Part of our Steal This Look” / Decorator Looks Series where we break down the popular looks of catalog designs, for less.

If you could have the look of any home decor catalog, which one would it be?

Let’s be clear here, we’re helping you with the ROOM, not giving you some crafty projects to replicate a decorative or accessory item…for that, check out this blogger’s roundup of projects.

Some of the architectural features that you may overlook, but actually are part of that luxurious look:


Part of what make a catalog look appear so nice is the LIGHTING

High ceilings

Not just coiffured ceilings, but HIGH ceilings. So many homes have standard 8 foot ceilings, but designer homes are up to ten.

If you will do any remodeling work, definitely consider pushing up the ceilings anywhere you can, and using recessed lighting. It will pay for itself and more in resale value. 

Trim / panelling, unique woodwork

In a catalog shoot, the background or backdrop of the furniture, such as the walls, the windows, the trim, the carpet drapes and other finishes makes an un-obvious difference.

If you don’t have awesome features, with our solutions, the finishes would be specified, we might suggest decorative items to cover them up, but understand that Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware and the others have some beautiful homes to shoot their catalogs in.

Without those gorgeous wood sash double hung windows, you’d need to upgrade if you’re decorating a 70’s rancher and you want the full look!

An example of built ins one might find is this wine rack.


There is a fireplace in this post which needed something to elevate it to a baseline where it could be decorated. It was (is) a simple plaster façade that was painted yellowish beige (!).

To make it look more authentic, a coat of Ralph Lauren sand infused River Rock specialty finish paint was added, giving it a more stone-like texture appearance quality.

Size Matters

Sizes tend to the larger side, even for smaller areas such as a breakfast nook. Size matters for both the room as well as the accessories. And scale too. The proper ‘large’ items fit well in a larger room. Often what falls short when the DIY decorator attempts a magazine look a like is the scale of the decorative items.

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