About a month after daughter Paige and her long-time boyfriend, John, moved into their Texas home, I flew in to check it out.
“Great job!” I said, looking around. Indeed, they’d gotten off to a fine start decorating and painting. The three-bedroom, single-story ranch house was cuter than a ladybug and had more potential than a Derby winner’s foal.
And although they’d gotten a lot right, I could see half a dozen rookie mistakes we could fix fast. I waited until Paige asked, “Do you have any ideas for what else we could do?”
“Ready to move some furniture?” I asked.
By the end of the weekend, we had addressed the following rookie mistakes DIY decorators often make:
Rule: Furniture in a room should balance visually. It shouldn’t flop to one side. Rookies often focus on whether furniture fits and overlook balance. But in Paige and John’s shared home office, they put both their desks on the same narrow end of the rectangular room and a small book case on the other, which wasn’t visually heavy enough.
Remedy: We put one desk on each side of the room along the long wall and the book case centered on the opposite long wall, balancing the room.
Rule: Successful rooms work around a focal point, such as a view, a fireplace or an entertainment center. In Paige’s living room, the sofa and chair faced a freestanding bookcase loaded with books (including old paperbacks), board games and a television. Though functional, the bookcase was not focal-point worthy.
Remedy: We moved all but the prettiest hardcovers to the office. Then we moved the bookcase next to the sofa against a long wall that needed weight. We styled it with an edited stack of handsome hardcovers, pretty art objects, a large mirror propped against the back and a healthy infusion of empty space. We put the television on a painted wood chest, flanked with two, tall potted trees, creating a less-cluttered focal point.
Rule: Less is more. To embellish her space, Paige had layered area rugs on carpet in the office and living room. While such layering can work, it can also make a room feel congested. That was the case here.
Remedy: We pulled all the area rugs out, and the rooms instantly breathed.
Rule: Furniture sets don’t need to stay together. For their guest room, Paige used a hand-me-down bedroom set that included a four-poster bed, two nightstands and a dresser, which overwhelmed the small room.
Remedy: Seeing the bedroom dresser as a chest of drawers that could work elsewhere in the house freed us to move it out of the guest room and into the living room, where the piece now keeps board games and linens out of sight.
Rule: Artwork should have the right colors, be the right size and have the right subject matter. Many rookies overlook motif. Paige had a rather formal landscape in her casual kitchen eating area. Though colors and size were right, the art’s subject matter didn’t quite fit.
Remedy: We found a fun painting of a pig on wood (Pier One $25) that fell into place and moved the landscape to the master bedroom.
CORRECTION: Last week’s column on power yard tools incorrectly stated the number of potential recharges for the EGO lithium-battery. The battery is good for up to 2,000 recharges.
Contact Marni Jameson at www.marnijameson.com.
Source: East Bay Ooops! Rookie home decorating mistakes – let’s fix them quick