Does your chairs and sofas talk to each other?
Interviewing a few home staters and decor specialists gave us lots to think about. Some examples:
Think of a nice hotel lobby: The furniture is arranged in groupings that invite conversation. When you place the furniture in your living room, aim for a similar sense of balance and intimacy. “A conversation area that has a U-shape, with a sofa and two chairs facing each other at each end of the coffee table, or an H-shape, with a sofa directly across from two chairs and a coffee table in the middle, is ideal,” says a Dallas-based stager. One common mistake to avoid: Pushing all the furniture against the walls. “People do that because they think it will make their room look bigger, but in reality, floating the furniture away from the walls makes the room feel larger,” she says.
Stick to colors like beige or gray, especially on the first floor, where flow is important. “You want to minimize jarring transitions,” says another decorating specialist. Neutral walls give you the greatest decorating flexibility, allowing you to easily switch up your accessories. And if you have two small rooms next to each other, painting them the same neutral color helps them feel larger. Look at a paint strip and move up or down a shade or two for a subtle variation from room to room.
Let the light in!
When it comes to heavy, outdated drapes, a naked bank of windows is better than an ugly one – Ideally, window dressings should be functional and elegant: Think sheers paired with full-length panels. If your room gets a lot of sun, opt for light colors that won’t fade. The most recommended lightweight fabrics for panels are cotton, linen, and silk blends because they tend to hang well.
Mirror mirror on the wall
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. Hanging a mirror directly opposite a window can actually bounce the light right back out the window.
There are few things more ridiculous-looking than hanging dinky little art too high on the wall. The middle of a picture should hang at eye level. If one person is short and the other tall, average their heights. Also take scale into account; for a large wall, go big with one oversize piece or group smaller pieces gallery-style. For the latter, don’t space the pictures too far apart; 2 to 4 inches between items usually looks best.
Light it up!
Every room should have three kinds of lighting: ambient, which provides overall illumination and often comes from ceiling fixtures; task, which is often found over a kitchen island or a reading nook; and accent, which is more decorative, highlighting, say, artwork. One visual trick a decorator swears by: using uplights. “Placing a canister uplight or a torchiere in the corner will cast a glow on the ceiling, making a room seem bigger,” he says.
Feet on the carpet!
Follow these basic rules for an area rug: In a living room, all four legs of the sofa and chairs in a furniture grouping should fit on it; the rug should define the seating area. At the very least, the front two legs of the sofa and chairs should rest on it. Even living rooms with less than generous proportions usually require a very large rug to properly accommodate a seating area. Go too small with the rug size and everything looks out of scale.
Declutter, declutter declutter – pack it away!
The longer you live in a house, the less you see the mess over time. Sometimes you need a fresh pair of eyes. You can hire an organizer for a few hours to tackle bookshelves and wardrobes which stagers say are often packed with twice the amount of stuff they should hold. One decorator suggests whittling down what’s on your shelves by almost 50 percent. Then mix horizontal stacks of books among the vertical rows and intersperse decorative objects, such as bowls or vases, among them. Do t go to small and always keep in mind LESS is MORE!
Raise me up
If your ceilings are on the low side, paint them white to make the room feel less claustrophobic. Hang curtains higher than the windows, suggests another interior decorator, to trick your eye into thinking the room is taller. Love patterned panels? Try vertical stripes; the lines visually elongate your walls. Leaning a large mirror against a wall can also make a room seem taller.
Gloss it up – modernise
Got dated fixtures? Reinvent them with inexpensive refinishing kits. A 1980s brass chandelier can get a new lease on life with a quick coat of hammered-bronze or satin-nickel spray paint. Even outdated kitchen cabinets benefit from a few coats of white paint. And if you thought there was no hope for Formica countertops, think again. One decorator swears by Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations, a DIY counter-coating product that mimics stone, making even the ugliest 1970s counter look fresh.
Contact Sal and stand a very good chance to win a free consultation with a very experienced and professional home stager.