Whitney and I downsized several years ago when our daughter moved to New York City. I wasn't sure about downsizing - but it was one of the best moves we've made! Getting rid of things we didn’t need and thinking through what we did need; before investing in anything new, was extremely therapeutic.
We now use all the space we have and are surrounded by things that are either special to us, functional or add happiness to our home. Our house is a reflection of us: happy, casual, and lived in!
Here are a few decorating tips I'd like to share.
Have a best friend that is great at decorating. This is one of my greatest decorating assets. Candy, has a great sense of style; knows me well, can pull almost anything together and make it look amazing! She can make decisions, which sometimes is the hardest thing to do, and is not afraid to be bold and try new things.
Try a round rug. To make a room feel larger, use a round rug on the floor. The circle represents infinity, and a round rug brings that esoteric idea of "no boundaries" into reality as a visual element.
Get rid of most of curtains. They become dust collectors and block out natural lighting. Blinds or shades are a nice substitute and there are a plethora of options available now.
Make sure your chandeliers are the right height. Keep in mind that you want to look at your dinner companions, whether they’re family or guests. Suzanne Pollak, Dean of the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits says, “when it hangs over a table, the bottom of the chandelier should be no more than 30 inches from the surface of the table. Any higher is a travesty.”
Find your “little black dress”. Love this from Barclay Butera: “Design is like fashion. Every home, like every woman’s wardrobe, benefits from a little black dress. Maybe a rug, sofa, art piece, etc. It becomes like your little black dress—it's a versatile starting point for building a fashion statement. You can then accessorize with a mix of patterns and punches of color.”
Mix freely. If my BFF (Candy) taught my anything she taught me this! It’s also backed up by all the pros including Charles Faudree, who says, “a single object on a tabletop or a single work of art on the wall can be nice, but mixing collections provides the most excitement. Instead of grouping the pieces from only one collection, which typically limits you, combine different collections to ensure a mix of textures and shapes and even history."
Keep wall colors light and neutral. Stick to colors like beige or gray, especially on the first floor, where flow is important. Neutral walls give you the greatest decorating flexibility, allowing you to easily switch up your accessories. I love seeing what pops of color will do too!
Make sure your sofa talks to your chairs. Think of a nice hotel lobby: The furniture is arranged in groupings that invite conversation. When you place the furniture aim for a similar sense of balance and intimacy.
Hang at least one mirror in every room. Mirrors can make a space feel brighter because they bounce the light around the room. But placing one in the wrong spot can be almost as bad as not having one at all. Put mirrors on walls perpendicular to windows, not directly across from them.