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Designer Tips & Tricks: Carrie Drosnes

Carrie Drosnes

Carrie's love of design and making spaces beautiful, unique and organized began as a young girl and grew into an endless appreciation for the extraordinary impact even the simplest interior design element had to offer.

Carrie got her degree from The New York School of Interior Design, then worked at firms in NYC and Toronto. She then embarked on an emotional and enriching few years designing homes, hotels and various other spaces for a variety of successful television shows, including Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Nate Berkus Show, Travel Channel's Hotel Impossible, and most recently Food Network's American Diner Revival with Ty Pennington.

Carrie believes in ease, natural beauty and the remarkable power that even the smallest change in your home, or work space, can have in your life. She believes everyone can have a space that they feel comfortable in, proud of and that represents who they are. She does not believe you need deep pockets or unreasonable amounts of time to make it happen... and making it happen is her passion.

Carrie's Tips & Tricks

1. Prepare

If I could impart one piece of wisdom to the DIY designer, it's that although a weekend warrior renovation is entirely possible, it's most effectively done with advance preparation. Think about the context of the project. Is it paint? Is it furniture refurbishing? Is it laying down flooring? Decide the look you want... don't wing it.

Days prior, take the measurements you need, test the paint colors in small squares on the walls of the room so that you can see the color before the big renovation day. Make sure it suits you in all angles of the room and consider the lighting at different times of day.

Figure out exactly what you need—sandpaper, drop cloth, screw driver, etc., and have those elements ready and waiting. When the sun rises on day one of your renovation, you will be very glad you are not running out at the last minute to find that blade you suddenly need or that trim brush you didn't realize was necessary.

2. Color

I love color. There, I said it. But what color is to me, and how I use it, may surprise you. I love bright, bold, vivacious colors like lime green and Tiffany blue. I also love soft, sexy colors like off-white and shimmering, silvery champagne.

Dont be afraid to try color in your space! It can be just along one wall, the whole room, and also in the accessories. Use color based on how it makes you feel in the space. For me, calm, warm, and simple colors work best in my master bedroom, but I love using bold, attention-grabbing colors in my office.

3. Less, Less & Less

Less is definitely more! The very first thing I recommend, before even thinking about a room, office or home makeover is to get rid of extra stuff. We have an astounding way of accumulating things, many of which we haven't seen or used in years.

Make four piles: Keep, Donate, Trash, and Maybe. After the first three are complete, go through the Maybe pile with a realistic vision of the new space or look you are trying to create... and decide whether some of the items in the Maybe pile are really Donate or Trash.

Hotel Falls

4. Living

I can't stress enough how important life is in one's design: a plant, a tree, a vase of fresh flowers. A living element from nature can have a very calming effect in a space and keeps the mood of a room grounded, no matter how outrageous the design.

Any chance I can, I bring fresh flowers into a room not only for the beauty, but the fragrance as well. Whether it be a tall, live (no plastic please!) indoor plant, a bonsai or a bud vase of fresh peonies, you can't go wrong bringing life into a room.

5. Wallpaper

Wallpaper is an incredible element to use in a room and adds instant appeal. There are so many variations of wall coverings these days that the options are endless. Using wallpaper on one wall (or all of them) can change the entire feel of a space.

If you use a photo, the photo can transport you to another place altogether. If you use a grass cloth it can give a warmth and coziness to the space regardless of the size. There are shimmering papers, graphic papers, multi-colored paper; there are vinyls that look like leather... No matter what you choose, there is art inherently injected into the space where the wall covering is applied.

Having a professional wall paper installer is certainly a treat, but as long as you understand the application instructions and follow step by step, applying wallpaper (especially from Murals Your Way) can be easy as can be.

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