Your questions = Answered
This week is all about you, the people who read my blog and support what I do! Here are some of the questions that I get asked all the time; either by mail or in person. I hope you enjoy reading them, and that they will inspire you to continue decorating your life!
1. How can I create an uncluttered but chic and inexpensive window treatment. I currently have no curtains/blinds etc. in my living space because I just can’t decide. My trim is painted wood and my house is about 50 years old with high ceilings.
If you aren’t going the curtain route yet then I would buy inexpensive, neutral sheets that you love (measure your windows first so you know what size you need). Hem or fabric glue to the right length. Get copper or steel pipes (or wooden dowels that you stain)for curtain rods. Hang higher than your window and wider than your window to keep it looking casual but modern. Attach curtain clips to the top to hang sheets or, if the pocket is big enough, just thread the rods through the hem of the sheet.
2. I hate the color of my refrigerator. Can I paint it?
There is appliance spray paint on the market. I have never done it myself, and I know several people who have and were not thrilled with the result. I think it’s a large surface to cover evenly and professionally. If it was in the garage or basement I would attempt it with primer, paint and a brush or roller but probably not if it was in a very visible part of my kitchen. If you make a mistake your only solution is to keep painting……it’s never coming off.
3. If I don’t know what my style is how can I decorate?
I think we get too hung up on choosing a style or theme for our homes, which leaves to indecision and, therefore, nothing at all. When we decorate with a specific idea in mind it can look very deliberate and, unfortunately, boring. Ideally, rooms should be created over time. They should tell a story and reflect who you are now, with bits of your history scattered throughout. What makes you smile and what makes you cringe is a good indicator of what you should do! 4. How do I decorate my home with things that I don’t like but were given to me by people I care about (without hurting their feelings)?
Funnily enough this has come up a lot lately. My instinct is always to tell you to get rid of those things, but I know in reality it’s not always possible. If you have to have them in your home, put some thought into it. Maybe that gorgeously, horrible painting can go in a lesser used hallway, or the large, ornate vase that isn’t your style can hold laundry detergent capsules in your basement. Try to integrate it in a place where you are not looking at it constantly. Remember, if you have something in your home that you don’t like, and you are constantly looking at it, it will annoy you and put you in a bad mood (I know there’s a relationship joke in there somewhere, but I won’t say it out loud 🙂
5. How do I pick a paint color. My room is white and I want to change it, but I am afraid of making a mistake.
If you haven’t seen a color that inspires you (eg. I painted my kitchen based on the smallest piece of green that framed a painting that I love) then do whatever you can to visualize and create the look you want. Go online to one of these sites, you can play with color to see how they would look in a room.
Sherwin Williams: http://ttp//www.sherwin-williams.com/do_it_yourself/paint_colors/index.jsp
Benjamin Moore: http://http://www.benjaminmoore.com/bmpsweb/portals/bmps.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=fh_explorecolor&cachebuster=Fri
Behr Paints: http://http://www.behr.com/Behr/home
Also, look through decorating books at the library or the color leaflets in the Hardware store. These, while not exact, will help guide you in the right direction. One caveat, if you are painting a living area always go a bit darker than you think. It is better to make a statement, than to end up with a pastel room (unless you wanted that in the first place, of course).
6. Why do some decorators match their furniture and accessories and some don’t? When we match items they will always look more formal. Years ago it used to be a sign of wealth, and most accessories were sold and displayed in pairs. Unfortunately, our eye tends to get bored when identical items are spaced evenly, at the same height. We stop noticing them. A more classic approach is to arranged items symmetrically around a room, balancing them in scale, texture and color, rather than duplicating them. Our vision has to bounce around to take it all in, which makes for a more interesting room. Think co-ordination, not repetition.
7. None of my family photographs and frames match. I get new portraits and school pictures every year. I have them on the wall but it doesn’t seem to look right.
First of all, it is best to keep family photos in one spot, in a grouping. Plan what room you want them in. Start with a large photograph and hang it somewhere in the middle (about 5 foot about the floor). Add others around it, but keep them close together, never more than 2 inches apart. Hang them so that they overlap, don’t try to match them or keep them lined up. If you are not sure, lay them out on the floor and play with the composition and the scale. Your goal is to create an art grouping that can be added onto, not a hodge podge of indecision. If the frames have stands on the backs, either tape them down or rip them off, so they lay flat against the wall. Think of it as a living, changing piece of artwork.
8. How do I make my living room look more interesting? I have 2 sofas, 2 big chairs, a round coffee table and some pictures on the wall. It doesn’t seem finished and no-one really goes in there. Any ideas?
What about a bookcase or some shelves? Bookcases can add a ton of personality. They can showcase pictures, books, knick-knacks, children’s artwork, plants etc. Also, take a look at the texture and balance in your room; maybe you need to add some interesting pillows, a bowl of photographs on your coffee table or a floor/table lamp?
Thank you to everyone for sending in your questions! I have to end this blog with a very famous, but relevant quote from William Morris.
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”
For more by Wendy and the Blue Giraffe, go to: http://www.thebluegiraffe.com/