I am not very good at decorating. I can do okay with hanging a few pictures, matching bedspreads and wall paint, even picking out wallpaper on occasion, but when it came down to it, we hired decorators–formerly Main Street Interiors, now Black Dog Design House–and they were awesome. I’m afraid they’d be a little disappointed with the way we have cluttered things up again, but five years later we still love what they did.
In my new book, working title Suzanne’s Secrets, Suzanne Martin is an interior designer who has been hired by her ex-husband to decorate his newly purchased estate. Why would an arrogant, inconsiderate man hire his ex-wife? It has to be because she offers him something he can’t get elsewhere. She has to be extremely talented and unique in her approach. To break the rules, however, you have to know the rules, and that is where research comes in.
I can hardly call myself an expert after the little bit of reading and watching I have done, but here is what I have learned:
There are five principles to consider:
Space–the area between objects. Used space is positive space; unused space is negative.
from Country Living
Line–the outline of an object ; the way it divides the space. Lines can be horizontal, vertical, diagonal or curved. Vertical conveys power, dignity, masculinity. Horizontal is sturdy, calm and restful. Diagonal lines create activity and motion. Curved lines soften objects.
Texture–finishing, fabrics. Smooth=formal; Rough=informal
satin wool copper
Color–the most important factor, influences feeling and mood. Current trend is neutrals with bursts of color.
from Country Living
Also, with all due credit to Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and his BBC Design Rules series:
- height gives a sense of luxury; empty space a sense of wealth
- clutter makes a room seem smaller
- Windows attract the eye first: “What is the view?” Borrow the landscape with eye-catching objects outside.
- light conveys health and wealth
- too large of a space makes a person feel vulnerable, break it into sections
- 60-30-10 rule–60% of a dominant color; 30% of a secondary color; 10% of an accent color
- carpets absorb light; hard surfaces reflect light
- color changes based on light; consider the direction a room faces and the way the light will be at different times of the day
One more thing. There is a concept called the Golden Ratio. It’s found so regularly in nature, that its application in decorating gives a room an organic feeling that makes it peaceful and soothing. It’s a mathematical principle that I am not nearly qualified to describe, but basically it’s 2/3 for the main purpose of the room, and 1/3 for the secondary function.
These are the very, very simplified concepts I am going to work from describing Suzanne’s process. Next up…application.