March 15, 2019 § 2 Comments
I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on mirrors. (Sorry, had to to that.) I love mirrors in decorating. Not only do they bring much needed natural light into a dark room, but they create an illusion of space and even act as art if hung in groupings on a focal wall or along a stairwell.
But sometimes a mirror just doesn’t work. Here are a few tips for placing mirrors that might help you better appreciate them in your home.
- Avoid reflecting light back out the front door.
This is feng shui (it is not good to reflect the chi back out the front door), but it does make decorating sense. Putting a mirror at the front entry so you see yourself entering the home misses the opportunity to see and greet your guests with a beautiful piece of art instead. Just move the mirror to another wall in the entry and you will still add light to the space.
- Make sure the mirror reflects something positive.
Nobody wants to see your kitchen sink full of dishes reflected in the living room mirror. Make sure you place the mirror where it reflects a window or art on another wall in the room.
- Hang mirror over the fireplace instead of tilting it on the mantel.
What happens when you tilt a mirror on the mantel is that it most likely will reflect your ceiling and that’s it. If you hang the mirror, it will reflect the rest of the room and will double the space. Also, just an aside… if you are staging your home to sell, a mirror in the living room is good luck because potential home buyers who see themselves in the home tend to buy it (not a scientific fact, but it has worked so far!).
- Hang bathroom mirror so you can see into it.
It’s okay to let the mirror overhang the bead board (or backsplash tile) as long as you and others can see into the mirror while standing in front of the sink. Although visually, you might be tempted to hang the mirror clearly on the drywall (above the trim work in this photo), in a bathroom, form follows function.
- Make art with groupings of mirrors.
Organizing and hanging your mirrors either by matching shapes or frames (or both as above) or creating a random display of your mirror collection creates a unique focal point on the wall. Especially fun in a bedroom, stairwell or hallway that needs additional light but where the function of each mirror is secondary to its artistic arrangement.
Place your mirrors strategically to maximize their impact on the room. And for hanging really heavy mirrors, make sure you find at least one wall stud to secure the mirror onto the wall.
Mirror mirror on the wall. Be the smartest mirror-hanger of all!
December 12, 2017 § 3 Comments
Thank goodness we’re finally moving away from gray, gray, and even more gray. (If you just repainted from Linen White to Silver Shadow, don’t panic though — it will be okay!) As we move into a new neutral trend (yes, Black), here’s some good advice. Don’t jump on it.
What sometimes happens with trends is that people go overboard with them. They think, aha Gray Trend, I must do everything gray! I have been in so many houses that are all gray on the interior. But in New England, where it’s gray much of the time anyway, those interiors are looking pretty dreary.
The goal should NOT be to create a room that looks like it was decorated in a particular period. The goal should be to create a room that is, as the color maven Maria Killam is known to say, “Classic and Timeless.” http://www.mariakillam.com/whats-next-grey-trend/
How do you achieve that? By mixing stuff up. Here are three basic rules:
- Keep the walls a light neutral. There are wonderful shades of whites out there, and most of them don’t read like spackling paste so don’t be afraid to go light. You won’t have to repaint every couple of years if that trendy color you love goes stale. Compromise? Paint only one wall, the focal wall, that trendy color.
- Keep the large, expensive furniture pieces, like the sofa, plain (remember plaid? No. Go with no pattern or just a texture so that the sofa stays timeless. Color is okay, but make sure you love it!) If you have a well-made sofa that you do not want to replace, you can opt for a slipcover (custom is best — but regardless, make sure the cushions have individual covers.)
- THEN mix things up. Add color in the rug, pillows, art, accessories, and other decorative and personal stuff of life that will make your room feel like it’s yours and not a designer’s.
And of course, let me mention the elephant in the room: inherited pieces. Don’t be afraid to mix your styles to incorporate family heirlooms. You will either have an objet d’art with a story behind it or a cozy room with treasures that remind you of home. Either way, do not be a slave to a particular decorating style just because an inherited piece “doesn’t go.” Embrace it!
Now let’s amp up the color for 2018, shall we?!
May 2, 2017 § 1 Comment
Gray has been the wall color of choice for public spaces in the home for a number of years now, and don’t get me wrong, gray is a wonderful neutral to replace the beiges of the previous trend. But you have to admit, gray is not for everybody. And if you live in a dark home with small windows and low ceilings, painting the walls gray might have been a real downer.
