Room by Room
It typically measures 20' x 15', but echoes immeasurable importance. Others will form lasting impressions about you from it. This reinvented living area decides the difference between "house" and "home." Welcome to the great room.
Considering you'll dine, entertain and kick up your feet there day after day ... of course, you'll want yours to be great. So great, it'll beckon guests in one glance to sit down, stay awhile and prompt them to say, What a nice place, when leaving. Well, rev up your creativity and throw on your interior decorator cap. We've got some can't-miss decorating tips to help you craft the room of your dreams.
Where Do I Start?
Depends upon where, exactly, you are with decorating the room. Chances look good you're staring at an empty space. Begin by knowing your requirements, space constraints and items you already have. And determine the room's focal point. This could be the fireplace, window, doorway or determined simply by your taste. Once agreed on, consider the possible room "traffic." Is there ample space for flow? Too much clutter? Overall, get an early feel of how you want (and need) the room to look.
How much do you need? Better yet, how much will the room afford?
- Leave the center of the room as clear as possible.
- Place seating at right angles to main windows to enjoy the view while avoiding direct sunlight.
- Position furniture at right angles or across for conversation intimacy.
- Don't forget, ottomans and throw pillows can make great additional seats!
It's much more than a piece of wood atop the fireplace. This decor opportunity usually becomes a hey-look-at-me point in the room. Just note the following.
- Make sure your mantel features at least one dramatic centerpiece (framed art, mirror, etc.).
- Avoid too much or too little.
- Arrange decor in groups of three.
- Vary the height of your knickknacks to keep things interesting.
Behold the most powerful decorating device! Just think:
Even one color can actually influence your room's entire atmosphere. For example, select that orange-striped couch and see what happens. Like amplified personality traits, colors can invoke, invite, intimidate or irritate. So choose wisely.
- One color should always dominate a color scheme.
- Always coordinate furniture and carpet with the walls.
- Warm colors (red, orange, yellow) advance and decrease room size. Use these color choices in a room that doesn't face the sun.
- Cool colors (green, blue, violet) recede and increase room size. Use these shades in a room that absorbs sunlight.
- Ponder shades of blue - deemed by many as the "color of the millennium."
Versatile, warm, comforting, magical. The right lighting
animates your fabulous decorating and matches your room's mood to the occasion. Let us enlighten you.
- Under the limelight. When you design your lighting scheme, try to imagine where beams of light will fall. Where do you need light most? What would you like to accent?
- Keep the shades and styles varied, just as the other elements of your great room look. The catchphrase "variety is the spice of life" didn't originate for nothing!
- Turn it on. When watching TV, try hanging a lamp on the wall behind the set. This will help soften that harsh contrast between the light and shadow in your field of vision.
- For your reading pleasure. Make your favorite book even better with glare-free, concentrated light. An adjustable lamp always works well.
- Quality and quantity. Anywhere between 2-10 sources suffice, depending upon your room's size and lighting needs. Combine both directional lamps and diffusers to give the best balance.
- Candles! Living light casts mysterious shadows, stirs your senses and radiates romance. There's nothing quite like it. Whether you place a cluster of staggering 'sticks upon your mantel or vased on your coffee table ... the more candles, the merrier. But avoid overindulging in scented candles or worse yet, befriending the dining table with them. Ever taste vanilla-flavored pasta before?
Good to Know!
The first time you light a candle, cut the wick to 1/4" and allow it to burn until the liquid wax covers the entire top of the candle. This breaking-in process ensures that the candle will burn more evenly throughout its life. To gauge the proper burn time for candles of different sizes, use the following rule: 1 hour of burn time for each inch of candle width.
Floating candles accent settings from dinner parties to backyard picnics. Create an extra-special lighting effect by floating candles in a clear glass bowl. Use distilled water to eliminate mineral buildup on the sides of the bowl.
What other furnishing works such wonders by just lying
around? Indeed, rugs can coordinate, complement, enhance and set the tone for your great room. Do you want an uncluttered, clean look? Or how 'bout a room rich with patterns and textures? Carefully consider these helpful hints to select the rug meant for your home.
