Top 10 Ultimate Decorating Tips From a Magazine Stylist

Multi-Colored Eclectic Dining Room

Multi-Colored Eclectic Dining Room

This dining room was featured in HGTV Magazine.

Photo by: David A. Land (styled by Elizabeth Demos)

David A. Land (styled by Elizabeth Demos)

As a professional photo stylist and designer, Elizabeth Demos is a creative mastermind behind many of the stunning house tours you see inside HGTV Magazine. She works her magic adding a throw here, a bowl of lemons there, and of course, making sure every bookshelf is designed to perfection. Liz helps the editors and photographers ensure every room and every shot look both lived in and expertly styled, and now she's sharing her top 10 decorating tips that work for everyone.

1. Rug size is everything

"A small rug is like a too-tight dress," says Demos. "It's just a bad idea no matter what." A rug forms the foundation of a room and creates connectivity with your furniture, so a tiny rug that just fits under a coffee table will only emphasize the table and fails to connect the rest of the room. Her general rule: If your furniture floats, it should be touching if not holding all of your furniture. If your furniture is wall-bound, you can get away with only the front legs on the rug.

2. Every common room needs a plant

Besides improving air quality, plants are good for your mental health and boost your mood and energy. Plus, "a little green is aesthetically pleasing," says Demos. In the living room, she suggests a fiddle leaf fig tree or bird of paradise palm. Don't have that much space? Try a plant stand featuring several smaller varieties, or if you want something more useful, try herbs!

3. Editing is a master skill everyone should learn

"Think of your home accessories like jewelry for your room," says Demos. "Know when too much of a good thing is really a bad thing." If you can't part with your treasures, consider rotating items like a museum. "You will discover and appreciate your possessions much more," she says.

4. Think tall

Demos says every room should have at least one tall piece of furniture. Why? To break up the monotony. "It gives a room visual rhythm and acts as a big anchor," she says.

5. Mix and match high/low finds

Want to make a flea market lamp look like a million bucks? Demos says to add a high-end shade. The high item instantly makes the low-end piece look more sophisticated. "Spend the money," she urges. "You won't regret it."

6. Great composition is key to good balance…

…in a room, on a mantel, on top of a dresser—just about anywhere in your home. "Think about scale, shape and how objects harmonize," says Demos. She regularly applies what she calls the "Sesame Street Theory." Ask yourself 'which of these things in not like the others?' Then eliminate the item that feels out of place. "Same items, whether it's in shape, color, material or style, are a good way to make things feel cohesive," she says.

7. Pillows are more important than you think

Pillows make a room feel cozy, so resist the urge to skimp when shopping. Also, remember that a pair of matching pillows does not have to live on the same piece of furniture. There's no design rule that says so.

8. Don’t be afraid of sparkle

"Whether it's something metallic or glass, every room needs a little sparkle," says Demos. Think shiny, not necessarily glittery, to keep things grown-up and sophisticated.

9. Layer your bedding

"Monotone beds are boring!" says Demos. Use different colors and styles of texture when you layer sheets, blankets and pillows. "It keeps your bedding from feeling like you bought it all in one big bag at a department store," she says.

10. Shop your own house

Breathe new life into an old possession by simply moving it. "You'd be surprised how special an item looks when you place it in a different room or on a different piece of furniture," says Demos.

A Classic Spin on Quirky Decorating

See All Photos
Tour a home recently styled by Demos for HGTV Magazine

Shop This Look

Keep Reading

Next Up

The Art of Arranging: Design That Doesn't Cost a Thing

Feeling uninspired by your space? Designer Ryan Brown reveals how to rearrange and refresh your home using what you already own. 

Designer Confession: I Love Shopping at Big-Box Stores

Don't mind me, I'll just be over here browsing the dollar bins.

Top 20 Cleaning Tips From HGTV Stars

Plus, read on for their LOL cleaning confessions. HGTV stars, they're just like us!

5 Dryer Sheet Hacks That Actually Work

Take the sheet beyond the laundry room.

Are You a Rehab Addict? Check Out 5 Design Rules Nicole Curtis Never Breaks

Steal these tried-and-true home remodeling tricks from the queen of rehab.

9 "Why Didn't I Think of That?" Car Organizing Hacks

These dollar store items-turned-storage will have you like 'whoa.'

14 Cleaning Confessions That Prove We All Take the Easy Way Out Sometimes

We're all just human. Dirty, messy, kind-of-gross humans. 

7 Ways to Make Moving Easier (and Way More Fun!)

Yup, you read it right. We've got tips to make moving day less of a burden.

6 Pro Tips for Taking Better Photos of Your Digs

New Orleans Reno host Holly Baker demonstrates how your place can be picture-perfect.

The 6 Scariest Things About Being a Homeowner

That feeling when something breaks and you can't call your landlord.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts