Design Tips From Candice Olson

The Divine Design host shares her insider tips and tricks for renovating and decorating your home.

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Before you hire a designer, find out what you like. It's not uncommon for folks to be unable to articulate what their style is, says Candice Olson. Create a scrapbook or binder full of magazine clippings, fabrics and photos of design that catches your eye. A homeowner who has done their homework really helps a designer, says Olson: "When I look through 20 different pages that a homeowner has collected, it gives an outsider a good idea of what the person likes."

Create a sample board. After Olson meets with her clients, she pulls together a sample board — a collection of fabric scraps, paint chips, finish samples, flooring bits, photos of furnishings that tells the room's design story. Make your own when you're dreaming up a room makeover. It'll help you match up fabrics and wallpapers before they get installed. Plus, it helps you stick to your vision once you've started.

Be open to a room swap. Swapping rooms or areas in a room is a trick that Olson uses frequently on Divine Design. A dining room and living room will trade places or a kitchen floor plan gets reversed. Of course, unless you're gutting your entire home you can't swap the kitchen with a bedroom, Olson says, but by taking a fresh look at how a space works, you may find a better way to use your square footage.

Look in commercial buildings for inspiration. When shopping for kitchen flooring you may find products that are stylish and extra-durable. Want to make your kitchen look bigger? "Laying the kitchen floor pattern on a diagonal lets you visually expand the space — good to know if you have a tight squeeze," Olson says.

Contributions by Anne Krueger.

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