Welcome to the 27th Metamorphosis Monday!
My Metamorphosis Monday post is a little different this week. I don’t have an exciting metamorphosis to share; instead, I thought I’d share some ideas or tips I’ve learned decorating my own home over these many years. These “lessons learned” are responsible for the changes that were made to the rooms in my home, so in some ways this post is indeed all about metamorphosis…the metamorphosis of my home.
Here’s my disclaimer:
I am not a decorator or a designer and have never had any training in this field. All the tips/ideas I’ll be sharing today have been reached through my own experiences and through much trial and error. It is my hope that some of the information I’ll be sharing will prove helpful if you are trying to figure out where to start with decorating a room in your home.
The first room I decided to furnish and “decorate” in my home was my family room. I knew we’d be spending a lot of time in this room and it would be where our friends and family would gather during their visits to our home.
Tip 1: When you’re at the starting point of decorating a room, ask yourself, how will this room be used and by whom? What activities will take place in this room?
I knew my family room would be used for t.v. watching, Nintendo/Playstation playing, boys rolling around on the floor playing cards and board games, cats and dogs running through, reading, studying, pizza in front of the fire, all the stuff of life that takes place in a family room. I needed durable fabrics that could take the abuse.
Looking at my family room below…you’ll see heavy fabrics, an armoire that houses a t.v., lots of lighting and a large rug for time spent down on the floor. I really like having the t.v. in an armoire where I can make it disappear when guests come over…unless, of course, it’s for movie night or a football game. If your children are grown, like mine, your needs may be different.
Tip 2: Look at the style and features that already exist in your room. Will any one feature have a tremendous influence on how your room is decorated?
In my family room, the answer was a huge, YES. The walls were covered in a warm, golden-brown judges paneling. I had three choices…I could change the look via paint, as some of my neighbors have done, fight the room by decorating it as if the paneling didn’t exist, (big mistake) or embrace it and go with the feel/style of the room.
I totally embraced the library feel of the room decorating it with rich, jewel tone fabrics. If the paneling had been cheap looking or really, really dark, I might have made a different choice and painted it. But since the paneling was good paneling and I loved the room, I totally went with the warm feel of the room.
I even further darkened the room by adding two-toned plantation shutters. (Two-toned shutters are stained on the inside and painted on the outside for a uniform look on the outside of a home). Why bathe this room in bright light when the room was saying “warm and cozy” at the top of it’s lungs. This is a room made for curling up in front of a crackling fire with a good mystery novel. This is a room where you turn off all the lights to watch a wonderful movie like, The Red Violin. This room is not about brightness or loftiness or airiness. No, this room is all about coziness, snuggling, good theater, good books and hot fires on cold nights. Listen to your room…don’t fight it. If you do listen, when you’re all done decorating it, you will love it and so will everyone else who visits your home.
Tip 3: If you don’t already have one, buy a notebook or a handful of folders and start squirreling away inspiration photos.
Create different sections in your notebook or separate folders for every room in your home. When you see a bedroom that you LOVE, tear it out and stick in the “bedroom” folder. Same for the kitchen, family room, etc… When you get ready to do that room, open up your folder and ask yourself what all your inspiration pics have in common. Is it a particular color scheme? A particular style of furniture? Is it just the way the inspiration room “feels.” We are rarely able to copy a room exactly as we find it in a magazine because the dimensions or style of our room may be very different. But sometimes we can use a similar color scheme, similar fabrics or layout. If nothing else, your inspiration pics will help you find your decorating style and show you what you truly like.
Tip 4: What is the focal point in your room…is it a fireplace…or maybe it’s the t.v.
My family room had two focal points, sort of…the main one probably being the fireplace. Unfortunately, I knew the television would be a focal point, also. I’m not a big t.v. watcher…maybe watch an hour a week, total. I figured out a way to make the t.v. completely disappear by placing it into an armoire. When friends are over for book club or dinner, I don’t want that big box visible in the room.
Tip 5: Furniture Arrangement…
Once you know your focal point, you’ll begin to figure out your furniture arrangement. For my room, I knew I needed seating that would face the fireplace and the t.v. I also knew I did not want a sofa/love seat combination; I’d had that in my last house and didn’t like it. Instead, I wanted lots of individual, comfortable seating…all facing each other to facilitate good conversation.
In some rooms, there’s only one really good spot for the sofa…that was pretty much the case in my room. I placed it along the largest wall facing the main focal point…the fireplace.
Based on the placement of the sofa, it was easy to figure out where the t.v. needed to go…in the corner facing the sofa. Once I had the sofa and t.v. placed…it was time to fill in with chairs. Fight the urge to line your furniture up around the walls. Sometimes a room may be such that you have no choice, but consider putting pieces catty-corned in, where else, the corners. Or maybe try them out in the center of the room as I did with the two tapestry chairs. (see below)
Tip 6: What about those really large rooms…
Look for opportunities to create separate seating areas. If a room is really large, do not create one seating area with all the pieces of the furniture spread out facing inward to each other. The seating ends up way too spread out and makes conversation difficult. It also makes the room feel awkward and uninviting.
For large rooms, try creating a seating arrangement comprised of your sofa and a couple of chairs at one end or in one area…maybe in front of a fireplace or the focal point. Then create a separate area with a writing desk and a chair, or a wooden card table with chairs, for game playing or putting together a puzzle. Or maybe even a small reading nook that consists of just a comfy wing back and a small table with a floor lamp. It’s nice to throw an ottoman in there somewhere that can act as an impromptu coffee table for a tray of drinks or additional seating when needed. (See pic above of chairs with ottoman.)
