted to etched to stained glass.

To apply decorative window film to glass doors or windows:

  • Cut the window film to size.
  • Mix a mild solution of soap and water.
  • Spray the solution on the glass.
  • Carefully apply the film to the glass.
  • Use credit card to remove air bubbles.

Tip #4: Repeat a Pattern

To pull the décor of a room together, consider repeating a pattern in a room. This can include a decorative motif in a picture frame, molding, or furniture design.

Tip #5: Maximize Small Space by Unifying Colors

To make a small room appear larger than it is, paint the woodwork, trim, and walls the same color. Use a similar color for the fabric on upholstered furniture as well.

Danny Lipford with interior designer Augusta Tapia in her shop
Danny Lipford with interior designer Augusta Tapia in her shop.

Tip #6: Select a Signature Piece

If you have a signature piece of furniture or art that you want to feature, make sure to find the right room to display it. Rather than making all the décor match a signature piece, consider blending contrasting finishes and designs for a more eclectic look.

Tip #7: Accessorize to Add Finishing Touches

The accessories you choose for a room can make all the difference. In addition to enhancing the décor, accessories can be used to showcase the interests of the homeowner including collectable items, artwork, and plants.

Tip #8: Use Contrast to Add Interest

Contrasting colors or styles can be used to add character and provide interest in a room. To dress up a plain bathroom mirror, we added a stained frame made from stock door casing with plinth blocks at the corners.

Custom made stained wood frame added to bathroom mirror
Custom made stained wood frame added to bathroom mirror.

To match the stain on the frame with a burnished bronze faucet, we mixed Minwax ebony and chestnut stains together. A two-part epoxy glue was then used to attach the frame to the mirror, with finish nails in the wall for reinforcement.

Special thanks to Marisa Smith of Marisa Interior Design Studio and Augusta Tapia of Augusta Tapia Interiors in Mobile, Alabama.

Other Tips from This Episode

Picture Hanging Tip

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Picture Hanging Tip

To find the height to hang a picture, position the frame on the wall and mark the top of the frame with a pencil. Take the picture down, hook a tape measure on the frame wire or hanger, and measure to the top of the frame. Measure this distance down the wall from the top of the frame to find the location for the nail or picture hanger.

Martha Stewart Living Organizers

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Martha Stewart Living Organizers

These convenient organizers from Martha Stewart Living include a Stackable Cube Organizer and Cubbie Storage Bench, both of which can be fitted with fabric drawers in a wide range of colors. Martha Stewart organizers are available at The Home Depot.

Danny Lipford testing paint with denatured alcohol

Ask Danny Lipford:
Painting Over Oil and Latex Paint

While you should never apply oil-based paint over latex, you can apply latex paint over oil-based if you prepare the surface properly. Start by lightly sanding to remove the gloss, then clean the surface with TSP (trisodium phosphate). Apply a coat of bonding primer, then topcoat with latex paint. To determine if the paint is oil or latex, rub denatured alcohol on the surface. If the paint comes off on the rag, it’s latex.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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