Wednesday, March 11, 2009

5 Decorating Tips for a More Beautiful Room

Southern Accents Photo Antoine bootz Designer Bobbi Smith

(Southern Accents: Photo: Antoine Bootz, Designer: Bobbi Smith)

I’ve noticed over the years when doing consultations and visiting homes, that there are a few things that jump out at me when I look at a space. Things that could be improved upon with just a little work and effort. These are just ways to enhance your room and make it better. So, let’s get started with the first one.

1. Hang your drapes as high as you can.

One thing I learned a few years ago when I started having drapes made and hanging them up was this, hang them as high as you can and wider than the window. All the way to the crown molding. Picture #1 is a good example of how it looks to hang your drapes all the way up to the crown. Also notice that the window panel skims the outside of the window frame and doesn’t block the window itself. If you hang ‘em high and take them out wider than the windows, it really gives the illusion of much bigger windows and lets in a lot of light. You don’t want to block that beautiful light. I’ve done this in my house on all the windows and it really works! Gives those windows much more presence and importance.

Coastal Living Photo Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

(Coastal Living: Photo Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn)

2. Hang your artwork lower than you might think.

There’s nothing worse than walking in a home and seeing art hung WAY up high, so you’re looking up to see it. Artwork should be hung at eye level and I know that everyone’s eye level is different, but I usually err on the low side instead of the high side when it comes to placing artwork on a wall. The above pic shows how bringing the art down with the seating group really works well. It feels like part of the grouping and not like it’s floating above. When hanging art over something like a console table or sofa, I think the rule of thumb is about 5-6” above the item that it’s hanging over. This seems to work well and keeps the grouping cohesive.

Cottage Living Photo Tria Giovan

(Cottage Living: Photo Tria Giovan)

3. Mix the room with textures.

What makes a beautiful room? Mixing up the texture is a great way to add lots of interest to your room. If you have a room that’s all soft fabrics, then everything will look and feel the same and you won’t have that energy of different textures around the room that makes a beautiful room work. There are all sorts of ways to add texture. See the above pic, with the soft fabric on the sofa, lots of colorful pillows, and a seagrass rug and bamboo blinds? Mixing up that texture really makes the room pretty and interesting. This is one of my favorite inspiration pics. I just love the feel of this room. Notice how the drapery panels are hung almost all the way to the ceiling in this room too. Think about mixing up furniture pieces too: glass, iron, wood, there's room for all of these things in the same room. In my livingroom, I added a glass and iron coffee table in with the 3 wood side tables to mix it up. You can have too much of a good thing sometimes, so get out of the matchy-matchy mentality.

The pic below is also a great example of mixing up textures, with the soft fabric on the sofa, pillows that bring in other texture and pattern, the leather ottoman, and rattan chairs. The striped rug feels casual with a cotton look to it and mixes well with all the other elements in the room. Even the large urns with plants add some extra texture to the room. So, don’t forget to mix up the textures in your room to make it more exciting!

Coastal Living Harry Taylor

(Coastal Living: Harry Taylor)

Coastal Living Photo Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn Stylist Tracey Rapisardi Designer Lisa Knowlton

(Coastal Living: Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn, Stylist: Tracey Rapisardi, Designer: Lisa Knowlton)

4. Group your accessories in 3’s or 5’s.

This has been the advice from designers for many years and it just seems to work. Something about those groupings just are visually more appealing and it makes for a nice feel and look to a room. So,think about that when you are putting together a vignette on a table, sideboard, or bookcase. I don’t always follow this rule, but it does work. Notice above on top of the bookcase, the designer has grouped 3 pottery pieces. This would not have worked as well with 2 or 4, but 3 is the magic number. You can see that for the most part, the other groupings are also in 3’s or 5’s (some with 2 like items acting as one).

Also, one thing I've been working on in my own home is using larger accessories instead of many smaller ones. That is a much better look too and things don't look as cluttered. I'm not a minimalist, as I've often said, but those bigger pieces are much more visually appealing.

Coastal Living Jean Allsopp

(Coastal Living: Jean Allsopp)

5. Rugs either too small or floating in the middle of the floor.

I’ve seen this one a lot, as many people just don’t know how to choose a rug size to work in their room. I most always will choose a rug to fit a furniture grouping and have that grouping around the rug (as shown above). You can see the chair and sofa are on the edge of the rug, as is the ottoman in front of the fireplace, so the rug grounds the furniture seating area. A too small rug will just look lost and one that is floating way out in the middle of the room just looks out of place. The rule of thumb that I’ve found works is to have the front feet or legs of your furniture sit on top of the rug and it’s fine for the back legs to be off the rug. It’s just visually a good look.

