I’m happy to inform you of this, but interior designers don’t neccessarily follow a secret rule book when decorating you home. There’s no hard and fast rules governing what designers do when decorating your house. They’re certainly creative by nature and love to imagine, dream and explore, but with that said, there are some rough principles that guide them to ensure great result every time. And these aren’t tricks or skills that take years to master. Anyone can do them from day one. Consider this a foundation for developing your own quirky, creative, rule-breaking decorating ideas.
Give your furniture some breathing room.
Please resist overcrowding a room. Gracious living means space to maneuver with ease. This is really great news if you are working with a tight budget. You don’t need to fill up a space with lots of furniture. This allows you to spend more of your budget on fewer but better-quality pieces, and your room will look better than if it’s stuffed to the gills with flea market finds.
Hang artwork at the right height.
This is a real touchy area for me as I see this all the time since I love to paint and have a keen interest in photography. Art Galleries and museums hang artwork so that the midline (center) of each piece is 57 inches to 60 inches from the floor. (The average human eye level is 57 inches.) And you should do the same. With increased ceiling height with new homes these day there might be a tendency to hang the art higher. But remember: It needs to relate to human scale, not the structure’s scale. This is one of the reasons why I’m not a fan of TV’s mounted high on a wall above a gas fireplace.
In saying all of this decorating with multiple photo’s gathered together in a group kind of breaks the rule. But, when you’re doing this group the images together to form a central gathering of images that appear almost like a sculpture or one piece of artwork. It’s easy on the eye and flows very well. This is a great and memorable look.
Know how to arrange furniture on a rug.
There are basically three ways you can arrange furniture on your rug and with many homes adding wood floors throughout the home area rugs are warm and interesting.
All on: The rug is large enough to place all of the furniture legs on top of it. This creates a more luxurious feel. For this, bigger is better. Just be sure to leave at least 12 to 18 inches of floor surface on all four sides of the rug’s borders.
All off: If you have a small room, keeping all legs off the rug is a great cost-effective choice. You don’t want to pick too small a rug, though, or it may look insignificant, like an afterthought. The rug should appear as though it could touch the front legs of each of the seating pieces. This approach is best suited when you’re layering a pattern over a larger solid or textured rug.
Front on: Put just the front feet of all your seating pieces on the rug to tie the arrangement together visually and create a well-defined space while lending a feeling of openness.
Resist the urge to be too theme-y.
For example, the Cape Cod look is a very popular request especially if your home is on a lake or has some water front or shoreline. You know the hallmarks: beadboard, a blue and white nautical palette, some sailboat paintings. But this has been done so many times and its not completely wrong but, it lacks individuality. In this room the coastal vibe was achieved through a palette, artwork and materials that give the effect without drawing on the obvious clichés.
Create a focal point.
There are leading roles and supporting cast members in any production. The same holds true in design. Choose your star piece and make it the focal point to anchor a room. Allow other items to take a secondary role. Don’t ask everything to have a leading role; it’s too confusing and a bit messy.
Your focal point might be a dramatic hood in the kitchen, a mantel and art piece in the living room. Whatever it is, choose something that will draw attention. For many rooms the fireplace and the lighting work together as a collective focal point, bringing your eye right to the center of the composition and anchoring it there.
Vary the scale.
What looks good in the store may look gigantic in the room when you bring it home. Or, it’s too small to be of any significance. So always vary scale and proportion. Having a good eye for size and dimension is the key here and being able to visualize a piece in a room will solve a ton of problems.
Large pieces of art usually do it for me or enlarged photographs beautifully framed will fill up the wall space nicely.
Add layers of lighting.
For me lighting is everything. In this kitchen seating area, the backsplash is lit, the artwork is highlighted and the cabinet interiors are filled with light. One central lighting fixture would not have had nearly the same dramatic result. If you need help the professional at Madison Lighting will gladly work with you on all your lighting needs.
Professionals build layers of lighting to create interest, intrigue and variety. In a room where everything is lit evenly, nothing stands out and the ambiance is so much better. Pick a focal point and perhaps a secondary focal point and highlight those. Add general ambient lighting and some lower lighting, like table lamps, for interest.