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Style secrets you need to know-straight from the pros

It’s always fun to ask Canada’s top design experts to reveal their style secrets, those little tips and tricks that make a room ready for its close-up. They’re a surprisingly generous bunch when it comes to sharing ways to make a space prettier. So I am adding new pearls of wisdom to the sage advice already offered in earlier posts. Read and learn, my lovelies. And let me know who else you’d like to hear from – it never hurts to ask!

Robin Daprato, Props specialist/Tarot Card reader/designer @rosesonadelaide

“I learned early on just because I like a colour or a piece, it doesn’t mean it works. You have to give yourself freedom to like something but realize it just doesn’t fit the space. And after you have put in everything you want in a space, get rid of at least two things. I think we over-crowd spaces—that makes it hard for your eye to concentrate on any one thing. And I make sure my colours are consistent throughout a space, which gives it flow.”

Stacey Smithers, Interior stylst/designer @staceysmitherscreative

Bowls from All for Knot

When she’s styling, Stacey Smithers says she’s not striving for perfection, but beauty. “And that’s a different thing. People think want their home “done” but when it’s too polished, it’s often missing the story of the lives that are lived there. Beauty can be in things made by hand, or by a kid, or a skilled craftsperson, or it can be (second-hand) coffee table books. And remember that the produce aisle is your best friend-seasonal fruit always looks good. But buy a bunch-three little apples won’t do much.” TIP: Check out the online cookbook Smithers styled for the always delicious Amy Rosen.

Props stylist/designer/communications specialist Margot Austin 

“Lamps, pillows, art and accessories that are too small are a scourge to a room. They  end up looking like clutter and often look cheap (because that’s often how bargain places get away with lower prices – make it smaller). Buy less, spend more, buy bigger. If you have small items, group them together so they read as a single larger whole.” PSST: If you enjoying following Margot’s country house renovation on Instagram @misterandmrsaustin, you MUST also follow @manwithahammer, who is renovating a 300-year-old, 30-room house in Plymouth, England. Such a treat:)

Arren Williams, Designer/co-founder of Casa Cubista (through Saudade Toronto)

“People sometimes get confused by too much choice, so they buy everything from one retailer. That will always look flat, because it will be the same materials, same finishes, same aesthetic. You need something vintage or cool or even a little bit crazy to give a room soul, the same way a really great pair of kooky earrings can make that outfit sing.”

Tamara Robbins Griffith, Decorator/content creator @tamararobbingriffiths

“Clutter is a problem. When your eye is overwhelmed it can’t appreciate the beauty in a room. Take time with a friend or professional organizer to go through belongings and do a thorough purge of items you don’t need or use. Then invest in some great storage boxes and baskets to further minimize clutter and keep things tidy. This will go a long way in enhancing the other beautiful items that you invest in or want to showcase.”

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