Some simple design steps for a sleeker style in your home

Here are some of Trey Russell's strategies for imparting a pared-down, decidedly unfussy sense of sophistication:


To showcase his collection of black-and-white photographs in the apartment's hallway, Russell not only added four 3-foot-long picture rails from Pottery Barn but also stood photographs on the floor, leaned against the wall. "It's like a mini-gallery," he says. "I can move pictures around easily without wrecking the walls."

Quality paint color

Paint is one of the cheapest ways to change the look of your apartment or home — and one of the hardest things to get right. Go for the highest quality paint — Donald Kaufman or Farrow & Ball. They create complex pigments the light will play off of all day long. Pros recommend that you add 50 percent white to create a tint of your wall color for the ceiling. It will make the room feel bigger and keep you from feeling claustrophobic."

Closet drapes, no doors

"If you have a small room, consider taking out the closet's doors and replacing them with a handsome drapery on rings that slide along a track. I used a light-gray Belgian linen, and the drapery panels made the room look so much softer. It also gave me more room. Let friends think you have a drop-dead ocean view behind them. Nobody will know it's a closet unless you tell them."

Simple floral art

"I like to cut stems off flowers and just float the heads. Dahlias are particularly spectacular that way."

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