The Styling Tricks I’m Still Doing 9 Years Later (Because They’re That Good)

I’m apparently a 6 trick pony. And while I, of course, add new tricks every year (to varying degrees of success) I still really love these when done right. The thing with these isn’t that you need new stuff, it’s that you arrange the stuff that’s already in your house in a cooler way. It’s like how fashion stylists show you how to peek the edge of your sleeve under your rolled-up blazer or wear a belt haphazardly to look disheveled in a cool way. These tricks I use are all impermanent, easy to do, and just make your house look more stylish and interesting. If nothing else it’s worth a shot, no?

Huge Statement Branches From Your Yard

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: 14 rules for how we style the perfect bedroom (+ 3 new reveals)

I’ve been styling with backyard branches for over a decade – flowers are often just too expensive for our shoot’s prop budget. I remember when Brady clipped that branch, in the photo above, for a bedroom in the Portland Project and even I was like, “Woah, she’s aggressive.” I didn’t say anything because I honestly loved how he went for it, using his creative expression, and didn’t want to dampen it. Then a year later, Real Simple asked if they could use that image on the cover of the magazine. While it might be too extreme for every day it certainly was editorial enough to be cover-worthy.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: mountain house reveal: our light-filled neutral & textural living room

The whole mountain house is covered in backyard branches – and some can last WEEKS and then dry out, lasting months! No seriously, some of the manzanita (the branches above) dried to look real and are still there 2 years later (which as I’m writing this sounds gross but it’s not I promise).

photos by sara ligorria-tramp | from: mountain house reveal: our soft yet secretly sultry downstairs guest bed + bath

Don’t forget about the sweet little “sprig”. Of course, we put one on the ledge of the bath (and most wouldn’t need to) for our shot, but the vanity is a great place to add something organic.

photo by tessa neustadt | from: 1 bedroom 4 ways with the citizenship

Another huge one to dress up is that tiny nightstand – which might not be advisable on a day-to-day basis, but think of the places where you can put a big statement branch that makes sense for your life – for me, it’s the dining table, mantle and entry table.

Hang Art In Unexpected Places

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: my friend’s carpeted basement bathroom gets a budget makeover (with a lot of readymade products and the transformation is insane)

We recently styled this painting on the tiled wall which I loved in theory but was terrified to do myself. But Priscilla used a tile drill bit and it was so easy (for her). Mostly for hanging tile on art I use Command strips but only if they are smaller pieces and no glass in them.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: working with what you’ve got – an $8k budget kitchen makeover with a lot of vintage charm

When we shot Allison Pierce’s home, Velinda and Erik hung some art on her kitchen backsplash tile, which I think can look really sweet and unexpected. They used the Velcro kind of Command strips and Erik swears by them.

If this scares you or feels impractical think about just leaning it or even putting it in the back of your cabinetry (a fun unexpected hack). That is typically what I do in a kitchen.

photo by david tsay | from: a spanish living room

Now the “art under a window” move can be really polarizing people because it’s breaking so many rules, but I still like the brazen rebellion of it. The point is – think about unexpected places to hang art. It’s super noncommittal (command strips!) and shows a lot of personality.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | styled by emily bowser | from: sara’s galley kitchen “update” turned into a full renovation (and the result is well worth the wait)

Sara and Emily B. joined this rebellious gang and hung that art under her window, like a real baller.

Dress Up The Back Of A Sofa

photo by zeke ruelas | from: la bungalow makeover

A move that is far less rebellious but has super high impact is the colorful or patterned throw on the back of a sofa – especially when the sofa is floating and you see the back. To make this work long-term you don’t throw it over the back cushions but instead, tuck it behind the cushions and drape over the back, thus covering likely some seams in the sofa (if it’s a sectional).

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: mountain house dining nook reveal

If the back of your sofa is prominent don’t let it be naked. This is especially a good move if you like pattern but don’t want to commit to a full upholstered sofa – you can switch it out so easily, obviously.

The Easiest Way To Style A Bed…The Lumbar Pillow

I may never go back to 5 throw pillows on a bed after the invention/discovery of the long lumbar. They can be more expensive, but the one-pillow party is a simplified, practical, and really stylish look.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: moto reveal: emily bowser’s bedroom “after” is unrecognizable from the “before”

Bowser’s kitty cat, Daffy, approves (also how dope is that headboard she made? SO DOPE).

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: mountain house primary bedroom

Remember when I shot that leather lumbar from Target and then it sold out so fast and you were all enraged? Good news! It’s back!!

The Layered Art Lean

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: a modern and organic entry: shelf styling tips + shop the look

I guess I like to play a lot with art placement – ​​but “the lean” is one that those non-committal types out there can really embrace. All you do is literally lean the art instead of hanging it. It’s a strong yet casual move.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: reveal: a budget and rental-friendly living and dining room (with 80% thrifted finds)

If you want to do something riskier like we did here, you can lean it against a window (WHAT??) thus giving this side of the room some love.

HOT TIP: Just make sure you vary the sizes (and types) of art! If you look at the credenza above, we leaned three different pieces of art – all different sizes, two framed but different colored frames, and one unframed with a totally different texture (because it was a painted piece of wood).

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: makeover takeover: jess’ long awaited (small space) living room reveal

Jess leaned her art on the floor with a graphic sculpture in front of it (good move, J). That gallery wall is pretty darn epic, but that unexpected piece on the floor is pretty awesome.

I MISS STYLING – ugh, I can’t wait to style out the farmhouse. I’m desperate to come up with and show you some new “moves” (although next week’s basement reveal is pretty wonderful if I do say so myself). Have a fantastic weekend and if you want more design and style hacks feel free to pick up my new book 🙂

Oh, and if you’re in the New York City area next week, I’m doing an intimate book signing at Rejuvenation and would love to meet you! Get your ticket HERE. There will be food AND an open bar too!

Opening Image Credits: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Portland Project: The Living Room Reveal

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