INTERIORS

THE MOST COMMON DECORATING QUESTIONS ASKED AND ANSWERED

Get ready to take notes.

August 27, 2019

When you’re styling a new space, there are so many ways you can approach the design. You want to inject some personality and play around with current trends, but you also want it to be classic and stand the test of time. Even after months of thoughtful planning, it can still be a minefield of questions and intense decision-making. We’re frequently quizzed on these topics, from ‘What’s the best white paint colour’ to ‘What kind of sisal should I choose for my floorcovering’, and they are all incredibly valid questions. Here’s a list of the most common questions we receive.

HOW CAN I MAKE MY SPACE FEEL “LIGHT AND AIRY”?

If we’re being honest, “light and airy” is one of the most overused phrases in the interior design game. It feels like everyone wants a space that’s light, airy, and relaxing. What’s the alternative? Dark and cluttered? Hard pass. Usually, the people who ask this have spaces that are overcrowded and filled with dark furniture. And while creating a Nancy Meyers aesthetic may require some strategy and planning, light and airy vibes aren’t as hard to get as you’d think. Read more, ’10 Interior Tips To Happy Up Your Home.’

Start by opening your curtains, and blinds to let in as much natural light as possible. Lighten up with paint and pale upholstery.

Or ditch the curtains, which stop the eye from taking in the view outside, even if they don’t cover the whole window; and just add more “stuff” to the room. Eliminating them keeps the space simple. Then white it out: we all know of white paint’s reflective qualities. It opens up a room, making it feel light, calm and serene. Painting the walls and ceiling the same shade of white only enhances this cloud-like effect. And it serves to blur the boundaries between wall and ceiling, causing your eye to travel up, essentially making the ceiling seem higher. Read more, ’10 Designers Weigh In On The Best White Paint Colours.’

CAN I MIX TIMBERS IN A ROOM?

We are often asked this question when people are buying wooden furniture for their hardwood floors, and while the answer is mostly yes, too many try to match their timber furniture to their hardwood floors. But we believe there’s more beauty in the contrast. Have light floors? Go with a dark dining table, and vice versa. When in doubt, go with marble or metal instead.

WHAT IF MY FURNITURE DOESN’T FIT ON MY LIVING ROOM RUG?

You have two main options here. In an ideal world, all your furniture would fit on your living room rug. Realistically, this solution can get very pricey very quickly. As an alternative, make sure that at least the front legs of your furniture sit comfortably on the rug. Don’t be afraid to push your furniture closer together either; not everything should be backed against a wall. Read more, ‘Bringing the Living Room to Life.’

Make sure that at least the front legs of your furniture sit comfortably on the rug.

HOW DO I EMBRACE KITCHEN AND BATH TRENDS IN A NON-PERMANENT WAY, SO THE SPACE FEELS OF-THE-MOMENT NOW, BUT AVOIDS LOOKING DATED IN THE FUTURE?

Keep the cabinetry and tiles simple and classic, and indulge in a trend via lighting, hardware, textiles or bar stools. These elements can take a plain-Jane kitchen and jazz it up, and when you’re ready to update, they’ll be relatively easy to swap for something new again.

WHAT’S BETTER TO USE FOR KITCHEN FLOORING: TIMBER OR TILES?

We love continuing wood floor into the kitchen. It creates better flow throughout your home and makes the space feel larger, rather than transitioning to tile in certain spaces. Whenever you switch flooring material, it catches your eye and breaks up the space. Just be careful to clean up spills in a timely manner in the kitchen so you don’t damage the wood floors.

HOW DO I UPDATE MY HOME USING THE LATEST TRENDS WITHOUT GOING OVERBOARD?

Introduce trends via small accents, such as throw cushions, a vase, or a table lamp first to test how it will work in the space. Consider layers, too. If you want to combine midcentury with tribal, an easy way to style the two trends side by side is to opt for a midcentury base (think chairs, dining table, etc.) and culturally inspired accents. It’ll also give you more flexibility to swap these accents with another style when the room needs an update.

HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT ART FOR MY INTERIOR?

Consider the colour palette of the room. People often select art that is in line with a room’s main accent colour, but that can look over-styled and obvious. Instead, opt for a colour that appears in a subtle way. If you have a navy sofa with a burnt-orange throw, look for art that picks up on that earthy color. Read more, ‘How to Start an Art Collection.’

Consider the colour palette of the room when choosing art for your interior, or opt for a colour that appears in a subtle way.

WHAT IS THE KEY TO DECORATING SUCCESSFULLY WITH CUSHIONS? (MINE NEVER LOOK RIGHT!)

Choose one décor trend (minimalist, geometric, monochromatic), and pick one to three statement throw cushions that are print-heavy and trend-driven. Next, balance these with throw cushions that adhere to the same colour theme but are less chaotic. Always choose uneven numbers so the space looks thrown together and not too calculated.

I WANT TO ADD COLOUR TO MY HOME BUT AN NEVER ABOUT TAKING THE PLUNGE. WHERE DO I START?

 The quickest way of adding colour is with curtains, cushion, art or accessories. These items can be changed with the season and are not a large commitment.

Another great way to integrate colour is an accent chair that can be reupholstered if you change your mind down the line.

SHOULD EVERYTHING MATCH PERFECTLY SUCH AS WALLPAPERS AND RUGS?

The variety of shades and hues is what makes a space feel layered, curated, and complex—if things are too matchy-matchy the design won’t have enough depth. Read more, ‘Improve Your Mood With These 50 Top Decorating Tips.’

Do: Colour-code books or arrange books with similar covers together. Don’t: Overdo it. Too many books stacked perfectly will look too “done.” The aim is to make the coffee table books appear neat and chic but also inviting for guests to sit down and take a look through them. Do: Style a coffee table or book case with found objects, such as a statement vase, a sculpture, or a beautiful keepsake. Do: Use trays to arrange books and items.

related stories

Living By Design

MP

Don’t miss the style set’s fave newsletter

Get Melissa's weekly rundown of where top interior designers source their things and find inspiration - that will instantly transform your pad.

Close and please don't show again