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Fast Change: Banish winter doldrums from your interior with these suggestions from professionals.

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It's a good idea to forget all the old rules and experiment with texture and scale. For example, hang an oversized mirror that's larger than the furniture beneath it. Playing with scale sometimes gives you more impact. Put a vase with tall sticks or forsythia in front of the mirror, and it will add tons of sparkle to the room.

Bring some less formal pieces into a formal room. Change your table skirt to something that's fresher or more textural. Do the same things with your pillows. I love a good mixture. Adding an important piece of antique furniture and mixing periods, adding lots of texture, not being afraid to bring an informal piece to a stuffy room to make it more inviting.

People shouldn't be afraid to hire a professional designer for an hour or two. People sometimes think that by calling a designer they're getting into more than they bargain for, but an hour or two can really do great things. Expect to pay about $75 an hour. I assess their particular home and areas of priority, and just give them ideas for accessorizing, adding to existing pieces, changing the paint color, whatever would give them the most bang. Some people are intimidated, but they don't need to be.



—Valerie Adams, Valerie Adams Ltd.

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