Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bring Magic to Boring Taupe/Beige Walls

I got a call last week from a my neighbor's son who has purchased his very first home.  He wanted help with his living room.  He likes the color red and it was his desire to have the walls on each side of his fireplace painted red.  He called me over because he wanted my opinion on this.  His goal was to lighten up the room.  He also wanted a "wow" factor.  There is a double window that faces the front of the condo and it provides the only light for the living room, kitchen, and dining area.  Here is what his living room looks like in its present state:

As you can see, it's a nice room but it needs a little help.  Typical for new construction, most builders paint the interiors of homes in the taupe family.  It's a great neutral color.  I would say that 99% of people who build or buy new homes live with the taupe walls.  People, don't be afraid of color! I studied the space for a few minutes and gave him my opinion on painting the walls next to the fireplace in red.  Painting the walls red will make the space even darker than it currently is.  Also, I don't think that solid red walls will give him the look he wants for the space.  Yes, it will add color, but it doesn't say, "Wow!"  So, here is what I proposed for the space:

I decided to do a mock-up of the space with red stripes.  The stripes add the color that he wants in his space and it also adds the "wow" factor.  It also keeps the room from being too dark.  I presented my proposal to Jeremy and his fiancĂ© and I hope that he allows me to transform his space. 

I am also on the hunt for artwork and other accessories (pillows) to finish out the space.  I did offer a suggestion to him to have the components moved off the fireplace mantel.  There is too much going on with the fireplace mantel with the cable-box and other items.  I would like to see him get two matching chests to go on the both sides of the fireplace.  He could have the wires installed in back of the walls which would give the fireplace a cleaner look.  Here is what I envision the space would look like with matching cabinets:

Hopefully I will get the OK to get started on the stripes.  Check back in a week or two and see the magic come into reality!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Art of Tablescaping

Tablescaping is placing accessories on a table top to provide interest (and sometimes function).  I'll admit that I have a lot of decorative accessories in my home in which their only purpose is to look good.  A few items are functional, but most are there to look good.  On my coffee table, I have a few decorating books and several decorating magazines (Traditional Home, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, At Home in Arkansas, and HGTV Magazine).  There is also an art piece I purchased a few years ago (glass knot), and something I would love to get rid of --a metal bowl with wicker balls.  I just haven't found anything more interesting to replace it with yet.

Tablescaping should be done in 3's--have a minimum of three items on your table top.  A single piece would look lost (and lonely) on the table by itself.  Here is a picture of one of the end tables in my living room with just the lamp on it:

Now here is what the end table looks like with a few accessories placed on it.  I actually do use the candle and candle snuffer on occasion and I have read all of the books beneath the plant.  So, there is some function to the accessories.

I actually have more than three things on my table top, but as a grouping, I see the item as 3's:  plant and books, candle and snuffer, and vase. 

All the table tops in my home have been tablescaped.  I think it adds interest to a room and provides a point of conversation.  So, if you have an empty table top or one that lacks interest, consider purchasing new accessories to add some WOW!! to your table. 

Staging vs Decorating

I've had several people ask me what is the difference between staging a room and decorating a room.  To most people, there is no difference.  But, if you are considering selling your home, there are differences between staging and decorating.  There are people who are certified stagers and their services are invaluable for people who are selling their homes.

So, what's the difference?  Decorating a room or home lets the homeowner express their individual style (or the style of your decorator).  When you decorate, you may have unusual pieces of furniture and art, paint colors that are very bright or bold, and lots of family photos on display.  A decorated home should fit the personality of the homeowner.  Most importantly, we all live in our homes, and often our spaces may not always look like the pages from a magazine.

If you are thinking about putting your house on the market, have someone, who does not live in your home on a daily basis, to come over and provide an honest assessment of your space.  This person's perspective of your home will probably be different than yours.  Be open to their opinions and thoughts about your space.

Staging a home is all about editing.  What I mean by editing is removing or relocating items in a room to maximize the spaciousness or to make the room look less cluttered.  Here are a few general rules about editing your rooms:

  • Remove family photos so that perspective homeowners can visualize themselves in your home and not focus on your family photos.  Also, I think this is a good thing to do for you and your family's safety.
  • Remove any special pieces of furniture or art that you don't want anything to happen to while your house is being shown by a realtor.
  • If you have gone a little crazy on paint colors for your rooms, now would be a good time to think about changing those colors to a more neutral tone.  A lot of people lack the imagination to visualize what your space could look like with a different color.
  • Keep your accessories to a minimum.  You are trying to make your home look larger.  Sometimes accessories can weigh a room down.
  • If your upholstered pieces of furniture are a little worn consider slip covers, purchasing new pieces to take to the new home, or rent furniture while your house is listed.
  • You may need to remove some larger pieces of furniture to open up your space.  Sectional sofas are nice to lounge on, but they can often make a room look very small if the piece is too large for the space.  Consider breaking up the sectional or swapping it out for a standard sofa.
  • Try to keep your home as neutral as possible.  It's okay to add pops of color with pillows and some accessories, but again, keep the accessories to a minimum