The start

It’s easy to envy those perfectly styled rooms featured in the pages of home decor magazines. But it’s easier than you might think to bring that look home without spending a fortune. “It’s all about the finishing touches," says Grant K. Gibson, a designer based in San Francisco, US. “This living room is the perfect example of a blank canvas," he says. “The key pieces are neutral, which is just fine, because that palette gives us the freedom to go in any direction we want."

Photographs: James Carriere; Styled by Grant K Gibson

The stuff

1. TOSS IN PATTERN “What the room needed was a little bit of life," says Gibson. “Pattern and colour really give it the personality it deserved." He found fun, inexpensive fabrics at home decor stores and made simple cushions for the chair and sofa. He also dressed up the existing cushions with ribbon.

2. CORRAL IT A yellow tray adds colour to the coffee table and turns a stack of books and a few remotes into an organized, decorative display.

3. THINK BIG Gibson took a small peony photograph that was on the side table and turned it into a focal point by enlarging it on his home printer and hanging it in a large poster frame. “With a good printer and paper, we were able to create a much bigger impact for nothing but the cost of a frame," says Gibson.

4. GO LIGHTER Gibson replaced the boxy wooden coffee table with a chrome-and-glass piece that was an amazing find at a sale. “I could not believe this table was so inexpensive!" says the designer. “It is quite heavy and well-made."

5. SHOP AT HOME The existing blue lamp was one of Gibson’s inspiration pieces, but he didn’t love the stark white shade with all the room’s creamy neutrals and brown tones. He found a softer linen shade in the bedroom and swapped them.

6. COVER UP “We needed to enliven the corner of the living room," says Gibson, who fashioned a tailored skirt for the end table out of a colourful tablecloth (most tailors will be able to help you with this). Bonus: Now there’s hidden storage space available under the table.

The style

Colour, pattern, accents, and a see-through coffee table turned this brown, boxy room into a vibrant, finished-looking space.

The photograph in an oversize frame fills the wall above the table and helps balance the windows. Gibson used place mats to anchor mementos on the coffee table and grouped white pottery on the end table. “Show off your collections and the things you’ve treasured over time," says Gibson. “Every room needs good conversation pieces."

Glass-top coffee table, Rs4,500

At most furniture stores. Check the shops on Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road in Delhi.

Printed tablecloth, Rs600

Fabindia. Also see the Westside, Maspar, HomeTown, Anokhi and Soma outlets.

Wicker basket, Rs250

HomeStop. Also at most home decor shops across the country.

Lampshade, Rs430

Fabindia. Also at most home decor stores in major cities.

Yellow tray, Rs500

Westside. Also see Good Earth and Crazy Daisy.

Place mat, Rs55

Westside. Also at Shoppers Stop and Fabindia outlets in major cities.

Cushion covers, Rs180 each

Fabindia. Also available at Shoppers Stop, Westside, Good Earth and Soma.

Cushion fillers, Rs450

Shoppers Stop. Also at upholstery shops and departmental stores.

The prices are approximate and can vary with stores, brands and sizes.

Liven it up

Turn a staid TV table into an attractive bedside table with a new coat of paint

Unattractive TV cabinets are the bane of every household. To turn one into an attractive bedside table, start by removing the wheels and installing new wooden furniture feet. Then prime and paint the cart. Next, remove the doors and cover the front with decorative paper. Cut a new back for the cart from a 1/4-inch plywood and cover it with coordinating paper. Add new knobs to the doors and reinstall.

Better Homes & Gardens

Lime and lemony

Add fun to a drab balcony with a dash of lime

You can’t resist this lemon foldable metal chair—it’s light and extremely versatile.

The perforated metal chair in a zesty fluorescent green is a winner. Carry it out to the veranda to read a book and enjoy the monsoon, or put it in your hatchback and take it for picnics once the rain goes away.

Also available in pearly white (with an interesting cutwork pattern), and grey. Rs800, Lifestyle Home Centre.

Better Homes & Gardens

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