14 key decorating strategies
They did not intend to buy things to simply fill the house; they wanted to acquire pieces over time that had meaning, complemented their lifestyle, and reflected their personalities.
While the theme was "sparse," sleek and modern wasn't their design choice. Instead, they mixed furniture styles with rustic, stained, and painted finishes.
Every piece serves a purpose, and each can be used in different ways for years to come.
Glass-front cabinets provide a showcase for colorful pottery.
The bamboo-topped table on casters tucks under the island and can roll away for use throughout the house or outside. Mixing up the chair styles adds casual appeal.
Perhaps the most important consideration for such an active room is how to keep the space's flow while noting its separate areas. Color, furniture placement, and area rugs can help meet this goal.
Here, a U-shaped seating area encourages conversation. Artifacts from family travels reflect the personalities of those who live here, while the fireplace and television anchor the space.
Decorative accents give any kitchen a personal touch. These include practical pieces such as rugs and furniture, decorative pots, canisters, and cookbook libraries.
Here, colorful, often-used items are grouped together for a visual display on top of an antique cabinet.
Here, office essentials are easily housed in the covered storage, on the floating shelf, and in the almost-hidden drawer of the work surface.
"Plan space for your lifestyle by incorporating ample seating, table surfaces, cushions, play areas, eating spots, and sunning areas."
By carrying your design style outdoors, you can turn a patio, deck, or even a balcony into another room of the house.
This sleeping porch, a feature of many Craftsman houses, is updated with contemporary styling and weatherproof drapery and upholstery fabric.
Display signature pieces without too much fanfare. Try using one simple but dramatic floral stem or leaf in a chunky modern glass vase.
In transitional areas, brushed nickel or silver works well for frames, accessories, and fixtures.
"Find a fabric you love," she says. "Choose a signature fabric with enough design elements so you can pull out colors, coordinate textures and have lots of options for furnishings and accessories."
Here, green and blue accents in the fabric even play off the foliage outside.
As a general rule, hang framed photos and art at eye level (or a bit higher if the ceilings are high). Keep in mind eye-level may be lower in a room designed for seating.
Here, a lipstick-red wall sets off black-and-white photos and a mix of collected treasures.
A key to successful display is using a common denominator such as color, material, shape, or some other theme. Create small groupings throughout the room.
And remember, less is more. Don't clutter your display by trying to showcase everything. Instead, rotate cherished items often for added interest.
You can add and subtract with the seasons and rearrange the grid.
The furnishings here are equally crisp and informal. Accessories play off these neutrals.
Here, a glossy chocolate-brown accent wall sets off the translucent candleholders and simple white candles.
Lean multiple frames of various sizes against a wall for a casual collage effect.
The use of mass-market frames and mats gives her the freedom to swap photos in and out, and keeps her displays from feeling too precious.
- The basics of design, including a practical guide to decorating styles and help on evaluating your space
- Room-by-room tips for entryways, work spaces, family rooms, kitchens bathrooms, and more
- Detailed advice on the range of options for flooring and window and wall treatments
- Color palettes made easy, a guide to lighting, and lots of help with the finishing touches