When Bad Decorating Happens to Good People

As an Interior Designer people are always asking me if I mentally redesign homes I visit, even when I am not working.  Of course, the answer is yes.  I just can’t help it. There is always great potential in all the homes I visit, and many frankly are just perfect.  However, when things aren’t working it is because of one of these common mistakes:

  1.  Furniture pushed up to the walls.  Better to arrange furniture in conversational groupings.

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2.  Rugs too small.  Better to have large scale rugs that anchor conversation.

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3.  Lamps too small. Lighting should be layered, with the ability to dim and brighten, but attention to scale is a must.

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Lamp heights too different. Ideally the base of the shade should be at eye level for reading.  Do layer your lighting. Every room should have more than one light source. Dimmers are an easy install and give a lot of flexibility. Have several lamps providing task and ambient lighting.

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4.  Art work and mirrors too high. The ideal center of an art piece or painting should be 54 inches from the floor.  If you are hanging a grouping the center of the group should be at the 54″ mark.

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5.  Seat heights too different. Best is to keep the range of seating to a difference of two to three inches.

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6.  Occasional tables too high or too low in relation to height of chairs, sofas, and beds. A practical consideration. Similar heights allow for easy access with cups and glasses.

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7.  Window treatments too long/short.   Just like pants, they need to be the correct length.

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8.  Absence of focal point. Essential for drawing the eye into space.

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9.  Lack of visual flow from room to room. Ideally the room colors should compliment one another. Some think of this as a cross pollination type idea. For example, red room with green accents and a green room with red accents.

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Congratulations!  Follow these guidelines and your rooms will be perfect!

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Colors for 2017

Benjamin Moore and Pantone both recently announced their picks for color of the year.  Benjamin Moore’s pick is “Shadow”: deep and moody from the purple family.  Pantone’s pick is “Greenery”: lively and rich from the green (duh) family.  How can this be you may ask? Two colors of the year?   Well, while different, they do have some similarities.   Both are beautiful jewel tones.  Just think of amethyst and emerald! They work beautifully together.

Let’s look at Shadow:

Amethyst, aubergine, shadow,  all beautiful soft muted colors! I love to use them all on interior walls and accents.  As a matter of fact I used a very similar aubergine for a historic show house a few years back:

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It is a timeless color that can be historic or contemporary.  From a design perspective it’s a great backdrop for furniture and accessories.  Much the same way jewelery stores will use dark backdrops to display gems to their best advantage, this wonderful jewel tone does the same for your interiors.

Let’s look at “Greenery”.  Fresh as newly cut grass, full of promise.  Here is what Pantone has to say:

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“Greenery”, also a beautiful jewel tone, is reminiscent of emerald, peridot, and tourmaline.  A timeless and elegant look:


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These 2017 colors are absolutely wonderful and will go the design distance.  Use them boldly and with confidence!