Take five with... Sarah Richardson: How to upgrade any space

Photo: Brendan Barre

She's graced the pages of magazines and guided us on our television, where she doles out interior-design tips with ease.

Now, in-demand expert Sarah Richardson - who runs her eponymous firm and is Good Housekeeping's Design Director - is offering her best advice in a new book called Sarah Style.

Packed with helpful instructions and photos of her stylish spaces, the book guides readers room by room to help them create their dream home.

Here, the Canadian star of Real Potential (HGTV Canada) shares her five top design tips.

In a small space, I prefer having a smaller number of large-scale pieces to a whole lot of small-scale pieces crammed in. When you are out shopping, try to find pieces that have additional features and do double-duty to get the most out of the space. Tables with drawers and storage are key to helping conquer clutter, and mirrors help open up a tiny room. Best of all, follow the genius William Morris mantra for home and style: "Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

I embrace colour and pattern for most of my projects. But if you look closely you will notice that I generally use colour in places where it's easy to make changes without impacting the entire room. I gravitate toward timeless, neutral tones for the foundation elements in a room, and then sprinkle in colour and pattern in small yet impactful doses. After all, it's a lot easier to swap out a red pillow on a sofa than it is to recover a red sofa. Experiment and see how you can achieve dramatic results with high-impact accents!

Custom storage and millwork may seem costly at the outset of a project, but they can add value to your home and make every room function with minimum mess and maximum enjoyment. Before you commit to building extra storage, dedicate a weekend to doing a serious purge and decide what you actually need before you pay for space to store unwanted or unused items.

The personal and sentimental elements of any room are what give it soul and unique style. Embrace handmade, artistic creations and showcase these one-of-a-kind pieces to create a space that is distinctly yours.

In an open-concept space, it's important to have a cohesive look that carries seamlessly from one area to the next. However, this doesn't mean you need to create a space that reads as a single room. Using furniture and lighting to help create separate zones is an effective way to delineate each area. For example, float a sofa in the room, instead of against the wall, and place a console table or sideboard behind it. Dress the top of the surface with lamps and accessories, and you will have created a dynamic and inviting space.

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