I hope these 5 little tips help you to make your room better. These are just a few observations that I’ve had over the years in my own home and I think by paying attention to the details, your room can look so much better. It’s not any harder or more expensive to change these small things, but they can have a tremendous impact to the final look of your space.

Happy Decorating! Did you notice my Tumblr link to the right? As I browse around blogland and find fun posts to share, I'll save them there, so check it out periodically for inspiration and ideas.

Don't forget the pillow giveaway going on in the post below. Contest closes Thursday evening at 6 p.m. Central time. Winner will be announced on Friday! Don't miss your chance to win a stylish new pillow.

And ladies, one week from today, I'm having a Spring Fluffing party, so get your party links ready. Since Spring is just around the corner, it's time to add a little Spring to our homes, and share the inspiration. Get out those birdsnests, eggs, bunnies, and moss and spruce up a little corner of your home to share. You know I always redo my foyer table for the seasons and I have to come up with a fresh new look this year, so I'll be sharing that! All by raiding my stash closet and the rest of the house, I won't be buying new stuff. Here's the button, so feel free to share it!

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74 friends stopped by:

kathi said...

Hi Rhoda,
This is a great post! That second photo has given me inspiration for MY living room. I have a large armoire like that and have been trying to figure out what art to hang on either side of it... I like they way these two pieces are hung above each other - an lower than I might have done. Looks great! I also have a chair like the one in the corner. Had a palm tree behind it but it died. Alas, time for another big plant!?

Bella Casa said...

I'm so glad I finally learned that trick about hanging curtains higher, it does look so much better. I hang them as wide as I can, too. Hey, when I get hooked on something, I go all out like that ;)

Beautiful photos and wonderful tips!

The Bramble Patch said...

I so agree with you on the tips! So nice of you to share those here and your example pictures are perfect! I love seeing those; great inspiration pics.

Hope you and everyone has a nice day!

jidgede said...

i just love love love your blog.....i am a 60 year old grandmother in west tennessee, and i enjoy every subject you post about....especially decorating, your trips and food......loved that one you did when you drove through an old neighborhood in your area.....love the one today because these are ideas i can use....have a blessed day and keep up the good work!!!!! jennie in tn <><

Chris said...

I follow every single one of these rules, and it makes such a difference. So much so, that I notice it at other people's homes if they don't. Bad-I know. The pics you used were just perfect. I loved every one.

Kimm at Reinvented said...

Thanks for some great tips! Or rules, I should say, because those should be gospel. I especially love mixing textures, and I think that's one that a lot of people don't think of. I like to also add some sparkle to every room!

Susie from Bienvenue said...

Wonderful tips! My fav is the picture position. Because Im only 5 foot tall everything seems to be too high. I always use a rule of thumb,if its a bit high for me...it's just perfect! Also I always wondered about my rug..just how far to place my furniture on top.. great questions... wonderful answers! As always Miss Rhoda, you rock~

southerninspiration said...

Great tips to point out....I love ALL the rooms you showed!! I'll look forward to the Fluffing Party!

Suzanne

Living with Lindsay said...

I'm totally guilty of hanging my artwork too high. I'm 5'8", so eye level for me is not eye level for most.

Lisa said...

Thanx for the great tips! You did a wonderful job of representing all decorating styles. Cottage, traditional,beachy chic... Love the soft color palettes!

Phillips Phamily Mama said...

Love this post! So funny...I have the third picture in MY "book of dreams", too!

Kristi said...

That was great, Rhoda. Please do more of those tutorials! :)

Nancy said...

Great post. I would love to live
in that first picture!

Carmen said...

Great tips! I love all the photos, especially the one with the printed curtains. I am going to use that as an inspiration for MY living room. I also added your button to my blog. :)

Carrie said...

Those are great rules to live by. And that 2nd room, with the bamboo shades and drapes and dusty blue walls - lovely!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Great tips! Thanks, Rhoda.

XO,

Sheila :-)

niartist said...

Rhoda, Thanks for the helpful hints! :) I follow all of them, but in this house I don't hang my curtains at the highest point of the wall. The molding here is really a feature - and if Scott had it his way, he'd have no curtains at all. So, alas, they're hung where the antique rods once were placed so no further damage is done to the wood or plaster. I love the look though, and completely agree with the suggestion!

Melanie said...

The tips are great!

I was so happy to see picture #2. that's exacly how my living room is laid out and its funny to see it another way.

Susan Lang @ Designing Your Dream Home said...

Recently I had my ticket and the program for the Presidential Debate held in Nashville between McCain and Obama framed. Since hanging it, that little voice in my head keeps telling me it is too high. After reading your wonderful blog, especially tip #2, I will lower the piece TODAY! Thanks for the shove.

SoBella Creations said...

Thanks for all the great tips!

Army Officer Wife said...

