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Originally published Friday, April 27, 2012 at 8:02 PM

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5 tips to add 'wow' factor to your rooms

Unless you're building a new home or remodeling your existing home, you may not be able to add architectural elements, but you can use your creativity to create drama by mimicking a look using different means.

Scripps Howard News Service

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Infuse interior spaces with star quality by adding some kind of statement piece, like a unique architectural element, head-turning furniture or a pop of unexpected color. By working in just one "wow!" feature, you can transform your room and transfix your guests. Try one of these five ideas.

1. Hang a huge piece of artwork

Artwork has the magical power to add lots of drama and personality to a room. So when you fill a wall with a really, really big piece of killer art, the impact is stupendous. There is something incredibly powerful about using an entire wall to spotlight one wonderfully oversize piece.

2. Place a bulky cabinet in an unexpected spot

Large cabinets pack lots of punch and elevate the look of any room. Whether it's a large bookcase in your study, an antique armoire in your bedroom or a cabinet in your kitchen, these big beauties steal the show. While built-in cabinetry is a must in your kitchen, the new trend is to also add a contrasting piece of furniture to use for storage and display.

3. Work in an architectural accent

Long before my friend Anne was able to build her new home, she knew she wanted to add in some architectural accents that would make the rooms really hers. One of her ideas sent me to the moon: barn doors hung in the doorway between her family room and kitchen. Another eye-catching feature Anne added to her house plans was rustic beams that crosshatch the ceiling of her family room.

Unless you're building a new home or remodeling your existing home, you may not be able to add architectural elements like these, but you can use your creativity to create drama by mimicking the look using different means.

For instance, if you want to define a large doorway, like Anne did with her barn doors, place big, bulky floor screens on either side of the doorway.

4. Add a piece of eye-catching furniture

You wouldn't want your entire home filled with statement furniture, but a piece here and there will keep interior spaces lively. Anne decided to give her bed star quality by crowning it with a statement-piece headboard — two inexpensive painted wood panels hanging above the top of her bed!

5. Try a pop of color

Everyone has a different color quotient. Some people want their spaces filled with bold, beautiful color. Others prefer a quieter, more muted palette. No matter where you fall, consider adding a new pop of color to your space. I guarantee it will turn heads.

I recently got the paintbrush out and did a little color redo in my home. I was at a boutique hotel in Chicago that had painted the interior doors black, creating a wonderful contrast to the rest of the interior woodwork, which was painted cream. I had an aha! moment and decided to try the same trick at home.

I've been itching to replace my lackluster interior doors with six-paneled mahogany doors. But when I got the bid from the contractor, I was floored. So, for the price of a gallon of glossy black paint, I've tricked up a few of my doors.

The column has been adapted from Mary Carol Garrity's blog at She can be reached at

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