On the eve of a New Year, it’s normal to reflect on the past twelve months and all we’ve experienced. We sometimes summarize the passing of another calendar year by making lists of the things we’ve learned and resolutions for ways to do better. In theory, this retrospective makes us wiser and the resolutions make us better prepared for the year ahead. Along those lines, we thought it might be fun to think back and count down the Top Ten most common decorating questions we’ve heard from clients in 2021. Not to worry, we’ve also added a few answers we hope you can use as you resolve to improve your own decor in 2022.
#10 HOW DO YOU MAKE A LUXURIOUS BED?
Who doesn’t love a luxurious bed? And, a luxurious bed is much more than just a boat-load of pillows. Luxurious bedding is all about layering. That doesn’t mean you need 5 different blankets either. By simply turning back the bedding you already use, you create the illusion of luxury and additional layers which makes any bed look more warm & inviting. Adding a bed scarf or throw near the foot of the bed adds yet another layer. Of course, a few accent pillows of different shapes, sizes & textures never hurt either!
#9 HOW HIGH SHOULD I HANG WINDOW TREATMENTS?
Many of the decorative items in your home have more than one purpose. Window fashions, for example, are utilitarian providing light control & privacy. However, they are also one of the largest decorative additions to any space. They draw the eye and make a strong statement in any decor.
When hanging soft treatments (aka curtains or draperies), the goal is to create strong vertical lines. These lines frame the windows while accentuating or creating the illusion of taller ceilings.
In a perfect world, panels should be mounted about 1/2-2/3 of the way up between the top of the window and the ceiling (or crown molding). Since ready-made panels generally come in 12″ increments (unless you have them hemmed), that means hanging them right at the ceiling. So be it! It’s far better to go higher with your treatments than to slap them right at the the top of the window. Oh, and it should go without saying, they should also hang all the way to the floor. No floods please!
#8 WHY DO I NEED LAMPS IF I HAVE OVERHEAD LIGHTING?
Good lighting can make or break the look & feel of any space. While it may seem like overkill to add lamps to a room with adequate overhead lighting (think ceiling fixtures or can lights), lamps play an important role for a variety of reasons.
Overhead lighting (no matter how chic) is rarely flattering and often creates shadows. Lamp light, on the other hand, is less harsh, much more flattering & eliminates shadowy, “dead” zones in your decor.
Lamp light also helps create intimacy and offers task lighting for reading etc… when needed.
From a design perspective, lamps & especially lamp shades help balance and fill in that huge void which naturally exists between the top of your furniture and the ceilings.
#7 CAN I PUT A LARGE PIECE OF ART IN A SMALL POWDER ROOM?
The answer is: BUT, OF COURSE! Much like area rugs which are too small for a space, tiny artwork in small spaces only highlights the petiteness of the room. A single, larger piece of art or a grouping of smaller companion pieces in a powder room creates drama and makes the space feel larger and more grand.
#6 IS IT OK TO PUT AN AREA RUG ON WALL-TO-WALL CARPET?
Area rugs on carpet are absolutely OK! Like lamps in a well-lit room, it might seem like overkill. Rugs on carpet help create a “room within a room” providing an anchor for your furniture group. Rugs add color, pattern and an additional layer to the space even if you don’t need them to soften hard surfaces like tile or hardwood flooring. If adding a rug on carpet, make sure it is sufficiently heavy (think wool) so it doesn’t buckle when you put furniture on top. (Trick: Put a small tile under the legs of the furniture, between the carpet and rug, to create a firmer surface and help alleviate annoying dimples!)
#5 ARE FAKE PLANTS OK?
While most designers might consider live plants ideal, artificial plants are definitely ok. Florals and plants help soften the harsh, angular edges of the many, fabricated pieces in your space and bring a touch of Mother Nature inside. So, it’s important to add nature-inspired botanicals to your space, real or fake.
Of course, live plants require adequate care so they thrive and grow. I’d take a forest of nice-looking artificial plants over sad-looking, half-dead or dying real plants any day! So, if you don’t have a green thumb, faux is definitely the way to go.
Remember, not all artificial plants are created equal! Pick the best looking ones you can find even if it means paying a little more. Faux succulents are not only very trendy, they tend to look very real. Lastly, please remember that faux florals and greenery eventually die too. If they’re faded and covered in dust, it’s time to say goodbye!
#4 HOW DO YOU MIX & MATCH COLORS IN A SPACE?
Creating a color story and coordinating colors in a space can be a very challenging prospect for anyone. Some trend toward color overload while others avoid it like the plague. The basics of any good color design are to follow the “60-30-10” rule.
60% of the color in your space should be the backdrop color. 30% should be a color which compliments that backdrop. Finally, 10% should be the “holy crap” color that fights the others and cries for attention. Don’t be afraid to layer varying shades of the same or similar colors (think teal and blue for example). Unless you excel at layering patterns and colors, sticking to the 60-30-10 rule should help you avoid a rainbow of colorful mistakes.
#3 HOW HIGH SHOULD I HANG NEW LIGHT FIXTURES?
Hanging light fixtures correctly can be a little tricky and varies by situation. The correct height is based on how you use the space and what you’re trying to accomplish. That being said, there are some good guidelines to follow when hanging pendant fixtures.
The internet is filled with advice from professionals who specialize in interior illumination. So cruise the net until you find an answer that best suits your circumstance. To get you started, check out this informative post from Schoolhouse: Schoolhouse 101: Hanging Pendants & Chandeliers
#2 IS IT OK TO MIX METALS?
Whether you can mix metals in a kitchen or bath is a perennial question. The simple answer is YES! Choosing to mix metals adds depth and makes a space more interesting. A good rule of thumb for DIYers, keep the finishes the same to help unify the mismatched hardware (i.e. brush vs polished). As long as your choices appear purposeful and compliment the overall design you’re probably ok to mix. If in doubt, look for inspiration from professionals on the internet. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
And last, but certainly no surprise, the most popular decorating question of is;
#1 WHAT’S ON TREND?
The most common question of 2021, as in most years is, “What’s on trend?” As the name suggest, trends are ever-changing. Some trends are long-lasting while others are fleeting. That’s why we rarely suggest decorating your home or office exclusively based on the latest trends. It should stand to reason the more “trendy” your decor, the more likely you’ll have to change it frequently to stay “on trend”. That said, following trends, to a certain degree, helps ensure your decor doesn’t become tired and dated. If you’ve updated, upgraded or even bought it recently, it’s “on trend”. Things that aren’t trending become increasingly difficult to find.
As a good friend and colleague always says, “Be Yourself! Everyone else is already taken!” Regardless of trends, good design should always be a reflection of the home & the owners. If you love it, that’s all that matters!
So, there you have the Ten Most Common Decorating Questions we’ve heard in 2021. You might even have asked yourself one or more of them in the past year. As we take the plunge into a New Year, here’s hoping your decorating dilemmas are few and your successes are many. Wishing you and yours all the best in this and more in 2022!
HAPPY NEW YEAR & HAPPY DECORATING FROM YOUR FRIENDS AT DECOR DESIGNS!