Love your blog! Thank you for the wonderful tips! I am moving into a new apartment in 2 months and have saved a copy of this post to remember when I am decorating! I can't wait to decorate now!

duchess said...

All great tips & I'm in love with that 3rd room. It's been one of my favorites for a while.

Kim @ Forever Wherever said...

Great post! Thanks for the tips Rhoda!
~Kim

marty39 said...

These seem so basic and yet make such a huge difference. Great post and so well explained and the pics you showed are great examples and inspiration. Hugs, Marty

Wendy said...

Thank you for the decorating tips, especially the one about hanging curtains!!! I really appreciate the illustrations...it helps me
visualize what you mean.
Warm regards,
Wendy

Mary said...

Great tips, Rhoda! I was often castigated on RMS for hanging art at eye height next to the loveseat in my bedroom. But it just always felt right to be able to see it when seated... so thanks for validating my style! lol
xoxo,
Mary

OldBagNewTricks said...

Terrific tips -- I especially take note of hanging the draperies as high as possible -- hanging them lower lends to a room looking "squatty". I didn't hang mine wide in this house or I would have entirely lost my walls!

Let me invite you to come see what I've finally done in my house this past year. I've posted the process of my living room and dining room.

Jenny

Joanna said...

I can't wait for the party! I am getting all my Easter and spring stuff out now!!

I am picky when it comes to rugs, so we hardly use them, the one in our living room took forever to find because I wanted just the right size, in just the right texture!

Thank you for sharing all these wonderful tips! I will looking around the house to see where I can improve.

Darlene - Our Creative Life said...

Great tips Rhoda! I'll start fluffing for spring so i can participate in your party on the 18th!

Songbirdtiff said...

If there is any benefit to being short, it is that I never hang things too high. Especially mirrors. :)

I do need to work on my curtains, I could make some changes and hang them higher.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Picture number one is so me...I love that room. I so agree with these tips. I have never understood why one would hang their pics/art so close to the ceiling. I wonder how that started?

Also I need that coffee table in pic number 3 for our new familyroom...love it !! I wish I could make your pics bigger to really get a good gawk in (lol) !!!

I can't wait to fluff for Spring...I won't start until the end of this month..I keep my "green" up. Then for the month of April I will do my Easter/Spring thing, last year with Easter so early it threw me for a loop....

Cute button Rhoda,
Kathy :)

Sarah said...

Thank you for the tips! This is perfect timing as we are about to redo our bedroom and I need to get new curtain rods and I plan to hang them closer to the ceiling now and also make sure I buy more fabric to make the curtains!

Great tips!!! I appreciate them!

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

This is a great post - I've got the major things in my home, now I'm just trying to "cozy" it up. thanks.
Laurel

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your tips... I'm interested in which granite you decided on...I found your blog while
shopping for ideas on counter tops..I too have white cabinets and have brought home 2 of the same samples for my kitchen...it is sooo
hard to visualize it in my kitchen..

Missy said...

also, thanks for all the pictures..they are very helpful!

Missy in Meridian :)

Runner Mom said...

Great tips! I knew some of them, but also got some new ides! Thanks so much!!

A sping fluffinig par-tay sounds like fun!!

Hugs!
Susan

mrsjones6 said...

Great ideas and wonderful inspiration! We are trying so hard to make our house into a home and your blog offers such wonderful inspriation for me.
The spring fluffing party sounds like fun!
Have a wonderful Wednesday,
Jennifer

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Missy, I think it was you asking about the granite I decided on. I posted that a couple posts back on Sat., I think it was, but I'll just tell you that Napoli came out the winner. It will be about a month before it's all done, but I can't wait.

So glad you all are liking these tips. They are just some basics to keep in mind, but really do make a lot of sense & can change the look of a room.

Linda said...

Rhoda,
You always have such great ideas, and these 5 (with pictures) are definitely winners. Thank you so much for sharing tips we can use. Linda

Ali said...

Great post, thanks for sharing these tips! I just recently found your blog and am really loving it! Thanks for all of your inspiration =)

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

Great post! So true!

momof3girls said...

What great tips (as well as beautiful pictures) I always have to remind myself about texture - it does not come to me natural. I always think matchy, matchy.

Sofia Striffler said...

Rhoda great post. I do all the tips and they work really well. Thanks for sharing your ideas with us.
I to talk to you again soon

Helen said...

It's always good to get a refresher course in decorating do's. Yours are the best!

HeathahLee said...

I always want to hang art too high on the wall...I have to make a conscious effort to bring it down! Thanks for these tips, Rhoda!

Allidink said...

Wow thanks for the tips! I love the look of those drapes.

All the best,
Allison

An Accomplished Woman said...

What a beautiful post!!!

Thanks for the inspiration.

Cynthia

Carolyn said...

