Home Decorating Tips From The Pros

There isn't a secret rule book that designers follow nor are there any fast, hard laws about what they do. This is because designers are creative, imaginative, dreamers and explorers. As such, they follow their own intuition. To benefit you, here are some home decorating tips from the pros you'll want to know about. These are simple yet tried and true tips that work. You'll want to use them for developing your own design style.

Choose Your Paint Color Last

Although it sounds logical to pick a paint color before moving into a home, it isn't ideal. Not only do thousands of paint colors exist, each of them also comes with lots of different tints, tones, and shades. Each paint color also looks different in each home because of your home's natural lighting, as well as choices in things like upholstery, artwork, and rugs. This is why you should wait until you have everything in your home to choose paint colors.

Give Furniture Room to Breathe

Don't overcrowd a room. Leave enough room to easily move about. Spend money on fewer items of higher quality.

Hang Pictures at the Right Height

Pictures must be hung at human scale, not according to the structure's scale. Art galleries and museums understand this and so they hang their pieces so the center is 57 -- 60 inches from the floor. This is because the average human eye level is 57 inches from the floor. Remember to follow this rule. If you're uncertain how this applies to you, take a picture. You can then draw on it so you'll know what you want to put where before you ever hang it.

Know how to Arrange Furniture When Using a Rug

There are three ways you can do this:

If the rug is big enough, put everything on it. Make sure you leave 12 -- 18 inches of floor space on all four sides of your rug's border though. This creates a luxurious feeling.

When working with a small room, keep all the furniture legs off of your rug. Make sure you don't choose a rug that's too small or it'll seem as though it were an afterthought. The rug should look like it can still reach the front legs of each of the chairs and couches.

Only put the feet of the couches and chairs on the rug. This ties everything together visually, creating a well-defined space that still feels quite open.

Don't be too Thematic

Although the Cape Cod theme with its beadboard, blue and white nautical palette, and sailboat paintings are popular, it's also overdone and cliché. You need some individuality.

Create a Focal Point

Just as theatrical productions have both leading roles and supporting cast members, your design should too. Choose one thing, making it your room's focal point, then let everything else take a secondary role. Failure to do so simply results in visual noise.

When choosing your focal point, make sure it's something attention-grabbing like a dramatic hood in your kitchen, a mantle or an art piece in your living room or a headboard in your bedroom. Make sure it grabs your eye when entering the room.

Remember Sight Lines

You want a clear, free focal point when moving from one room into another. This is what draws you between rooms and why the best spot for a focal point is right across from the room's entrance.

Seek Unity

Don't keep something that doesn't fit your style. Move it to another room. Knowing when to stop is another important aspect of preventing visual noise from occurring.

Remember Scale and Proportion

Although something may look great in a store, it may look way too big or small in your house. Make sure you vary scale and proportion though. For instance, a big picture hung above a small grouping of sand dollars on a mantle looks nice, but alone the sand dollars look too insignificant. Also remember that odd numbers make for more pleasing arrangements than even numbers do.

Layer the Lighting

You won't make a dramatic effect by using just one central lighting fixture. Nothing will stand out. Instead, you need to create layers of lighting. Doing so creates interest, intrigue, and variety. Make sure you choose one or two focal points to highlight with a combination of ambient and some lower lighting.

Be Bold

Your personality isn't only fun and statement-making, it's also what makes a great space. Incorporating unconventional ottoman seats, library-style bookshelves and oversized chandeliers aren't only unexpected, but they're also dramatic. So, when you want a room that wows, forego the expected for the unexpected instead.

Ignore Principles Favoring Creativity

Guidelines offer a great starting point. This should be something comfortable that makes you smile. You don't want an overly designed room. Instead, you want a dressed-down look with lots of style.

Piazza Designs. All rights reserved

Piazza Designs

By Appointment Only

650.888.2168 | deb@piazzadesigns.com