Why Not . . . Become Your Own Decorator?
Wednesday April 25, 2012

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In yesterday’s post This & That: No. 5, I recommended Susanna Salk’s recently released decor book Be Your Own Decorator: Taking Inspiration and Cues from Today’s Top Designers. With gorgeous images of rooms designed by top interior designers such as Mary McDonald, Nate Berkus, Kelly Wearstler, Charlotte Moss just to name a few, Susanna organizes her book as a suggestion. In other words, the images she has collected essentially beg the question, Why Not . . .? – use a bit of color, be aware of how furniture is arranged, or break a few decor rules and allow your books to be chaotically organized within a perfectly organized room.

So with her suggestions to consider when it comes to decorating a home, I began to make a list of my own tips that have served me well as I have over the years painted, remodeled or rearranged my apartments, houses, and various rooms.

Salk organizes her book into seven different chapters which focus on inspiring images in the following areas: color, mixing up styles, arrangement, balance, whimsy, accessorizing and rule-breaking.  With these chapters as the foundation for becoming your own decorator, below are a few more specific suggestions that I have found great success with as I continue to create my very own simply luxurious sanctuary:

1. Mirrors

Mirrors are a wonderful way to open up a space, add decor to a wall, the top of a shelf or above a console table. And since most of us don’t have money to spend on large pieces of original artwork, large mirrors in unique frames can be quite a bargain and still maintain the quality of a statement piece without making the room feel cluttered.

2. Different Textures

No matter what room you are decorating, always keep in mind the textures you are using. For example, your bedroom: include soft Egyptian cotton sheets and duvet cover (which are matte and simple), but then make sure your blanket and throw pillows are either made out of silk (shine) or cashmere, knit or something that provides great warmth. If the sofa you have in your living room is tufted, pair it with smooth surfaced pillows. As you would style your outfits, so too should you style your home – always keep in mind the pairing of different and complementary textures for balance and intrigue.

3. Neutrals

Having lived in a handful of apartments in my twenties as I moved from a different city and at times to a different states, and then moving from my first house to my second, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of neutral colors when it comes to walls, window treatments, floors and ceilings.  Whenever you have to sell your home, neutral walls not only make it easier to sell (as the buyer is more likely to see themselves living there), but they actually make it easier for you to change your mind when it comes to decorating.  If you have a neutral foundation, you can accessorize with unique, and colorful furniture and wall decor, knowing that it is easier to change your mind when the mood strikes.

4. Chandeliers

I am a firm believer that chandeliers should not be confined to the dining room.  Add a small one to your powder room, a gorgeous romantic chandelier in your master bedroom, or why not place one on your porch during the calm summer months (just an idea)? Chandeliers bring that extra element of regality and are perfect when you want to mix and match a very masculine look with a feminine touch, or a simple, austere room with a hint of luxury.

5. Trim/Crown Molding

A simple detail that is often overlooked is the trim along the floor and the crown molding along the ceiling. Such detail is akin to applying mascara – it pulls everything together seamlessly. There are many different widths and styles, and you also can paint them whatever accent color you feel would work best in a room. Trust me, it adds that finishing touch to any room.

6. Chairs as Conversation Pieces

Very few of my chairs were purchased at full retail price as the majority of them were found at yard sales, consignment shops or were brought into my life through friendly trades. While it is nice to have a matching set for your dining room, adding a chair to a vacant corner, or selecting a creative, yet comfortable reading chair for your office has the potential to be a simple, yet powerful conversational piece when it comes to the decor of any room.

With the foundational guidelines shared by Susanna Salk and these extra few tips, you are well on your way to creating a welcoming sanctuary that will provide comfort, speak of your signature style and certainly rejuvenate you for whatever tasks lay ahead.

All images via Susanna Salk’s book Become Your Own Decorator, except image #6 pinterest

3 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Become Your Own Decorator?

  1. It sounds like Salk’s book would be a very inspiring point to start a fabulous room!

    ….I wanted you to know…I am featuring Anita Rivera,Friend, Designer and Paper Artist with Castles Crowns & Cottages on my site!

    Art by Karena

  2. This post really got me thinking!

    Design is not something I naturally thrive at, probably because I err on the side of caution and also because I adore neutrals and quite a minimalist look – but seeing some of these photo’s has got me thinking… I’m pretty sure there is a part of my style that I’m not currently reflecting in my home.

    I may have to buy her book! 🙂 Just so you know, I really appreciate all the beautiful photos you take to illustrate your writing, it gives reading your writing an extra element of luxury for me,x

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