John Saladino's design basics


If you don't have a lot of money to spend, but you're eager to make some chaanges in a room, John Saladino suggests that some basics can go a long way.

*Obviously, paint can make a dramatic change. Rather than getting caught up in sponging or fancy finishes, the designer recommends keeping it simple. Use a flat paint on the walls and a gloss on the woodwork. It's very nice if you paint them the same color.

*Slipcovers in any style, done very simply, will instantly change the look of a chair or a sofa. It's a great way to celebrate the seasons -- use leather or velvet in winter, linen in summer. This is something possibly anyone can do himself -- with a piece of fabric thrown over a sofa and knotted at the bottom.

*Find a large glass cylinder, put it on the floor and fill it with something like rhododendron branches. Then uplight it. It makes a beautiful pattern on the ceiling and the wall. And floor uplights are very inexpensive.

*Overscale toss pillows with wonderful trims are a way of taking a middle-class sofa and making it look as if it's an uptown relative.

*Draping an inexpensive plywood table that's hidden from the eyes with damask, Fortuny or old fabrics or a worn Oriental rug will make it look like a million dollars. It will give a room a sense of style.

*Overscaling also is effective. Take a great garden urn, make it the center of a foyer or put it in the corner of a dining area and fill it with branches that go to the ceiling. It's an inexpensive way to get a great sense of scale and elegance.

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