10 Questions Decorating Secrets From The N&O Design Team

Plan decor with overall color palette

April 25, 2013 

Sally Williams

Colorful Concepts Interior Design, Raleigh

919-846-8281 or colorfulconceptsinteriordesign.com

Design philosophy in 10 words: Timeless artistry, soulful color schemes, and crisp, optimistic environments.

Best decor bargain you’ve ever scored: Discovering the Triangle Orchid Society’s biannual orchid auctions. For $4 to $12 per orchid, I have acquired a collection that allows me to have beautiful blooms in my home almost all the time. As someone who does not have a green thumb, the best part for me is that for a small monthly fee, my plants are cared for at The Orchid Trail, which calls when one is in bloom and ready for me to bring home to enjoy.

Quick decor trick for the transition from winter to spring: Change your table centerpieces. Whether for your dining table, kitchen island or coffee table, your centerpiece can be a beautiful focal point and set a tone for the room. For spring, go for a centerpiece that is more light and airy, with flowers such as tulips or hydrangea. Consider including seashells and river rocks, or twigs and birds nests with pretty little eggs.

Creative way to dress a foyer table: A foyer table should help to welcome guests in to your home. Try a collection of family heirlooms on a mirrored tray, immediately letting visitors know that you are sharing your heritage with them. How about a small easel with welcoming words or an inspirational phrase of the day written on a small chalk board or with magnetic letters? A Magic 8 Ball can be lots of fun, inviting each guest to ask it a question – it’s irresistible and a great way to get conversation going! And a digital photo frame is an important touch, containing a small collection of photos of family and friends or your favorite travels.

Cute idea for a little girl’s room: A chandelier. Whether it’s beaded or sparkly or colorful or vintage white, it’s much more fabulous than that ceiling-mounted glass dome. If there is a fan that must stay in the center, consider hanging the chandelier above the nightstand instead. Hang it low enough that it will replace a table lamp – a very cute look!

Favorite design blog: themodernsybarite.com, “fresh perspectives on art + design for today’s interior.” New York interior designer and art adviser Richard Rabel posts original content on decorative elements and artistry that help fuel my design aesthetic.

Fun idea for a little boy’s room: Wall hooks above a bench, built-in and with storage. Helps to make quick clean-up fun!

Most overlooked spot to decorate: Ceilings! Don’t leave them a bright “ceiling white.” Select a color that is a bit warmer, such as a creamy off-white or light warm-gray, depending on your color palette. Here are some other ideas: Paint the ceiling a color that complements your room and add stencil work at each corner or around the perimeter. Or wallpaper the ceiling with a gorgeous silver or gold leaf-look paper. Dining rooms, foyers and powder rooms are excellent candidates for this approach. Another approach is to add woodwork. A beautiful frame or pattern can be created on a low ceiling with flat trim. For tall ceilings, consider adding deep coffers. In both cases, a contrasting paint color on the ceiling versus the woodwork adds interest and dimension. Beadboard is also a fantastic look on ceilings, whether painted or stained a natural wood tone.

Biggest design no-no: Not having an overall color palette selected for your home before buying furnishings, area rugs, etc. Select your wall colors first, keeping in mind the flow from room to room. Then you can confidently select upholstery fabrics and décor, knowing what will work well within the overall plan for your home.

My best tip for do-it-yourself designers: Plan! Know the space you have to work with and the optimum size of each piece of furniture before you shop. Remember space needed for tables and lamps, and traffic patterns. Download a space-plan app, or buy Chief Architect’s DIY Home Design Software starting at $59. Or draw your space on quarter-inch graph paper (one square = 1 square foot) and cut out templates of furniture, rugs, etc. to the same scale. It will be well worth it to save you from buying a custom sofa or a wall unit that does not work well in your room.

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