Matt’s Designer Tricks
I’m in the midst of a decorating project and I thought I’d share a few designer tricks that I’m relying on as I go through the process (and that I know will help you when you embark on your next project).
The room on which I am currently focused is a family room/breakfast room/kitchen combo -- the ultimate great, great room. The great room of today tends to be quite large and this makes decorating them a bit tricky because all of the pieces in the space are visible. Large open spaces have to be considered in the whole, whereas walls that separate spaces minimize the need to ensure adjacent rooms work together. Though we don’t want matchy-matchy (we REALLY don’t want that -- ANYTHING but matchy-matchy), we do need everything to coordinate. We also want a variety of textures and finishes to keep the space interesting, and we need the right amount of furniture for the space. Scale of the furniture is also an important consideration. Whoa! That’s a lot to track!
No need to go all Mary Tyler Moore as you frantically wave your arms in the air, panic attack mounting. I promise! Here are a few tricks to get you started…
Trick #1: Divide a large room into separate spaces.
Even an experienced designer needs to tackle a room of this size by breaking it into manageable parts; it can be overwhelming otherwise to make the entire space special and different. This is particularly true when the large space includes traditionally separate areas with specific purposes (e.g., kitchen, family room, dining room).
I not only separate the spaces for planning purposes, but I also literally do so. To do this, I use furniture arrangement and rugs to define distinct setions of the space. This helps to create cozy, workable spaces within the larger area.
Trick #2: Layer rugs.
Layering rugs is a fabulous trick of the trade, and an easy way to add texture and luxury to a space. Typically, I opt for sea grass or jute as a base rug. On top, I love to layer a wool (budget permitting) or other natural fiber rug – usually with color and pattern. These are softer on the tootsies (I had to let Mary Tyler Moore make a cameo) than the sea grass or jute rugs.
An aside -- one of the great design mistakes people make is to buy a rug that’s too small for their space. Appropriately large rugs though can be extremely expensive, especially if they must be made to order. Separating a large space into smaller spaces allows you to have multiple smaller rugs specific to each small space, a much less expensive route. I tie the whole space together (a living room with two seating areas, for example) with the base rug. When selecting rugs, I opt for a less spendy base rug and a higher-end top rug.
Trick #3: Add more seating than you think you need.
You may think you don’t like a sectional, but trust me, you would if you tried it. I raise this because sectionals are a great way to add a lot of seating and I like to have enough seating to accommodate as many people as a space can reasonably handle.
The corollary to this trick is that you have more friends than you think you do and they’ll all want to visit you in your updated space. Key takeaways with seating: go big, go with quantity and go with comfort.
And, maybe I'll join you.
Design With Confidence,
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