A Home Decorating Trick That is Fun + Free

A home decorating trick that will help you gain a new perspective on any or all of the items in your home.

In my last post, I didn’t mean to leave you hanging, but I thought the little surprise tweak I stumbled on after I painted the brick walls in my bedroom would be better suited to a post by itself. It will make it easier for readers to find in the future instead of buried at the end of another post plus…who doesn’t love a little drama!

When decorating, I love nothing more than a happy accident that ends up being completely right. I look for these unintended ah-ha moments whenever I can. You know the ones you didn’t plan, but just happen and offer options that you may never have considered otherwise.

Mirror and DIY supplies needed to make a fake transom

Like the time I was moving my youngest into her college apartment and had to pick up and hand her a back-of-the-door-style mirror that was behind a stack of moving boxes. To get it to her, I had to raise it horizontally above my head and pass it to her. As I was passing it to her, it passed right over the threshold of the door to the room.

DIY Mirror transom over open doorway between rooms

Visually seeing the mirror cross over the door and reflecting the window across from it, allowed me to see that the mirror looked like a transom. All I could think of after this was that when I got home I would be making a fake transom above the door in my studioffice. I liked the idea so much I even created it again in the “hallway of darkness” to help reflect light into the space.

Window sidelight next to brick wall

So what little tweak did I make?

I like to see the architectural details in my house, like this sidelight and an identical one on the other side of the sliding door in my bedroom. They add a bit of eye-pleasing interest.

Master bedroom makeover before and after

When we moved into the house, the previous owner had thick heavy lined drapes that covered a portion of the glass. I like minimal window covering and removed them right away.

How to find budget window treatments for sliding glass doors
Bedroom before I painted the brick walls

We need drapes to filter the sun and for privacy, so I designed and made new drapes that would have little stack-back, but they still mostly cover the sidelights…

…no matter how much I try to push them back :-(

Sliding glass door in bedroom

Last week when I was painting the brick walls, I had to move the furnishings and pushed the drapes away from the walls so they would not get splattered with paint. During the painting process, I had to go out of the room to get something and when I came back in, I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. I liked the drapes flanking the door allowing the feature of sidelights to be seen.

“Sometimes the best decorating advice is not to follow rules, but simply seeing what we have with new eyes.”

Many may not even notice the difference, but when you are in the room, seeing the drapes framing the door in the center made a huge impact on me.  I loved seeing the sidelights and the drapes in the center. The room height feels higher since the vertical line of the drapes is in the center and draws your eye up.  I know it is just a visual thing, but I liked it… a lot!

Even if I just keep them in the center for a while, I like having options. The fun fact is that I can change them on a whim depending on my mood when I wake up in the morning. :-)

Sure, I could make 4 narrow panels and place two at the ends and two in the center, but I am not going to do that. This would be the conventional way of hanging drapes, but why follow a rule book when you like what you see. When it comes to decorating, try to think beyond the conventional way you think something should be done. Press the reset button in your mind to free it and open it up to new possibilities.

A Fun + Free Decorating Trick to Consider Trying

The reason that I decided to share this idea with you is that change can be a good thing, even small changes. Seeing the drapes in a different position didn’t cost me a dime and reminded me of a post I wrote a few years ago where I explained a decorating trick I do when I need to see a room in a different perspective.

Decorating Trick using a mirror

I learned it when I worked in retail display.  You can read all about it in this post: Upside Down and Reversed Decorating Trick.

Try This Decorating Trick

In a nutshell… Our brain is so used to seeing things in a certain order that we don’t really “see” after a while. Sometimes, you have to look at your decor at a new angle, literally.

Mirror on wall
When you look in a mirror, what is reflected is in reverse.

So even if it seems silly, try to keep an open mind about every object in your home.  Once and done can be limiting. When you need a change of decor and don’t want to go out and buy new decor, start moving things around to see how they look in a different place. Or grab a mirror and start looking around your home to see it in a new angle. You may like what you never saw before.

If there is one thing I want the decor in my home to be … it is to make me smile. If it feels right, it clicks no matter what anyone else thinks. Decorating is personal and allows us to really feel comfortable at home.

Mirror Decorating trick

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  1. OMG! I stumbled across this too! but I took a picture of the room with my phon and flipped it with the edit function. Don’t know if it’s just me but I made it black and white and I “see” even more things differently!!! Love your blog for real and doable ideas!!!!!

