We’re down to the last of our 2010 Decorating Resolutions. Today we dive into details on Resolutions #5 and #6.
I will not be afraid of color.
Earlier this month Terrie started a series on color. Be sure to read it as the posts provide a great overview of decorating with color. The first one helps you better understand the language of color and how color impacts your decorating decisions. Then each following week’s post takes an in-depth look at an individual color, first examining red and the following week delving into blue, with other colors planned for upcoming weeks.
This series take the fear out of color selection and helps you move confidently from safe and bland to beautiful and colorful interiors.
I will work through each decorating layer and continually reference back to my goals, budget and color scheme.
Bouncing from one feature of your room to another and one decorating idea to another results in a hodge podge room. The easiest way to ensure your finished room appears visually cohesive, meets your needs, suits your wants and fits your budget is to build it layer by layer, with constant reference back to your goals, budget and color scheme.
Work through the decorating process in the following order:
1. Walls & Architecture - walls, ceiling and architectural features.
The walls and ceilings are the shell of your space – the wrapping for the room you plan to decorate. These large expanses form a foundation upon which to build the rest of your room. Take a close look at the walls and ceiling – consider the lengths and height. Are they flat or do they angle, protrude or indent? You need to consider how to use them and how to decorate them to achieve your goals.
The architecture defines the shape of the room and its embellishments. Examine the size, finish and placement of the fireplace if there is one. Does the room already have moulding on the floor, walls or ceiling that works with your planned room or do you need to add or remove some? Consider the windows, paying close attention to the size, placement, view and impact on the room. Are there bookcases, shelves, window seats or other built-ins to incorporate? Which features do you want to highlight in your design and which do you want to hide?
Photo by Dean In SF,Flickr
2. Flooring – what’ s underfoot?
Like the walls and ceiling, the floor provides another large expanse in the room. How you want to live in the room, the activities that occur in the space, your preferences and your budget all impact your flooring decision. Choices include:
- Carpet Tiles
- Linoleum and Vinyl
- Peel-and-stick Tiles
3. Furniture – upholstered, partially upholstered and non-upholstered.
Upholstered furniture includes sofas, love seats, chaise, ottomans, chairs and sometimes dining chairs – anything covered with fabric or leather. Non-upholstered furniture (also known as case goods) might include a media cabinet, coffee table, trunk, armoire, lamp table, dresser, night stand, hutch, buffet, side table or dining table – anything without upholstery. As you might guess, partially upholstered is a combination of the upholstered and non-upholstered – like fabric covered chairs with wooden arms and legs.
Photo by Posh Living, LLC, Flickr.
4. Accent Fabrics and Window Treatments – have a little fun.
Accent fabrics are a great place to have fun with pattern, lots of color and wild little touches that would be too much on a big sofa or chair. Use accent fabric in toss pillows, table runners, dining chairs, lamp shades and fabric window treatments like drapery panels, valances, roman blinds, roller blinds and cafe curtains. Window coverings are also available in non-fabric options, including mini-blinds, cellular shades, woven woods and shutters.
5. Lighting – don’t skimp.
Too many homes lack good lighting! One overhead light and a table lamp do not provide enough light for a living room. Almost every room looks better with adequate lighting and should include:
General and Ambient Lighting- general lighting fills the room with a broad plane of light, usually from overhead fixtures like recessed lights, track lights, chandeliers and sconces. Ambient light throws light against a surface such as a wall or ceiling and reflects the light back into the room, like a torchere lamp or recessed lights that “wash” the walls around the perimeter of the room. Tip: put them on dimmers!
Spot Lights or Accent Lights - focus attention on an object such as a piece of art or sculpture with narrowed or intense light.
Task Lights- enable you to easily complete tasks with near and focused light. A table lamp or floor lamp provides good reading or writing light and vanity lights provide light for personal grooming. Under cabinet kitchen lights help with food prep.
Mood Lighting - this light creates a sense of coziness and is purely decorative or mood setting. It might include back lighting objects on a shelf or rope lights on top of a ledge or even dimmed sconces.
Candlelight – candles provide a warm, flickering light for leisurely dining or a bit of romance or elegance on a coffee table. A bonus of candlelight – it’s flattering!
Up Lighting - is a type of ambient lighting and accent lighting in that it shines from the floor up toward the ceiling and highlights an object in the process. Small up lighting floor lights are magical behind plants at night and dramatic behind folding screens and sculptures also.
6. Accessories and Plants - add your unique stamp and a little life.
Just as a necklace and earrings add interest to an outfit, accessories and plants add interest to a room. They are the unique touches that define the room as yours. Accessories become clutter if there are too many of them scattered about the room and by themselves. Consider grouping accessories for impact, paying attention to varying their heights, their color, a theme (sea shells and driftwood with a white candle say “beach”). If an accessory is large it can stand on it’s own – and a few well chosen large items will have more impact than a cluster of tiny pieces.
Photo by SWYOUSEF, Flickr.
Plants add life to a room. A large plant easily fills a dark corner that doesn’t quite work for a piece of furniture. Flowers brighten a table and a bowl of apples or lemons adds color quickly and easily. If you have little light in your home, travel a lot or simply have a brown thumb, silk plants are your answer. The trick, however, is to buy very high quality fake plants and make sure their color is the same as that provided by mother nature (no blue blossoms!).
Pulling It All Together
As you work your way through these 6 decorating steps remember to faithfully check back to your goals, your budget, and your colors so each layer works well into the overall plan. After you put your last accessory in place and step back to peruse the room you’ll be pleased with all you’ve accomplished.
And remember – if you get stuck or have problems along the way, you can always turn to Resolution #7: I won’t be afraid to ask for help. Contact Your Decorating Hotline by commenting on a post or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to help!