Arranging Family Photos
Arranging family photos - Having a few photos on every surface in a room makes a room look cluttered and does nothing to highlight the photos. If you group all the family photos in one place it becomes an interesting focal point that will automatically draw your eye. You can use a console table behind a sofa, the top of a grand piano, or line the walls of a stairway or hallway. Another option is to rotate the photos (see tip on Collections). Have all the Christmas photos out at Christmas, graduation photos out in the spring, vacation photos out in the summer, family reunions in the fall, etc.
Very few homes have enough light. There are 4 kinds of lighting, and every room needs a mix of all. Ambient light is indirect light that evenly illuminates the room (overhead lights). Task light spotlights your work area (your desk lamp). Accent light adds depth and dimension while it highlights art and architecture (picture lights). Decorative light adds bling and visual sparkle (chandeliers, small low-wattage lamps).
If you have a favorite collection, but it is multiplying as we speak, try this. Divide your items into 4 equal piles. Only display 1/4 of your collection at a time and rotate with the seasons. You will enjoy your collection more with each seasonal fresh look.
The most effective way to use color in a room is to apply the 60-30-10 rule. 60% dominant color, 30% secondary color and 10% accent color. The dominant unified the room, the secondary is visual interest and the accent finishes with a little pizzazz.
Do you have a small end table, picture frame, box or lamp made of wood that you really want to keep but it needs to be a darker color to work in your room? Use dark brown paste shoe polish, apply with a soft cloth, wipe off and polish with another cloth. (just follow the shoe polish directions). Your wood will look darker and newer.
Use Your Existing Furniture
No budget to replace? Don't fret. Old furniture can get a significant update from a coat of paint. Choose a color that coordinates with the upholstery in your room and paint an old coffee table, bookshelf or end table. Buy a slipcover or use a colorful quilt over a chair with torn fabric. Shop at garage sales, Craig's List or resale shops to find accessories on the cheap, and paint them if needed. Pay for one hour of a decorator's time to get ideas and a game plan.
Matching vs. Coordinating
Having a "matching" dining room set or bedroom set is not necessary and frequently is a little boring. What you need are "coordinating" pieces, which make for a much more interesting room. Consider using antiques, painted or metal pieces in a style similar to an existing bed, then add color and interest with bed linens, art and window treatments. If you have a good dining room table but no chairs, scour garage sales and used furniture stores for chairs. Even if you have 8 different chairs you can coordinate them all with paint and the same seat fabric. I recently saw some traditional chairs painted bright shiny red that were paired with a antique wood table - very cool!
The rule of thumb for hanging artwork with nothing below it is to have the center of the picture 5-5 1/2 feet above the floor. The same applies for a group of pictures - the center of the group should be about 5 feet off the floor. If you have a table, sofa or other furniture below the picture then the picture height will change depending on the height of the furniture. The art should be close enough to the furniture that it doesn't feel lost in space on the wall, with the bottom of the frame about 4-6 inches above the furniture.
What is the correct size chandelier for a room? If your dining room is 15 feet by 15 feet, add the measurements together to come up with 30. The chandelier for this room should ideally be about 30 inches in diameter. A 10 by 12 foot room should have a chandelier about 22-24 inches in diameter. Chandeliers that are too small look lost, and too big can overpower a room.
Bring on bright! The hot colors for Spring 2009 are yellows, oranges, blues, reds, lavender and metallics. Use the brightest colors as bold accents, anchored by paler colors and neutrals. Add a little pizzazz and glimmer with shimmery metallics - lamps, bowls, jars, mirror-topped tables, etc. Watch your spirit brighten along with your home!
One of the recurring issues I see in almost every home is inadequate lighting. The rule of thumb for lighting is 100 watts for every 50 square feet of space. You need to achieve this wattage with a mix of the different kinds of lighting - ambient (all over), task (at your desk or under kitchen cabinets), and accent (the light over a painting). With all the interesting fixtures available now it isn’t hard or expensive to banish the shadows!
If getting organized was one of your New Year’s resolutions, here is a good way to get started. Organizing can be overwhelming, so just take baby steps. Set aside 20 minutes a day and clean out one drawer or cabinet at a time. Within a week or so you will have one room totally organized.