Decorating Your Home
It’s not for the chicken hearted!
I just opened this morning’s New York Times to the travel section and there it was; an article entitled A Once-in-a-Lifetime Splurge. The title itself and the photos of luxurious hotel suites inspired me to start typing.
Most people I meet have never used a decorator; have never had anyone with any real design talent help them select their furnishings. (Your mother or girlfriends don’t count.) Most of my clients have a conglomeration of items from either their first apartment, hand-me-downs from parents or items they selected over time by winging it.
Creating a beautiful, comfortable home takes more effort and preparation than flying by the seat of your pants. Coordinating the sizes of pieces as they relate to the architecture of the room and to each other is the basis of all good design. I must tell you right here this comes naturally to me. I have a brain for seeing three dimensional spaces in my head. As soon as I walk into a room I know exactly what the basic arrangement will be. That god given ability along with my trusty old 33’ Stanley tape measure will help me to measure, layout and describe a furniture arrangement that any man or woman can understand.
But here is an important element of decorating I want to tell you about; it is the quality of the furnishings you purchase that makes the difference. Let me say right here that there are plenty of stores to shop in where you can either spend tons of money or very small amounts. You don’t need to bother with either one of these options.
(A client recently asked me what I would buy at one particular store he had in mind. My answer was, “dishtowels, jar of pesto, double boiler”.) Get it?
Let me address one more store here in town that does lots of advertising on the television. And on the tube their stuff looks great but in person? – it’s a whole different ball game. Here’s what happened: after several clients asked me my opinion about this particular store I decided it was time to go in and take look around for myself. I did a quick tour of the place, asked a couple of questions of a sales person, felt the merchandise and then I started to itch! Not literally but I just had to get the heck out of there! I can’t stand cheap-a crap-a!
I believe in buying quality furnishings at a good price. One thing you need to know about me is that I am a practical woman who has made careful decisions of where to spend my money over the years. I love my home and love buying for it but the basic items in it I have had for years. In fact, my joke is that I won’t tell anyone how long I’ve had my dining room set because it will give away my age!
Not that I haven’t bought some new items over the years because I have. Each home I have lived in has required some new piece, for a large spacious foyer for example, or a couple of new chairs. But the basic items in my home I have had for a long time. And the reason is because I bought good quality anchor pieces for the room and then arranged the other pieces around them to fit the size and layout of the room.
Here is my philosophy in a nutshell: always buy the best you can afford but certainly avoid the cheap stuff. When you have a plan, which I make for my clients, you will spend your money purchasing items in a particular order. You don’t buy the lamps or end tables until you know what the sofa and chairs look like. But my number one rule is: you always put your money into your seating. Cheap seating really bugs me. Cheap seating will show the wear in a matter of a couple of years at best. Sagging seats are not what I consider to be a good look for a room. Put your money into your seating and I can help you save on the other items.
I know quality when I see it. I know most of the manufacturers and I know what will last and what won’t. I know where to shop for the best deals on the finest furniture and I know when it’s time to make a stop at the local consignment stores and have a look around. Yes, the consignment stores. This is not going to get your home furnished in any short amount of time but I like to peruse them when I’m in the area. On occasion I will find some item that is the perfect fit for a client’s home. A recent example: a great pair of mercury glass lamps with killer shades on them; perfect for my gentleman’s office.
Last but not least you need to know that I always work with what a client already has. Part of being a practical girl means I don’t believe in throwing out a good piece that is either important to you or can provide that certain accent, that bit of individuality that makes a home unique and interesting. In short, save what you can if it works. Spend the longer dollar on the pieces that get the most usage. Save on other items and you will end up with a home that exudes warmth, character and balance and harmony.
I guess that sums it up for the moment. More later as the inspiration arrives!!