Never fear! Color to the rescue! Here are a few ways to make sure your gray room escapes the wrath of a couple of gallons of primer and a roller:
-Make all trim white. That is the best way to keep the gray clear and crisp.
-Make the ceiling bright ultra white. That will reflect the maximum amount of light back into the room.
-Add bright clear color. Bedding, accessories, a rug, and accent furniture (for example, as we see above in the room from Williams Sonoma Home) will help the gray perform its duty as a neutral backdrop instead of becoming the storm cloud in the room.
–Add sparkle. Whether it’s a silver lamp, a crystal chandelier, or some new gold in a brass picture frame, adding metal and glass will provide the finishing touch to the room. Reflective finishes bounce light — like jewelry!
So if your gray walls are bringing you down, don’t despair. Add Color. (You knew I’d say that.)
January 5, 2017 § Leave a comment
The New Year creates an opportunity for change. Whether it’s a pledge to drop a few pounds, move the body more, or clear out the clutter, January is Change Month. And around here, I am ready to change color.
Not that I wasn’t crazy for color before, but fresh, clear color screams enthusiasm, optimism, and hope for great things. My nuanced, subtle, neutral palette looks dreary and tired. It is ready for a color boost to the happy side.
What does that mean for my decorating aesthetic? Not repainting my entire house and dragging all the furniture to Goodwill. Rather, a move to throw in a few color “punches” by switching out pillows on the sofa and adding some art and accessories. The hammocks are such an inspiration (from our family trek to New Orleans over the holidays). And check out this orange Moroccan pouf my sister gave me for my birthday. I adore the color orange because it’s always a happy color — she knows that.
So if you are looking for a jolt of positivity in your life this January of 2017, try adding color and see if it helps your outlook on life. (Good coffee will help too!) Have a Colorful New Year, my friends!
May 13, 2016 § 2 Comments
When I was in college, back in the style-challenged ’70s, my response to “What’s your favorite color?” was always “blueANDgreen.” They came as a set for me, and even the vintage floral fabrics of that decade still have a nostalgic, times-were-great-back-then appeal.
So I am thrilled to see the combination back around, especially for the summer. Talk about bringing the outside in… is there anything more appealing than the yellow-green shades of Hosta together with the cool watery turquoise blues? The combo works for me.
So as I do every year at this time, I put away all my hot-looking accessories including my red and cream striped window treatments, art with spicey oranges and reds, and all the red pillows on the sofa, and I replace them with the cool-palette colors that remind me of summers at the lake and carefree times. Summer is here!
(Living room photo: Bassett Furniture)
March 17, 2016 § Leave a comment
St. Patrick’s Day brings us to thoughts of green. Whether it’s kelly green or any of the variations thereof, green is a versatile, natural hue that brings life and comfort to any room. It is particularly nice in rooms where you spend time revitalizing your mind and body.
Waking up in a green room warms a cold, white, snowy day and cools a hot, humid summer morning. It can bring the color of lush plants and trees to a city skyline view. And it can calm an agitated, overextended lifestyle at the end of another hectic day.
Green can be either warm (yellow-green) or cool (blue-green), and both pair beautifully with white. Coordinating accent colors can add energy (the complementary reds and pinks, opposites to green on the color wheel) or quiet blending (the analogous yellows and blues on either side of green on the color wheel).
I highly recommend adding green, even a mixture of greens, to your home to quiet and soothe your soul. Wherever you need a few moments of ahhhhhhh.
Paint colors above: Top left to right: Waterscape SW 6470, Topiary Tint SW 6449, Honeydew SW 6428, Breaktime SW 6463. Bottom left to right: BM Guilford Green HC-116, Palisades Park BM 439, High Park BM 467, Dartsmouth Green BM 691.
February 18, 2016 § Leave a comment
One glance at Taylor Swift’s Grammy red carpet ensemble and I was inspired. What a great color combo! Reminiscent of gorgeous summer sunsets and gardens of spring tulips, hot pink and vibrant coral scream happiness and passion. No shyness there. That’s for sure.
