One of the benefits of moving is that it forces you to go through your stuff – either to pack or unpack it – and rediscover things you’d forgotten you even had. Over the years I’ve gathered quotes and snippets of wisdom from articles, designers, books, friends….wherever I can and as I unpacked I came across this great compilation of designer info. There are some real gems here to serve as reminders as you work to make your home beautiful. Find the ones that speak to you and “make it work” as Tim Gunn would say.
Designer Thoughts and Insights
Small Room Advice:
Small rooms look taller if you hang curtains from ceiling to floor – and don’t forget vertical mirrors and tall floor lamps. (The idea here is to reinforce the vertical elements to “raise” the ceiling.)
To make a small space feel grand, try a large Picasso. (Or any large art by a favorite artist. The key is oversized.)
One large table, painting or piece of furniture can make a small space feel grand and more spacious.
Use collections in small spaces or corridors where they make passing through a house an adventure.
To make a small room appear larger, choose upholstery fabrics in light tones and use a variety of materials like wood, leather, wool, silk, metal.
Consider using colors you can’t quite name. (What fun! If it takes several words to describe the color, it must be yummy, i.e. tan with a little golden yellow undertone but green in some lights.)
A little bit of apple green or orange with a neutral palette keeps things exciting. (Or whatever the current ‘hot’ accessory color is.)
Rugs determine the color scheme.
Fear of color is the number one decorating mistake. (I’m not sure I’d call it a mistake, but certainly fear of color keeps many people from realizing their ideal home.)
The charcoal walls in this dining room are brightened by the bold citrus colored stripes on the furniture. And if you look through the doorway, the adjoining room is all in blues – love the range of colors!
Please, no more beige! (A favorite of mine; I’m SO over beige (cream, etc.; the whole tone on tone of neutral!)
Throw in something unexpected, personal or even a dash of the wrong color. (Again, designers try to create spaces that are original, interesting and eye-catching. Sometimes that ‘wrong’ color is just what is needed to draw attention to a specific room element.)
Use a real color on the ceiling to contrast with the walls – NOT white. (Cindy wrote about painting the ceiling here.)
Mixing a hint of metallic paint into wall color will add warmth. (This is a new idea to me and could be fun to try….)
Large scale plaids or stripes mix well with other patterns. (Mixing patterns is a skill, but one that can be learned. Try improving your skill working with small fabric samples or if those are unavailable, work with scrapbooking papers. They’re available in lots of colors and designs so try your hand at mixing and matching with minimal investment in supplies.)
This buffalo plaid pattern can work well in a modern or traditional home depending upon what you pair with it. A narrow stripe or a medium to small swirly, vine like pattern would be a great counterpoint to the large squares.
Accessories and Other Miscellaneous:
Remove 20% of what you think is necessary. (In other words, control your clutter. “Less is more” according to Mies van de Rohe)
Have a balance of upholstered and non-upholstered pieces. Too much of either one isn’t appealing.
Floors and ceilings are the new areas for playing with pattern. (Area rugs or stenciled designs on old wood or concrete floors.)
A room should have a ‘skyline’ with varying heights and shapes and not too much brown wood. (I don’t know about the brown wood part, but the varying heights is absolutely right on. Contrast a low sofa with a tall armoire balanced by a high fireplace mantel. You want the eye to travel up and down around the room.)
Don’t buy everything from one showroom or store. (I’d even go so far as to say ‘Don’t buy everything from one collection’. You want variety and interest not a store’s idea of a room.)
Too much matching is a sign of decorating insecurity.
I love Oriental items in modern interiors and walls of paper bag brown and bitter chocolate.
Dining room lighting should flatter your guests more than your furnishings. (In fact your goal should be to have flattering lighting in every room – that sounds like a good topic for an upcoming series of articles….)
Don’t ever place a clock in the dining room; time is no issue when you entertain. (An excellent idea!)
High base molding makes walls seem taller; it’s similar to wearing high heels. (This is a new notion to me. I’ve always like the look of high baseboards, just haven’t heard it applied in quite this way.)
Use lighting to change the colors of your walls. (Have you noticed how your wall color looks different in sunlight, incandescent and flourescent light? It’s subtle, but each tpye of light emphasizes different tones in the color.)
Tomorrow I’ll have another 25 designer/decorator tips and words of wisdom. As I mentioned, this list evolved over time and from a variety of sources. I didn’t know I was going to have a blog someday and need to credit all these comments, so I didn’t write down who said what or where the comment originated. Consequently I can’t give credit where credit is due and I apologize to any designer whose words are included but not credited. If you read your words or recognize the words of another, drop me a line and I’ll be sure to give credit in an upcoming post.