What You Can Do in a Day An interior stylist lifts the curtain on her trade secrets, revealing how to revitalize a room, lickety-split.
58 . COUN T RY L I V I N G.C O M . JULY/AUGUST 2012
PHOTOGRAPHS BY BJÖRN WALLANDER; STYLING BY GENA SIGALA
Ever notice how houses in magazines look like real life, only, you know, better? That’s because there are people whose very job it is to come in and fluff things up before a photo shoot. Among them, CL contributing editor Gena Sigala, who took this living room from “before” to “after” in a matter of hours. “I zero in on details that often get neglected,” Sigala says. “They’re the kind of finishing touches most people never quite get around to or aren’t really sure how to do.” Like a few artfully arranged objects on a shelf, an erudite stack of books, and—the dilemma that stumps everybody—throw pillows! In this case, that final 10 percent made a blah space beautiful enough for our cover.
1. Play loose with objects to create effortlessly chic displays. Nothing’s worse than
precious accessories that try too hard. Sigala brought offhand élan to these shelves with beach souvenirs that seem collected over time (though she bought them at Home Goods and Z Gallerie). Her advice: Don’t line items up like good little soldiers—note how some of the shells and faux coral sit diagonally. (Shells, $5.99 for a bag of 24; homegoods.com for stores. Faux coral, from $24.95; zgallerie.com)
2. Every room needs an exclamation point. The goal
is to track down a conversation piece that doesn’t hog the spotlight. This knotted-rope lamp from Pottery Barn fits the bill: Its sculptural shape draws your eye, even as the neutral hue and natural texture recede. (Lamp, $219; potterybarn.com)
3. Arrange throw pillows from the outside in. Everyone knows
colorful pillows are the quickest change agents around—but how do you choose the right ones? And where should they sit? “I start with a large, matched pair at the ends of a sofa,” Sigala says, “then work inward with smaller options in similar shades and motifs.” (For similar pillows on sofa, from left: Blue striped pillow covers, $15 each; etsy.com/shop/bexcaliber. Star pattern, $188; judiboisson.com. Small blue, $175; John Robshaw, 212-594-6006. American flag, $46; zinhome.com)
4. The speedy way to “reupholster” a sofa? Simply
drape a blanket over its back. Sigala snags affordable vintage quilts at flea markets and tag sales. “Plus, I love how a find with its own history adds character to new furnishings,” she says. (For similar quilt, from $64.50; stores.ebay.com/museumquilts)
5. Throw a curve to a space full of corners. Between the
clean lines of the upholstered furniture, the coffee table’s masculine planes, and all the vertical and horizontal architectural elements, this room teemed with right angles. Sigala softened the edges with that aforementioned rope lamp and a red leather pouf. (Pouf, $265; Zouk, 310-260-1230)