- Size. Know your room's measurements, moreover the area you want to cover. Common rug sizes are about 46" x 65" and 65" x 91". A 92" x 130" rug or larger will likely cover an entire room. Smaller area and scatter rugs can gracefully adorn smaller spaces, such as a hearth or doorway. Remember, the rug has to fit the room - in more ways than one.
- Style. In today's rug world, you can choose from countless patterns and styles. Some examples include contemporary, Oriental, Persian and Native American. Do you favor fringe? Then make sure it's sewn on well. And watch out for its archenemy, the vacuum cleaner!
- Color. Again, the crown jewel of all decorating tools. Rugs can add color to your decor and furniture, rejuvenating the entire room. Or they can tie things together, creating harmony. Rugs don't have to match, but keep themes in mind. And remember, lightly colored rugs make a room look more spacious, while deeper colors lend coziness to a room.
- Material matters. Everyone wants a rug that'll cater to eyes and feet for years. The right combination of density and fiber will accomplish that. The denser the pile (with closer tufts or stitches), the better your rug will wear. For example, high-traffic areas such as hallways and foyers may work best with a durable, patterned rug. Synthetic yarns (nylon, polyester, acrylic and polypropylene) and the naturals (wool and cotton) remain durable, soft and easy to clean.
- We've got your area covered. So where are you putting it? Several factors play a role, like synergy. You may want to use a rug to unify the sofa and chairs, creating a "conversational cluster," as an interior decorator might say. Another factor - pattern. If your rug boasts a beautiful floral design, try sliding it beneath a coffee table that's sporting a floral arrangement. Also, keep in mind that those long runners don't have to patrol the hallway. Try laying one in front of the hearth for a nice look.
Good to Know!
Static electricity can lead to more than the occasional little shock. With more personal computers and electronic gadgets in homes than ever before, it can quickly become a serious problem. To remove static electricity from your carpets mix one part liquid fabric softener to five parts tap water in a spray bottle. Mist your carpets lightly and then let them dry. Repeat every couple of months. Running a humidifier may also help eliminate static shocks.
From your double-beveled-matted print of the seacoast to his
"trophy" largemouth bass, wall art can add depth, creativity and focus to the room. (Maybe fish stories, too!) Below are a few tips to help sharpen that focus.
- Facing the furniture. If possible, place your favorite piece on the wall facing the furniture. This approach allows everyone's eyes easier access. Plus, what if that waterfall portrait decides to take a plunge? Also, make sure your decor measures at least one-half as wide as the sofa beneath it, but not large enough to overshadow any furniture or other attractions.
- Eye-catching. A general rule of thumb: Hang artwork at eye level, or about 60" from the floor. On open walls, "eye level" means where your eye naturally rests when standing. For furniture-friendly walls, "eye level" means where your eye naturally sits when sitting. And remember to keep 5-10 inches of space between the top of your furniture and the bottom of your wall art.
- Group work. If you plan on hanging groups of artwork, keep larger pieces on bottom to prevent arrangements from being top heavy.
Heralded for their natural charm, these photo-enhancers create instant elegance. And there are so many looks to choose from! Like timeless traditional, which often features ornate carved wood. Or contemporary, spotlighting the splendor of matte silver. You can easily decorate your frames in groups by similar size, shape or color. On the other hand, perhaps you'll go with a geometric style, surrounding a large frame with several small ones. Whatever way, the table's the limit!
You notice instantly when a sofa or chair is clad with pillows. It cries oh, so cozy, especially in winter. You can capture this feeling easily with just a few plush pillows. The hard part is choosing between the wealth of colors, textures and styles!
- Casually strew a few on your furniture. Don't be afraid to leave them looking "messy."
- Prefer fabric that contrasts with furniture for extra brightness and style. Mix checks, prints and stripes accordingly.
- Big pillows can do double duty by standing in for alternative seating.
Your great room is the heart of your home. A paradigm of possibilities, it reflects your creativity, style and personality - make it great!