Designers are a talkative, informative, opinionated bunch. And, like politicians, often have very strongly held, conflicting opinions. Continuing my collection of random thoughts, tips, inspirations, quirky comments from yesterday, I offer a few more. Do you agree or disagree? Which one pushes your buttons?
Black and white photographs help make a room feel contemporary. (Keep the frames simple and unornamented with wide mats for the best impact.)
Plenty of white trim will make any room look more modern.
Contemporary art in a traditional room always brings it up to date.
Turning a 70′s (or whatever era) high-rise condo into an English drawing room is silly. (The point here is that you should work somewhat within the style framework of your architecture. While not a hard and fast rule, it definitely makes a home feel more united if the styles are compatible.)
This room took it’s cue from the traditional fireplace mantel, wainscoting and moldings. The furnishings reinforce the traditional framework established by the architecture.
Place something luxurious next to something organic. (Again, contrast. Slinky silk next to distressed wood, jute rug on a polished wood floor……)
More on Accessories
Good accessories can make a humble space exciting – they’re like a good pair of shoes. (Always buy the best quality you can afford!)
No more than 8-9 pieces of a collection should be displayed on a table at any one time. Keep the others in a closet and recycle them periodically. (In addition to keeping your home from looking too cluttered, it gives you the opportunity to freshen your rooms by ‘shopping’ your own home. Now that’s affordable!)
Gather collections of small objects in a section of a large bookcase and integrate them with the books. (See my bookcase decorating tutorial here.)
Collections are an expression of who you truly are, not a decorator’s fantasy of who you are. (Showcase YOUR interests, not just some random accessory picked up at a thrift store. Have each piece tell a story.)
Most people over accessorize in an attempt to make their houses look “finished”. Careful! (If, like me, you can’t seem to stop buying accessories, remind yourself that they don’t all have to be on display at the same time. It’s fun to rotate them – it makes a room feel new and different.)
Mix contemporary art with antiques. (This is a variation on a theme. It’s about contrast and contrast doesn’t have to be about color (like black and white) but is just as effective when combining textures or styles. Contrast creates energy and interest.)
A mirrored tray (or tile) under a table centerpiece adds depth and catches light. (Candles and crystal sparkle, so add a couple of inexpensive mirror tiles from your local craft store – especially for the holidays.)
General Decorating Tips
Splurge on the big ideas – ideas are priceless. Cut costs on the minutiae.
Rich and poor materials should be used together. (Shop thrift stores for that fabulous table or hutch full of character or maybe a very retro lamp. Use the thrift finds side by side with you best china or expensive Oriental rug – both items look better.)
One thing of great quality lends its quality to more modest pieces. (Another designer’s take on the same idea as above.)
Avoid too much symmetry. (I think this is great advice. Symmetry provides formality and a great structure, but it’s fun to break those rules and introduce a little off-balance in your rooms. Shake it up. Break the mold. Use just a touch of asymmetry now and then.)
To instantly update a room, change all lampshades to over scaled paper drums.
The best interiors don’t look as if they were done all at once. (In other words, don’t make it obvious that you bought all your pieces for a room at the same time. You achieve this by mixing, not matching.)
Use lots of pattern or almost none. (Which is in your comfort zone?)
Jumping on trends is a pathetic mistake. (Pathetic may be a bit strong, but following trendy colors or styles just for the sake of following is often a mistake. If you love the look/color, then go for it – just remember it will be in your home for years, so spend your money wisely. Often classic pieces are good to shape the core of your space, then buy the less expensive supporting pieces in the trendy style.)
Curtains with double layers of sheers (silk preferred by this designer) create a suble moire’ effect that’s simple and beautiful.
Custom trim detail gives a sophisticated look to curtains made of less expensive fabric. (The ‘custom’ trim can be applied by you to standard store bought drapes. Pick up a braid, a fringe, beaded edging….whatever will add the pizzazz you need. Break out your sewing machine and straight sew the trim on, or use a glue gun or hand stitch with big invisible stitches.)
Let in as much natural light as possible. (Always a good idea, especially here in the northwest. If you live where the sun is more harsh (the southwest!), protect your wood floors and upholstered pieces by closing shades/blinds during the brightest part of the day.)
If you want more info about window treatments, Cindy wrote a very informative series that starts here.
Slide and overlap flat panels of fabric, both sheer and opaque, on a wall of windows. (This could be an interesting textural treatment, or by using two similar colors (2 shades of blue) it could have a shimmery, watery effect.)
Fabrics should be the focus of curtains – use thin rods and small rings. (I don’t agree with this statement. I think rods should be in proportion to the size of the window. If you have an 8-10′ expanse of windows and hang curtains from a small 1″ round rod, it will look ridiculous spanning that length. Plain rods, even if large, will not overwhelm a fabric. Choose fabric weight and rod size appropriate to the window sizes.)
What’s Your Favorite?
Over the last couple days I’ve shared 50 random home decorating tips. Which ones were your favorites? Which resonated with you? Are you going to change something about your home or decorating after reading this? Drop us a line and comment on these ideas or offer your own favorite tried-and-true tip.