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October 22, 2010 > Decorating Do's and Don'ts

Decorating Do's and Don'ts

Five Tips to Help you Achieve a Designer Look in your Home

Have you ever wondered if you are doing things "right" with your dˇcor? While beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, there are some design guidelines you can follow to ensure a good result. Here are some tips to help you.

DO embrace a collected-over-time kind of a look in your home. A significant trend in interior design is the concept of a room that has evolved over time. An eclectic mix of modern and antique pieces, unique accents purchased abroad, a special accessory that tells a story-these are what make a room interesting, reflecting the personalities of the people who live there. So, DON'T feel that everything in your room has to match. It is OK if your end tables are different from each other; it OK to have an antique armoire in your contemporary living room; and it is OK to mix materials like leather, metals, woods and fabrics. Think about coordinating your furnishings rather than matching them.

DO pull your furniture away from the walls and into the room. Often I see living rooms that look a little more like doctors' office waiting rooms, with the furniture lined up against the walls. Pulling the furniture away from the walls and into the room (even if it is just a few inches) creates a much more cozy, comfortable and functional seating arrangement. DON'T feel like you need to leave a big empty space in the middle of the room. It may sound counterintuitive, but bringing the furniture closer together and into the room actually makes the room look more spacious.

DO invest in beautiful window coverings. Not only do they offer energy efficiency and protection for your furnishings from harmful UV rays, but they also add color, texture, softness and that designer finishing touch that every room needs. To select the right kind of window covering for your space, first identify your needs. Are there privacy issues? Do you have old drafty windows? Is glare a problem? Do you like it dark in the morning? There is a solution for every problem. And let's not forget the decorative layer: valances and curtain panels give those windows a designer look and really complete the room. So DON'T ignore your windows. Many people think window treatments are an after-thought; include window coverings into the overall budget for your room-you will be glad you did.

DO place accessories in groups or clusters. Odd numbered groupings look best, but two items also can work well. Vary the heights of the items-for example, group together three candlesticks (tall, medium and short) or a tall vase, shorter vase and a shorter box or potted green plant.

DON'T line up single accessories in a row, especially in the space above kitchen cabinets or bookcases. Groupings look much better.

DO have adequate lighting in your space. Most houses I visit are lacking in light. For increased functionality and to achieve a designer look, add more lighting. Think about all the ways to add some more light sources: buffet lamps on a chest or console table; wall-mounted sconces on either side of your sofa; small, decorative lamps on a bar or countertop; an uplight on the floor under to highlight a plant; or a floor lamp beside a reading chair. DON'T think one source in a room is enough. Layers of light are what give a room ambience and interest.

Look at your space with an objective eye-are there improvements that can be made? For that designer look, DO jump right in, and DON'T be afraid to try something new.


Anna Jacoby of Anna Jacoby Interiors is a local interior designer. Send your design questions to her at info@annajacobyinteriors.com. Call or fax her at 510-490-0379 or visit www.annajacobyinteriors.com


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