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Frequently Asked Questions #7 thru #10

#7) How do I make a small room appear larger? #8) What do I do with a long, narrow room? #9) How do I make the colors in my home flow? #10) Have you or are you going to write a book?

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Frequently Asked Question #7: What can I do to make a small room appear larger?

There are several techniques known as "fool the eye" that give a smaller room the appearance of being larger. The basic principal of any technique is to keep the number of patterns in the room to a minimum of one or two. An abundance of pattern will overwhelm the room. One such use of minimal pattern is to choose a wallcovering and matching fabric for the bed treatments. Carry over that same pattern onto a chair, a bench and even the window treatments. It creates a smooth continuation that is appealing to the eye. Another visual trick is to choose a monotone color scheme in a neutral or pale color. For example, a room painted in taupe can be accented by different textures of fabrics in taupes and creams. Fabrics like brocades and velvets are rich in both texture and feel. Painting the ceiling can also add visual height and scale to the room. Choose a light or pale color, perhaps a lighter hue of the paint on the walls. An easy way to add subtle color to a ceiling is to choose a neutral shade from the room's color palette. Add one cup of paint in that color to one gallon of white or cream paint. This will also prevent the ceiling from looking as if it was been draped with a sheet. Avoid dark colors as they tend to lower ceilings and bring walls forward. Also, keep the scale of furnitue in relation to the size of the room. Too often,you see a room that has been filled with large ,overbearing pieces. This only tends to shrink the room even more. Instead of a standard size sofa, use a loveseat and two small club chairs. Instead of the standard large coffee table, use an end table that has been cut down to size. Mirrors are also another design trick used to create "space," but they must be used correctly or the look could be lost. They are best placed directly across from a window to take advantage of natural light. If this is not feasible, then try placing two mirrors across from each other on opposite walls, or place one to two lamps on each side of a large mirror as it will cast a reflection of the light emitting from the lamps. Make sure that the reflection in the mirror is a pleasant one. Nothing looks worse than to see the reflection of an air conditioner or metal grate. And finally, a lesson from the Victorians - allow the wallcovering to continue on the ceiling. This continuation makes the eye concentrate on pattern rather than scale. Victorians also used large scale patterns like floral chintzes with large cabbage roses. Don't be afraid of using a large scale wallpaper in a small room. Often, a small scale pattern has the opposite effect of what you would expect, it decreases the look of the size of the room.

Frequently Asked Question #8: What can I do with a long, narrow room?

Long, narrow rooms are actually easier to decorate than larger, open rooms. In fact, with the right furniture placement, a room of this scale can look much more warmer and cozier. The secret is creating smaller, individual areas within the room. Break the floor space up into a TV area, a conversation area, a reading nook, a desk/letter writing area, or a breakfast nook - just to name a few. Any of the these combinations will work. Use area rugs to define each section and anchor the furniture. Create a visual separation of the areas with furniture placement. For example, a couch with a sofa table placed behind creates a barrier yet does not close the area off. This works well especially when the room must support a family room and dining room. Rememeber- you only need about 18" of space to comfortably manuever around furniture. So, pull furniture away from walls into a cozier arangement. The use of mirrors is another way of expanding the narrow breadth of the room. A mirror placed across from a window works two-fold. It creates the illusion of space and reflects the natural light. Designate a corner for yourself for reading and relaxing - and steal a few minutes of your day just for you!

Fequently Asked Question #9: How do I create a color scheme so rooms in my home flow?

I have developed a technique that easily teaches you to build a color scheme. By using my "Every Other" method, you can be assured that your home will have a smooth, continuing color flow. This section is called "Building a Color Scheme." Building a Color Scheme Also, read the section under "Home Sweet Rented Home" called "Building a Reusable Color Scheme for more helpful hints. Building a Reusable Color Scheme
Frequently Asked Question #10: Have you or when are you going to write a book?

Thank you for the many e-mails asking when or if I have written a decorating book. I do not have any plans at the present for a book - although I have given it a lot of consideration and definitely have not ruled out that possibility. My dream is to see "The Everyday Decorator" on HGTV! Well....maybe some day!!!