Tip 7: Measure all your walls and/or furniture in the room you’re decorating…
Draw a diagram of your room and write all the measurements down. Tuck it into the inside zipper section of your purse or into your wallet and carry it with you everywhere. When you stumble upon that wonderful, unbelievably great priced secretary or table at A Classy Flea, you’ll know if it will fit and won’t have to go back home to measure while someone else buys your awesome find.
Tip 8: Carry your fabrics…
Carry the arm cover from your chairs or sofa, or a pillow or swatches of the fabrics you’ve used or may use in your room when you head out to shop. Remember, that chair you’re looking for doesn’t have to “match;” it just needs to coordinate or work with your sofa or other existing fabrics.
Tip 9: Choosing your colors scheme:
I knew I would NOT be using pastel colors like the previous owner had used in this room. The window treatments she left behind were pale peach, pale blue and pale pink. How did I know pastels were not a good idea for this room? Sometimes, I think we know instinctively…just from dressing ourselves. We normally would not pair a pastel blue or pink or peach or yellow shirt with autumn gold-colored pants.
So, what looks good with golden brown walls? Any of the jewel tone colors…burgundy, red, green, navy. This color scheme worked well for me because one of my favorite feel-good houses is the house in the original Home Alone movie…lots of red and green in that house and I loved it! Here’s a sample of my sofa fabric…the largest piece of upholstered fabric in the room.
If your room doesn’t have paneling, you’ll have a lot more choices when it comes to your color scheme. Open your closet and take a look at what color clothing you wear and love. Do you wear a lot of cremes and neutrals…perhaps you would feel best surrounded in a room with those colors? Or is your closet full of lots of color, like mine. If so, what are the colors you wear most? How would you feel about using those colors in your room?
Tip 10: How to mix in lots of different fabrics:
You may use lots of different fabrics in a room as long as the colors are similar and the scale/size of the pattern on the fabrics are not all the same size. In other words, make sure the fabrics you use in a room don’t all have large patterns or don’t all have small patterns…mix it up.
Using my family room as the example, the sofa has navy, and green as the main colors with a very small, red/burgundy stripe appearing every so many inches. The pattern is large but in a stripe design.
The tapestry chairs have a medium size/scale pattern, in a floral design. Pillows covered in a burgundy-colored, soft, wool fabric, were placed in the these two chairs to help pull this color out of the chairs and to help coordinate them with the burgundy wing back across the room.
The flame stitch fabric on this wing back chair is a bold design, but it’s across the room from the other upholstered pieces. The drapes are in the same color scheme, but have a much smaller scale pattern. Regarding draperies…I normally like to hang them much higher to open up the window and to make the windows feel larger; but in this room, it would have covered up too much of the judges paneling/molding above the window, so I opted to hang them lower.
The leather wing back offers a break from all the pattern and pulls out the burgundy stripe in the sofa, since it’s close to it.
I’d love to find more interesting pillows, but the navy ones with the tiny stars work okay for now. Maybe that will be something I can update in this room in the future.
The oriental rug has an even smaller design/pattern…
Tip 11: Balance and symmetry:
This may just be a personal preference, but I love for my rooms to feel balanced…and I love a certain amount of symmetry. Notice how the wing backs at the end of the room somewhat balance each other as you walk into the room from the kitchen. I placed a tall Ficus tree in the corner to balance the tall armoire in the other corner. Update: Faux Ficus is gone…check out the new look HERE. The tapestry chairs create their own balance and symmetry at the other end of the room.
The sconces on either side of the fireplace offer more symmetry. See the ceiling fan reflected in the mirror? Wouldn’t it be beautiful to have a wonderful antique style light fixture/chandelier reflecting in that mirror, instead? I’m getting ideas–see what blogging will do to ya!
Tip 12: Use furniture in different ways…
Try to think of different ways to use furniture in your rooms. I knew I needed an “end table” at this end of the sofa, but I just couldn’t find one I liked. I considered a small chest, but couldn’t find the right one. I searched and searched for the right piece. Then, one day, I came across this secretary, in all places, The Cotton Pickin’ Fair/antique festival in Gay, Georgia. It said take me home…I’ll be your end table!
It’s balances nicely with the tall Ficus at the other end of the sofa and I love that it’s different and not just a typical end table to go with the table at the other end. As much as I love symmetry, I also like the unexpected.
Notice the vintage chess board “box” on the secretary. Can you guess what it’s hiding?
Hey, you know if I’m hiding the TV, I’m not leaving these things out in view. lol
Tip 13: Lighting is so important…
I can’t emphasize this enough. I never realized how important lighting was until I started buying lamps and placing them all around my rooms. Once I saw what lamp light did for a room…the atmosphere it created…I went lamp crazy and filled all my rooms with lots and lots of lamp light. Even when I had my screened-in porch built, I did not go with any overhead lighting, which I think baffled my contractor. Instead, I opted for lots of outlets for lamp lighting all around.
Try to place lamps in various spots/corners all around your room, preferably at least 3 lamps to a room…more is even better. In my family room, you’ll see that I have lamps at either end of the sofa, at the end of the room between the wingback and the armoire, on the other side of the armoire beside the flame stitch wing back and between the two tapestry chairs.
I also placed a tall lamp on the end of the bookshelves, near one of the doors leading out to the porch…
Let me show you something over here on the shelves…
Tip 14: Every room needs a touch of whimsy… Don’t forget to add some whimsy into your rooms. Every room really needs a bit of whimsy.
It keeps a room from feeling too serious and I think it helps friends and guests feel they can relax.
Hope you have found these tips to be helpful!
I’m looking forward to seeing the changes you’ve been working on for this Metamorphosis Monday!
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