You and I both know that it’s really difficult to look great when we just throw some stuff on and “hope for the best”. But we do it and are often disappointed with the result. Then we look at that funky-dressed gal and wonder, “If she can do it, why can’t I? She just threw that together.”
The answer is because she didn’t just throw something on. I’m not talking about matchy-matchy, where everything was bought together; I’m talking about starting with one good piece and adding to it — creating a bit of a work of art. She understands balance, scale and repetition, color and what styles suit her. She has worked on this, probably for years, and it’s almost second nature to her now.
Decorating is like that too; it doesn’t just happen. It takes planning. And you need to understand a few design guidelines. Here’s repetition.
These days, a “well-decorated room” is one which doesn’t look decorated, but the guidelines still apply. Every “well decorated” room needs some repetition. It ties the elements together. It’s the similarity that makes the pieces look as though they belong in the same room. This room, (and all the others except the hockey room are from Houzz), uses a circular motif.
A scroll on the leg of the coffee table is repeated in the lamp bases and the chandelier. A leaf design on the cushion is found in the area rug and in the blind fabric. The painting of the garden in the bedroom is the foundation; one of the flowers is repeated in the floral arrangement on the dresser; the same flower shows up in a small collection of prints on another wall; one pillow features that flower in needlepoint.
This entry repeats diamonds. It’s so subtle it’s easy to miss, but image this entry with a curved carving in the staircase posts and an arch-shaped stain glass piece. It wouldn’t be nearly as pleasing, would it?
For a boy’s room — hockey — a jersey framed on the wall, the colors repeated in the area rug, the headboard made of hockey sticks and the favorite team’s crest stenciled on the lampshade.
You don’t have to repeat the item, sometimes just the subject matter is enough.
For a living room/dining room — the shape of the arms of the large black down-lighting oversized floor lamp repeated in the chandelier in the dining area and on the area rug under the dining table. The red in the area rug repeated in the cushions on the sofa and the dining room chair seats. The picture frames in the book case/rogues gallery are all black or red, or black and red.
Or one architectural element repeated: here it’s rectangles.
An element needs to be repeated at least three times. You can repeat it more often, but don’t overdo it. Like too many necklaces, or too much blush, sometimes less is more — but three times is the charm.
Here: triangles in the ceiling, the window, the bedframe, the shape of the table lamp shade and even the tiles are set so they look like triangles… And the sharp edges are buffered, just enough, by the round shades and pronounced curve on the side table legs.
New picture added to the ‘How to Choose Solar Shades‘ post.