Every house should be a warm haven, a place where we throw off the cares of the world and relax with family and friends. From the kitchen where we launch our busy days to the bedrooms where we close our eyes at night and dream, we want each space to reflect our personal tastes and sensibilities. But we desire that our rooms be comfortable and practical. Pulling all the components together is a tall order, and yet it's also wonderfully rewarding. Use the home decorating tips we've provided here as inspiration, and create the kinds of rooms your loved ones will want to hurry home to enjoy.
To soften the modern edge of stainless steel, decorator Alisa Bloom put a traditional spin on the kitchen cabinetry of her 1920s Chicago penthouse with brass inlays. With the help of a local hardware maker, she even designed her own hinges and drawer pulls. “I would never go into a store and just buy something,” she says. “It’s all about the process and the hunt."
Front and back doors open directly into a two-story-high living room, where spruce-planked walls and wood beams salvaged from an 1890 Tennessee barn reflect the home’s rural setting and give the space a refined, barnlike feel. Interior decorator Phoebe Howard balanced the rustic elements with color. “I added an air of elegance with a soft color palette that reflects the surrounding sky and hills,” she says.
Instead of hanging a painting on a bare wall, accent it with a rich, velvet curtain background. "Curtains just create a great, calming energy in which you feel very shrouded and comforted, making for a luxurious and restful environment," says Framel. "And being able to put a really great pop of artwork in front of that textural colored backdrop has a lot of impact."
I used to have low ceilings. I bought track-style rods that hung from the ceiling and my curtains were on the clips she mentions in the article, making the curtains a couple inches off the ceiling. I also extended the track maybe 4 inches to each side to give the curtains a place to bunch up when I wanted to have a full window view/light. I had two tracks with sheers in back and heavier curtains in front. The extra space on the sides gave a place for all that fabric bulk to go. I may have even extended further… Read more »
Looking beyond the traditional with wallcoverings can create a truly standout design presence. "I do think I might have scared [architect Ken Linsteadt] a little bit when I announced I was planning to install two levels of green floral fabric on the walls of the grand salon," says Ken Fulk of his Sonoma Valley lakeside retreat, yet the fabric gives the high walls a richness that wallpaper alone might not have achieved.