B L O G
beautifying, loving, organizing & good things
for your home & life
for your home & life
Most people think they have to push the furniture up against the walls. We often talk about it on the radio show – my rule is “No Wallflowers”. Pull the furniture away from the walls, so you can have an easy conversation with others in the room. Unless you are square dancing in the middle of the room, you can explore all sorts of options.
For example, this picture demonstrates how placing your sofas (or sofa / loveseat) perpendicular to the focal point can look fabulous. (In this case the focal point is the fireplace). How easy is that! Now everyone seated can have an easy conversation with everyone else in the room.
This is a perfect arrangement for a large family, or for people who entertain.
The Toll Brothers luxury builders know this trick. Notice how the seating is all arranged to the focal point.
When staging someone’s home for sale this is the trick I use all the time. I want to call attention to the home’s feature – whether it’s the view or the fireplace, a gorgeous piece of art or whatever…. And I’ve had clients say “we didn’t know the house could look this good! maybe we don’t have to move after all”. What’s the difference? You’re using what you already own, and simply rearranging for better flow and functionality.
In my recent staging workshop, one of the students brought me a picture of her family room. She had her sofa and loveseat perpendicular to the fireplace. The arrangement was open and inviting. I was so proud of her! And it turns out her mother had taken my Be Your Own Designer workshop earlier in the year, and had shared this tip with her. A family that decorates together, stays together, I say.
And now YOU know this tip. No wallflowers. Rearrange the furniture to highlight your room's best feature.
... and how to correct them.
25. Using toilet rugs. Those ones that wrap around the toilet? Sorry, but they're not the best. FIX: It is better to use an area rug in the bath outside the shower or tub. Ahhh, that's better.
24. Too many photos displayed. Too much of a good thing can be too much. It's like wearing every single scarf, necklace and accessory all at the same time! FIX: display less, and rotate them every month. You’ll see them with new eyes and appreciate what is currently displayed.
23. Ignoring the foyer. FIX: The foyer should entice people to see the rest of the house. This introduces the theme of the entire home’s décor. Welcome your visitors with a little vignette of something charming.
22. Undressed cables. This relates to the mess of spaghetti that occurs with multiple TV and computer cables. FIX: Hide the unsightly cables and cords along the furniture legs wherever possible, and through cable management tools available at Ikea or with 3M Command Hooks (pictured).
21. Out of place theme rooms. For example, having a beach-side theme in a high desert home can feel out of place. It’s better to display shells in a basket, than designing an entire room that looks as if should be in Hawaii. (On that note, a trip to Hawaii sounds lovely right about now....)
20. Outdated cabinet hardware. For example, 1970’s cabinet hardware in the kitchen instead of up-to-date knobs. This is an easy way to update a kitchen for very little money. Try Amazon.
19. Lop-sided furniture arrangements. This relates to scale – having all heavy pieces on one side of the room makes it feel out of balance. Create flow so the eye travels up and down, around the room.
18. Keeping something you hate. What do you do with that gift or inherited piece that just is not you? Only live with what you love! FIX: Bless the unloved object sell it or donate it to your favorite worthy cause. (And no guilt.... your relationships are based on love, not things!)
17. Too formal. Is your living space is so formal that no one wants to enter? FIX: loosen up your décor a little. Make every room inviting and comfortable. Live in your living room! What a concept.
16. Uncomfortable dining chairs. Your chairs should be so comfortable that someone would be fine spending the rest of the evening sitting in them. FIX: Test the dining chairs before purchasing with the 'tush test'. To be really 'designer-like', switch up the styles (see #14).
15. Lack of a traffic pattern. Here’s a hint – if you have a party and people always rearrange certain pieces, they’re helping you create a better flow. FIX: rearrange and discover how much better your room can feel.
14. Everything is matchy - matchy. Do not feel obligated to purchase matching bedroom suites, all matching living room suites or even matching dining suites for that matter! FIX: Well-designed rooms have a mix of furniture. If you already have a matching set, break it up. Move a living room side table into the bedroom as a nightstand, and vice versa. Isn't that fun? A whole new look for $0.
13. Following fads to a fault. FIX: If you like a particular fad, acknowledge the fad in a small accessory (i.e. throw pillow) or a paint color to invigorate your room. Don’t go overboard and buy everything new, chasing the latest trend. It's easy to repaint, or replace a small pillow when the trend passes. And it will pass.
12. Furniture that doesn’t fit. Measure, measure, measure before buying new furniture. Make sure it is proportional to the space. Learn from my own mistakes. Measure twice, buy once.
11. Too many patterns. Use Alana’s trick to mix the fabrics for fool-proof, pulled-together rooms. Big print... little print... geometric... stripe and a texture. Works every time.
10. Floating rugs. Small rugs should not float by themselves in the middle of the room. FIX: Anchor the furniture grouping with a larger size rug, with each piece of furniture having at least the front legs on the rug. When in doubt, go a little bigger than you think necessary. You’ll be glad you did.
9. Improper lighting. A common problem is not enough reading lights and only relying on overhead lighting. FIX: Incorporate all three levels of lighting: ambient, task and accent.
8. Frames hung too high. Artwork should be hung at your eye level. Are you a different height than your sweetie? Hang the artwork halfway between your eye level and his eye level. Problem solved.
7. Tacky couch covers. If you need a slipcover, get one tailor made for your piece. It's worth every penny.
6. Pushed back furniture. Like awkward pre-teens at a dance, hugging the walls hoping to join the fun, your furniture does not belong against the walls either. FIX: Bring the furniture into the middle of the room and create conversational clusters. So much more interesting and inviting. Whether your room is small or massive, pull the furniture in from the walls. No wallflowers allowed.
5. Too many pillows. Yes, we love pillows but let’s be sensible too. We have to sit on the sofa! After years of a plethora of pillows, I finally recognized too much is well, just too much. FIX: Exercise restraint, ladies. (Yes, ladies. Every time we entertained, the men would remove my sofa's extra pillows. It was a hint.) Additionally, if you take 30 minutes to remove your bed's pillow before retiring, it's a hint that you need to edit as well. Less is more. I can't believe I'm finally admitting that.
4. Fear of color. Paint is the least expensive way to dramatically transform any room. It’s just paint! Go ahead – try some color!
3. Knick-knack overload on tables, and in rooms. FIX: Remember, it’s easy if it’s odd – rule of 3, 5, or 7 on a table. Group like with like and you'll appreciate your treasures. Rotate the displayed treasures every month and it'll always feel fresh.
2. Ignoring windows. Highlight your windows, and consider drama drapes. While we're talking windows, wash them, and let there be light.
1. Fake flowers and plants. Still have silk plants or plastic fruit? (Yes, I have seen them in your homes.) FIX: Use real plants, or a beautiful bowl of fresh fruit instead. Every room can benefit from a touch of organic (geode, woven basket, twigs in a vase, etc.). Give your rooms some life…. Use the real thing wherever possible. Mother Nature's bounty is the best interior accessory.
No matter your "mistake", it's easily correctable. Happy Decorating!