April 14, 2015

The ABC's of Decorating

No matter what your style is, there are some basic things that can help you make your home look and feel beautiful!  I don't have a degree in Interior Design but after years of reading books and magazines and studying what works, I've learned some basics.

Here are a few good places to start -

Your room needs to have:
-a functional lay-out
-a balance of height
-good scale
-a balance of visual weight
-good lighting
-a focal point

The lay-out of your room should be functional. You want to have clear walk-ways in your room.  But that doesn't mean that you should necessarily have your furniture pushed up against your walls. Pulling your furniture to the middle of your room and centering it around a focal point (fireplace or entertainment center) gives your room an inviting feel and can even make a room feel larger.

You want to have your seating close enough together for conversation.  If you're having a get-together and you've arranged your room more for watching TV, do a quick edit so that your seating focuses more towards the center of the room and lends itself to conversation more than watching TV.

An area rug anchors a room.  Furniture can look like it's floating until it's anchored with a rug - even over carpet - and it defines your seating area.   In my room, the two chairs and table by the window feel like they're separate from the seating area because of the rug.  If I pulled my rug over to them, it would visually expand the seating area.

Your area rug needs to be big enough so that your couch and chairs are at least partially on it.  Area rugs can really be expensive but I've always regretted when I bought the smaller rug to save money.

You also want to have a balance of color in your room.  I have blue all around my room because of my shutters but I also want to balance out the white of the chairs and sofa with the blue.  A chair in an accent color is a perfect way to bring balance.  Throw pillows on the couch bring the color all around the room.

You can also spread your color around the room with accessories.  Books, flowers, plants, pillows, throws and candles all make a room feel lived in and inviting.  If you don't have fresh flowers and don't like maintaining plants, a bowl of fresh fruit can add some color and life to your room.

To feel comfortable a room needs to have a balance of height.  The armoire on the right of the fireplace has great scale for this room.  It's very large and gives the room a grand feel.  I've balanced the darkness of the armoire with the mirror over the fireplace and I recently moved my antique china cabinet back on the left of the fireplace.  The clock was too small and I like it better in our entry way. It's more appropriate in size and function for that space.

It would look odd to have a low piece of furniture where the china cabinet is. If that's all I had, I would add the largest piece of art I had above it to balance the size of the armoire. My china cabinet is still smaller than the armoire.  You can add 'size' by hanging a picture above it or adding baskets or vases.

When I bought our couch, I knew the window behind it was 10' long.  So I bought an 8' couch.  Our chairs are also big.  Small chairs would look out of place in this room.

If you have a small room, you can make it seem larger by using larger pieces, as long as they fit, and by having fewer pieces in the room.  I prefer large chunky pieces of furniture that you can sink into.

What has helped me, especially since I started blogging, is to take a picture of the room.  It has really surprised me how differently a room can look in pictures and that some things stick out like a sore thumb when photographed.  So take a picture of your room and look at it with a critical eye.  Keep editing until it feels balanced.

Dark pieces have more visual weight than light pieces.  If I were to paint my armoire a light color, it would visually recede into the wall.  It would lose a lot of its 'weight.'  So you want to balance your dark pieces around your room to bring a balance.

Even if you're in love with a very light color scheme, or all white, you need to have some things in your room that are dark. This adds depth and dimension. Otherwise, it feels like the room is floating. Something dark anchors the room. I love the look of dark hardwood floors in a white room.

I have a lamp at every seating place.  My husband and I read a lot and good lighting is key.

You also need to have a place to set a drink at every seat. Your guests will always feel more comfortable when there's an obvious place to set their glass.

There are so many beautiful styles that I love.  If I had several houses, I'd have each one decorated differently and I think the style of your house should dictate your decorating to a certain extent.

The reason I loved our house when we bought it is I felt it could lend itself to French Country although I had to use my imagination because it had 80's fixtures and details.  If you're buying a house, keep that in mind when you're choosing. Farmhouse style is hard to pull off in a New York penthouse!  ;)

I saved pictures for many years of rooms I loved.  I've finally thrown them all away since being on Pinterest.  But if you start pinning pictures you love, you'll start to see a pattern.  It's been amazing to me how different our house feels since I changed my wall color from yellows to blue and changed from patterns to solids.  It's like the air in the house feels different.

And that's another thing you should consider.  Do you want a stimulating feeling in your room or a peaceful feeling?  Maybe you want your home office to stimulate your thoughts and keep you awake. Go with reds and yellows and oranges.  Or add accents of those colors.

In your bedroom, you may want to stay away from those colors and choose colors that bring relaxation - blues, greens, whites.  Color has a very strong effect on our emotions and energy.  (I've always heard you should paint your guest room yellow.  People can only take sleeping there about three days!) ha!

These are tips that can help your room feel balanced and comfortable no matter what style you choose.  Then have fun adding your personal mementos and souvenirs - things that express your personality and heart. Because when it's all said and done that's what makes a house ~ a home.

love and blessings~

"Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness," Psalms 33:18 -

I'm linking up with these parties:
Cedar Hill Farmhouse -The Scoop
A Stroll Thru Life -Inspire Me Tuesday


  1. Hi Lynda! I just recently found your blog and I must say your home is STUNNING! I have been going through your past posts and want to redo every room in my home now. Beautiful....just beautiful. Sincerely, Jeannette

    1. Thank you so much, Jeannette! You made my day! :)