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Furniture & Home Decor

Don't be afraid to mix furniture styles and finishes within one room or space. Most homes that are expensively decorated do not have matching pieces of furniture, but have unique pieces that compliment each other. An eclectic design style may seem to some as the easiest style to pull off, because anything goes. To others, a traditional room is the simplest, because there are rules and guidelines to follow. Whatever your style, the following tips on using color on furniture will help you make decisions.

Tips On Selecting Furniture

  • For seating, a textured or patterned upholstery is best to hide soil and can also pull together your color scheme. However, a solid color or small print upholstery will make the room look larger.
  • Small patterns and muted colors on furniture will create a more restful environment, while bold patterns and vivid colors will create a room full of energy.
  • Furniture that is upholstered in dark colors, heavy textured fabric or skirted with fabric will look more massive and can crowd a small room.
  • Furniture in light colors, smooth textures and exposed legs will tend to give even a small room a light, airy appearance.
  • If you would love a white sofa, but have small children or pets that make it impractical, use white accent pillows and throws on a neutral beige sofa instead.

We love our pets and hate to tell them no. The owner of this dog should have
an upholstery in a dark brown print to disguise pet hairs. I don't think
I would want to be the one to say "Down Boy" to this dog.
  • If you can't replace or reupholster a sofa or chair but want to change the room's color scheme, consider using a slipcover over the existing fabric. A cover will give the seating a new look and is easily removed and washed as needed.
  • All the wood on furniture in one room does not have to match exactly, in fact, it usually looks more interesting to have a mix of woods and stains. Just make sure the woods undertones complement each other. The orange undertones of oak next to the burgundy undertones of mahogany may not blend well to your eye.
  • If you have a piece of furniture or a rug that you just cannot toss out because of cost or sentimental value (but the color is limiting to your new color scheme), move it to another room and go ahead and design the room you envisioned.
  • The home decor items you have decided to keep in a room deserve your full attention to make them work and blend with your new color scheme. If you are going to fight the color - move the furniture into another room!
  • If you own upholstered furniture in a color that you would prefer to change, but can't, you can use an attractive chenille or wool throw across the chair in a color you prefer. You can also position accent pillows to compliment both the throw and the upholstery.

This eclectic room successfully mixes wicker and formal dining room chairs. It
is a wonderful room that is warm and inviting.

Tips on Furniture Placement in the Living Room

  • If a corner of the room is bare, add a tall potted tree with an uplight positioned underneath it. It will instantly make the room seem much warmer and the uplight will create interesting shadows on the ceiling.

  • Make sure that your path of travel through the room is not blocked by part of a furniture grouping.
  • If you want to place a sofa in the middle of the room (not against a wall), use a sofa table at the back of the sofa to visually anchor it down.
  • Always have a table or flat surface within reach of all seating. Even if it is a very small table.

This seating arrangement has plenty of tables nearby to hold lamps, drinks and magazines.

  • If you need additional lighting near a chair and a table lamp won't work because the side table is too small, crowded or is a coffee table - add a floor lamp. It will be a beautiful and functional addition to your home decor.
  • When positioning a small desk or computer area, allow a minimum of 30" out from the edge of the desk for chair movement.
  • Don't leave the large space necessary behind a recliner chair completely empty. Try to use a tall potted plant or large scale floor lamp to fill the space, making sure that when the chair is in full recline - that it doesn't hit anything behind it.
  • The wall space over a sofa is ideal for a large scale piece of artwork. Try to visually balance the size of the sofa with the size of the art.
  • Determine one focal point in your room - unless it is a very large room and then you can sometimes get away with two. A focal point is the direction that the main grouping of furniture is facing. It may be a fireplace or a TV cabinet, etc. It is ideal if you have both a fireplace and TV in a room to position the seating so that both can be comfortably viewed at the same time.

The fireplace is definitely the focal point in this room.
  • Try to use only one type of "metal" in a space. For instance, if you have accents of shiny brass, go with brass planters, light fixtures, etc.
  • Area rugs look nice when placed just underneath furniture groupings, as in the image below.

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