You can bring those colors into your home. Here’s how:
–Add plenty of white. Nothing brings out the true color of anything better than white. That’s why adding white flowers to a garden landscape makes the color in the garden “pop” (as we say).
–Mix colors of the same Hue (color) Value (relative lightness or darkness). They will blend better together without one overtaking the other.
–Add plenty of neutral texture. Sisal rugs, nubby neutral chenille pillows, and natural (neutral) linen-like window panels will balance the powerful color statement in the room and cool the temperature down a bit.
–Go part-way in. To make a major color statement without a huge commitment, stay completely neutral in the paint, furniture, rugs, and windows and add color with your accessories: art, pillows, lamp bases, and other accessories.
Look for other great color combos in fashion and nature. Find what you love!
Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP./ Published: 02/16/2016 9:24:16. Pillow: Pottery Barn.
January 19, 2016 § Leave a comment
What does your room say about you? Designer Jeffery Bilhuber (House Beautiful, Feb 2016) infused a boatload of personality and let us know a few other things as well. What this room shouts to me:
- Forget about symmetry. Mismatched end tables are way more interesting than a set.
- Go ahead and mix woods. We acquire furniture from our parents, we find treasures at a flea market, and sometimes pieces have sentimental value. Use them — even if they don’t “match” your decor.
- Add your favorite color to the room. And if you don’t have a favorite, use several. If you keep the colors at the same “hue value” (lightness or darkness of a color), they mix well together.
- Function is important. Don’t forget that you need to set your wine glass down.
- Forget matchy-matchy. This designer has taken that declaration over the top by using two different window shade colors. Bold and impetuous design choice there, but again, the room screams,”I want to be different.” And I applaud that.
- Let color speak in the room by creating a neutral backdrop from which the color can “pop.” Here, the light gray walls and the neutral woven rug give the eye a rest.
- Flowers and the little accessory details finish the room. Without them the room can look cold and staged (too many, of course, and you have a clutter zone).
- Texture matters. That sofa looks so soft. Adding warmth and texture with pillows can warm up anything, even leather.
Bottom line: You’ve heard this before, but it’s worth repeating. Don’t just follow the design trends. Let your room reflect who you are and what you love.
December 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
Are you and your significant other on the same page when it comes to the “stuff” of life around the house? The newspapers, magazines, mail, books, TV clickers, recycling cords and the like? Are you one to snatch the Sports Page right out of his or her hands as you make your daily pilgrimage to the recycling bin? Or are you content to let paper pile up on the coffee table until you get around to reading it? If you both treat life’s eternal clutter the same way… then congratulations. At least you don’t fight about it. But what if you are mismatched? Here are some ideas:
1. Make a deal to keep the main public space (maybe the living room) clear and ready for guests who pop in. At the end of each day, spend 5 minutes picking stuff up and putting it away. If you can only manage one room of the house, then that’s okay.
2. Contain clutter with baskets and bins. Little stuff on counters and tables may drive you crazy, but your partner needs to know where to find that restaurant receipt from last weekend. Make an agreement that things left on the kitchen counter can be found in a certain basket or bin by the recharging station.
3. Which brings me to the Recharging Station. Have one. That way you can find your phone when you are ready to leave for the day and more importantly, you can contain cords and loose devices to one particular spot instead of draping them out of every outlet. Rescue the TV clickers from under the cushions and keep them in a dedicated clicker basket.
4. And speaking of baskets and bins (see #2 above), invest in them. Closets, garages, spare bedrooms, offices, and every other clutter-prone area will benefit visually from containing the loose items in baskets rather than letting loose items and papers pile up. Both partners win. One gets to keep the stuff. The other sees some semblance of organization and unity.
5. If you are the neat one of the pair, give your partner space to mess up. For people who need everything out in full view instead of behind cupboard doors, your neatnik nagging is undoubtedly really annoying. Not everybody can be as organized as you. Give your spouse a space that he or she can call home and not be under constant pressure to pick stuff up.
6. If you are the messy one, appreciate how clutter can affect your partner’s mood and even creativity. Make an occasional attempt to go through piles and purge — even if you just move piles from one area to another. Any free space will encourage marital bliss.
7. Most importantly, take a chill pill. Fighting over “stuff” is pretty silly in the grand scheme of things.
Hope this helps.