A bag of tricks used by designers to create a personal space in any home tends to weave together a set of rules bequeathed by the “STYLE GODS of yesteryear.” For example, investment pieces (those that cost more than your child’s first year in college) should be placed front and center where visitors can ogle and whisper about the price. We learned from the great Albert Hadley that the sofa often fulfills this glorified need, so never forget to pile on the pillows for that extra luxe as well. It also makes it simple to change out those little poufs depending on look, season, or boredom. The neighbors will be aghast. Also never skimp on certain items of seating or translating that into “marriage speak” means that immediately after the honeymoon, remove any item hubby attempts to bring into the home. And by the way, you can forget contacting Goodwill; they have their standards. For my sake, think neutral, flexibility is important in all areas.
Lush and lavish window treatments seem to be an oddity of the past. Today, we favor simplistic panels to add a splash of color, texture, and height. But I must admit, I find yards of pretty fabric as a compliment such as a good set of pearls used as a finish for that little black dress. The can amplify neutrals through use of materials, provide privacy in case of nosy neighbors, add warmth on colder days, and finish a space beautifully by highlighting specific hues. HEY DESIGNERS go to the floor with drapery (or at least a pant break) as it makes the look appear complete (no high waters for the clients).
When painting, remember that you have five walls (in case your expensive stylist forgot). Look up! Embellish your ceiling with a medallion, a mural, or a slightly lighter (or darker) color than the wall. And don’t be shy, enamel the molding, the crown, even the baseboard. Let the space dictate the use, and your furniture determine the colors. And always, always, always, place a rug under your dining table.
For more interesting rooms, mix and match eras, periods, fabrics, textures, and art (this precludes neutral or tone-on-tone lovers). And here is a great big DESIGN secret, you can mix gold and silver. Embrace the unusual. Always follow the rules without following the rules. Your home should celebrate how you live much like a mirror reflects light. Don’t be nervous about a wall of clocks or mirrors or religious crosses. Amplify small spaces by treating them as large. Appropriate open shelves.
Use galvanized steal, shiplap, or wallpaper (yes, I said wallpaper) in unusual ways. An empty corner makes a great little space for an architectural piece. Take your dining room table to from a place to eat to unforgettable by utilizing different patterns of china and crystal. While DESIGN should follow certain dictums, always remember that you are unique, SO BABY, mix it on up.