Great tips and I loved all the photos too!
Carolyn

Christi said...

Thanks for the tips. I had to laugh when I read about where to hand the artwork. This is always a bone of contention in my house. I am 5'6" and my husband is 6'6". I'm always telling him that my eye level is more normal than his - ha, ha! Luckily, he gives up before me on this one.

Linda said...

Thanks for all the idea Rhoda. Hope you are doing well.
Blessings,
Linda

Rue said...

Hi Rhoda :)

Wonderful suggestions! I really need to work on texture.

A small rug always drives me crazy when I see it in people's homes, like it's an island LOL

Oh and I normally hang my drapes that way, but just like niartist I have large moldings in this old house, so it doesn't work, but I do love the look :)

I'll see if I can get my act together for the Spring party. So far all I have out are two bunnies :)

hugs,
rue

Cottage Rose said...

Hi Rhoda; Thank you for all the great decorating ideas. I will be going though my house room by room tomorrow, and put some of your ideas to work....

Hugs;
Alaura

KMfamily ;-) said...

Wonderful & very informational post.
I will certainly keep this in mind.
Great post!
cant wait to see all the srping fluffing too

Amanda said...

Great information and beautiful photos. Thank you Rhoda!

I'll have to be sure and thank my mother. She's not a designer, but always taught me to group things in 3's and 5's AND to hang my artwork lower than I would think. Good job mom!

Cathy said...

I love them all!! Thank you for sharing all of these beautiful rooms.

{{Hugs}}

Cathy

Lizzie said...

Such lovely pictures- I loved the coastal rooms the best. So serene!

The Nester said...

Fantastic post, Rhoda!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Yes, YES! Times 5.

Tommie Jo~TJs Sweet Home said...

We are on the lookout for a great drapery person at this very moment! Great tips!

Desiree said...

Great post Rhoda, I'm still on the lookout for a sea grass/sisal rug with a black border to change the texture of my LR for the spring/summer. Loved the photos you shared.
Desiree

Erin said...

Great tips! I made sure to read through them all!

Julie said...

That was a great post. I want the room in the first picture!

Inspired Kara said...

GREAT tips! Can't wait for the spring fluffing party! I've been working on springing up my bedroom!

DESIGN BY CATHLEEN said...

Great Advice! My biggest pet peeve is pictures too high or too low! Ugg I can hardly hold my tongue on that one...

xoxo,
Cathleen

Mary said...

Hi Rhoda - thanks for the great tips and pics. I definitely agree about the drapes and pictures, in fact everything.

I've just posted the dining room makeover - stop by and tell me if I got it - English country to country French, ha! See what happens after a month in France!!!!

Hugs - Mary

P.S. Still have to do linen drapes and old velvet chair seats.

Jo Draven said...

I love this post, Rhoda. All the information was new to me, but my favourite tip was about textures.

For your poster, Desiree, who's looking for a sisal rug with a black border. I saw many different sizes at Pottery Barn. Maybe she could check it out.

Cheers!

peterK said...

Great tips and very valuable advice. Love the beautiful photos. Absolutely fab.

Jessica said...

I love your post, as usual. You're blog is so informative and inspirational! I want to live in every room in the post...wish, wish, wish...aaahhh.

morethanthestarsinthesky said...

Love your ideas Rhoda! Thanks for the great tips.

Rose said...

Great examples to demonstrate these tried-and-true tips, Rhoda! And the tips are so well-written, too. The rooms are beautifully staged for the magazines. I have a too-small rug; just can't afford to get one the right size. I'm debating whether it's better to just have no rug at all than to have a too-small rug, but I like the texture it brings to the wood floors. Some day, the budget will allow for a right-size rug.

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

Yes! Tip #1 about the curtains can really transform a ranch house with high/small 1950's windows.

(ask me how I know!)

Rhoda, I love your new look here. so clean and bright. It really showcases your photos.

Rona's Home Page said...

Thanks to Nesting Place for providing a link.
I appreciate the tips. I'll definitely be implementing the 3/5 grouping.
I wasn't planning on adding curtains since we're only living in our apartment for a year.

KarenB said...

This is a great post Rhoda. Your Cottage Living photo is one of my absolute favorites also, along with the rest of that cute little cottage. I'm going to send this link to a decorating-challenged friend who needs advice on rug sizing. Thanks so much.

Rose said...

Thank you Rhoda! I am saving this to help me learn all this stuff because I have the hardest time decorating. It takes me wayyyyy longer than it should because I get so frusterated with it because I don't know what to do or can't figure it out. I have me a folder that I am saving stuff in so I can go refer back to it. I am a visual person so when I see it I can do it. That is most of the time. lol
I appreciate you taking your time to explain this to all of us. You are a busy woman and it sure is nice of you to do this for us! Thank you again!!!!