After the week I’ve had, it’s no wonder that the Friday Five is heading your way on Saturday! Better late than never I say! So for today’s Friday Five: My five favorite design tips. These are tried and true tips (say that three times fast!) that always help when decorating or redecorating any space.
1. Mix old and new.
This is in my living room, which is probably my favorite room in the house because it’s where I stash many of my vintage and thrifty finds. The mirror came from a thrift store. I bought the shelf (this morning!) at a yard sale. It’s old – the original nails are still in it and the paint is that old, gorgeous red paint. The pitcher and faux boxwood plant are new. They work together to create a pretty vignette.
I like mixing old and new in a space because it gives the room character. Also, if you are the one collecting the old things, then mixing them in with newer pieces is a way to really show your personality and style.
2. Neutral on the big; color on the small.
I am a big fan of color, to be sure. But I integrate bright colors on the accent pieces, rather than the main pieces, in the room.
Here’s our family room. The sectional is an olive-y taupe-y color. There is a brown leather armchair on the other side of the room. Those are the big and expensive pieces. Then, for the accessories, I added bright colors – yellow, teal, and green. Check out the pillows and lamp, for example.
Having the big, expensive pieces in the room in neutral colors means (1) you likely won’t get sick of the color of the piece, the way you might if it were a particular bright color; and (2) they provide a good, neutral foundation for whatever bright colors you add with your accessories. Make the easy (and cheaper)-to-change pieces the bright pops of color and the here-to-stay pieces neutrals.
3. Odd is better.
When placing accessories – such as when styling shelves or a mantel – use odd numbers of items, rather than even numbers. Groups of three or five are more pleasing than even-numbered grouping (called “The Rule of Three” in design; “The Rule of Thirds” in photography).
You get the idea. Odd numbers of things are visually more pleasing than even numbers.
4. Live in a space before redoing it.
When moving into a new home, the temptation is to take a sledgehammer or paint brush to the rooms that need work. Instead, live with the room for a bit before redoing it. That way, you can understand exactly what works and what doesn’t in the room, and how to fix it.
For example, our kitchen in our 1929 house is small and had cabinets that were hung high and in a strange arrangement.
I am, ahem, vertically challenged, and so the cabinets hung that high didn’t work for me. The microwave that high didn’t work for me, either. So, I came up with a plan to take down the cabinets and add open shelving instead.
But I did that after living in this kitchen for almost five months.
Here’s the after, by the way:
Could I have redone the kitchen after we moved in? Sure. But giving myself some time cooking and living in the kitchen made it easier to know the best choices to make when I redid it.
5. Let the room reflect your style.
Sure, it’s fun to browse Pinterest and magazines and see the pretty rooms. But if you decorate your space in a way that isn’t what you like, you won’t be able to live with it for very long.
Before, the dining room in our old house was dark and very traditional. In other words, not really me. Here’s the after:
Much more reflective of my style – light, bright, a little rustic, a little modern.
If you want to add something trendy to your decor, do so in small doses – a pillow or fabric, an accessory, something small. That way, if it goes out of style or you decide you are tired of it, it won’t cost much to change it.
For example, when chevron was a trend, I added chevron fabric to the back of my built-in bookcases. I loved it…
…until I was over chevron pattern. Thankfully, these fabric panels are removable and I can change the fabric or just leave the backs painted white. (Click HERE or on the picture for how to add fabric to the back of built-in shelves.)
What are your favorite design tips? Please share them below! Have a great weekend!
Karen, you are a wise woman! GREAT tips, thank you! Before I forget, thank you so much for having a reader-friendly blog! Very easy to get to the post from my email and click on any links in your writing. It’s a great thing! 🙂
Karen Cooper says
Thank you!! I’m so glad it’s reader-friendly! I want to make sure posts and projects are easy to find. I really appreciate that feedback!!
Cheryl @ Artzzle says
Lots of great reminders here, Karen. And of course your photos are always fun to see. Question: How do you like the “Hello Bar” you’ve added to your site? Have you gotten any traffic from it? Thanks.
Happy Mother’s Day. Hope Hank is better 🙂