  2. You are one of my most favorite bloggers simply because your decor and your tips for others are the most down to earth and do-able for pretty much anyone. I also love the way you “teach” your knowledge to others. Your advice is always right on the mark, regardless of anyone’s budget – especially mine – which is pretty small. Thanks for all that you do for all of us who want to improve our homes without spending a fortune.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Pat – Your note really means a lot to me. I try to share what I know and what I do and hope it inspires. It may not be jaw dropping stuff like we see on high end blogs and TV shows like Fixer Upper, but I try to show that with time and effort you can find real-life options to get the look you want in your house on a small budget. Thanks for reading my blog all these years. XO

  3. It’s amazing when you read about new things about home design. I’m very conscious about my home and I go more for home interior shopping then myself. Thanks for the great tricks

  4. It’s amazing when you read about new things about home design. I’m very conscious about my home and I go more for home interior shopping then myself. Thanks for the tricks.

  5. I really love the drape idea, Diane!
    Several years ago I took a small mirror down because I was tired of looking at it. On a spur of the moment, I held it up to a different wall and then turned it sideways. It was just adorable! A friend commented that it was weirdly “nice”, but I left it because I like it.

  6. Barbara Jaeger says:

    Very cool! Who knew rearranging the drapes could be so inspiring?! I love the painted brick, too. These two changes make for a fresh, arty look and the perfect frame for your gorgeous lake view.

  7. You are beyond amazing!!!

  8. Romeogirl says:

    Love the drapery treatment – brilliant!

  9. Thank you for the inspiration. I will try to look at my home with different eyes and angles now.

  10. Such a subtle difference with great reward to the viewer. Thank you for sharing your home with us….

  11. Diane, I always love the way you come up with things. I agree those incidental moment really makes you happy. We just purchased a new house in craftsman style and I am discovering every day something new which is leaving me amazed.

    I love you and your blog both.

    PS: I emailed you the list!.

  12. Linda L Weeks says:

    Draperies are in and of themselves an art; bringing something soft to contrast with all the hardware that doors require. I really like this too; just how you moved them, brings more to the room than the regular treatment. if they were pushed back into the corners, they would cease to be a design element, and be ignored! Hope you leave ’em up a while!

  13. Kari Rogers-Miller says:

    I like it Diane…and you are so right about decor being what you like and not what others think. I would remove the panels completely but I understand your need to filter the sun…and for privacy. Have you thought of using window tinting? Here in Florida, almost all our windows have a clear tint that you would never notice because all the light still comes through. Here is a quote from one of them:

    “Your home can now be illuminated by the beneficial good old Florida sunshine without the harmful affects of the sun damaging your interior decor. By virtue of window films unique ceramic coating, the films reject heat, eliminating UV rays and the harmful glare of the sun while maintaining visibility.”

    Our windows and sliders (and believe me we have the whole inside of our house on a U shaped courtyard, glass from ceiling to floor) came with a built in “film”…and it is amazing. I don’t miss window curtains at all and we don’t have to worry about privacy because it is a courtyard.

    Now, The privacy is what I want to talk to you about. It appears you live on a lake and your husband’s office is in the part near the doors. Who would really see you? I had that dilemma with my kitchen window which looks out on my Secret Garden. There are areca palm trees in front of a 6 foot fence and locked gates on either end of my Secret Garden, so unless someone is trying to peek through the tropical foliage and over the fence…there is no issue with having no curtains. In fact my 8 foot patio slider has no drapes or curtains either and it opens into the Secret Garden.

    I know for some people, curtains and blinds are a must….and I understand that.

    But I also use your philosophy of “If there is one thing I want the decor in my home to be … it is to make me smile. If it feels right, it clicks no matter what anyone else thinks. Decorating is personal and allows us to really feel comfortable at home.”

    Just sayin’
    Hugs my friend

    1. Kari: I love it that you are able to go window-covering-less….is that a real word? haha, but even at the lake you would be surprised at how vulnerable the people inside their homes could be to unwanted “intruders”. Powerful binoculars and camera lenses are common items and easy to obtain, for whatever reason a person would want them. Think about the invasion of privacy that so many movie and music people endure, right in their own back yards…..hmmm, is that a mosquito you hear, buzzing overhead, or is it a drone? Remember, dark outside….light inside….you are easily seen.

  14. Love those sidelights. And to think all it took was a different perspective. Good lesson Diane! ;)

  15. I too love your sidelights and it’s a shame to cover them with curtains. I’m okay with the curtains just framing the door, but I would also try moving the curtains in just enough to allow the sidelights to show. No need for 4 panels.

  16. Ayes have it!! Very classy trick and beautiful