I had an interesting conversation today with a friend who had recently visited an acquaintance's newly built mansion-sized, newly decorated home. My friend said she felt as if she would jump out of skin at any moment. Every room was stuffed with furniture--and pillows; dishes displayed on the walls also crowded with paintings; and different styles and colors in each room. The rooms didn't flow. She was urged to see the upstairs rooms but felt blessed when an interruption prevented that tour.
Have you ever been to such a place? I have too. Now, there is a difference between those of us in the downsizing stage of our lives trying to fit our previous larger homes into comfortable, less maintenance homes, condos and apartments. (I'm saving this topic for a different post.) Deliberately buying a mansion-size home and filling every little space borders on, well, the ridiculous. How would you decorate such a space? Starting with a mansion-size dining room, here are some examples of NOT overly decorating your home--large or small.
You don't have to be rich to utilize the design principles in this decor. Just note how each piece makes its own significant statement in design. Yes, the furniture is unmistakably traditional which never really goes out of style. If you find traditional stuffy, remember it can fit well with other styles when added with limitations. How does this room flow so nicely? Space, space and more space. Color is limited to neutrals but with contrast between dark and light. There is plenty of places that give visual relief, as well as lots of places that are interesting--from the mural to the rugs and other patterns. Molding on the ceiling is fabulous, though I find the four grand chandeliers (and I love chandeliers) a bit overwhelming. Perhaps being in the room is necessary to feel the necessity of four of them.
Yes, clearly this all white room is quite the contrast of the Traditional Homes room of the first image both in size and purpose. And there isn't much wall space to clutter, just banks of windows from which to gaze outdoors. The design principle is very much the same as the. Note the simplicity of the window treatment? And the very attractive storage cabinets. Imagine keeping extra decor items that can rotate out into the room. Traditional style furniture is actually complemented by the boxy shape of the modern cabinets. Color and contrast bring them together. The wood flooring and sea-grass rug anchors the design scheme.
This NY Brooklyn apartment is in a beautiful blue monotone color scheme. It brings the high walls and narrow space down to eye level, and then it incorporates significant pieces of furniture. Each piece stands on its own in design with great bone structure and yet each piece complements the next one. There is lots of room on the walls to clutter but the owner settled on just a few fabulous paintings. No clutter, no overly done decorated space.
The next image shows a room that is really busy, busy. Yet, it works beautifully, I believe because its organized. It's dual purpose is clearly stated by clustering, that is, placement of important furniture pieces. The built in bookcase with it collections of photos and decor items is the focal point wonderfully stated. I could live and die in this room with all those wonderful books to read!
Even in a small space, a clustering of many pieces of furniture can be done successfully, as seen in the image above. The soft inviting neutral colors, mix of traditional with contemporary furnishings and decor items come together beautifully. You can easily imagine guests comfortably gathered in the space with its multiple exit room for traffic. Note too the collection and spacing of the paintings, wonderfully organized as well on the mantle. (Let me point out, Mr. Sikes, bless his heart, wasn't afraid to cushion the comfort of his guest with lots of decorative throw pillows!)
Whether you have a large budget or a limited one, overly decorating your home is an easy trap to fall into. You love every piece and want to show it off or just see and enjoy it yourself. Why not store some of those items, rotate displaying them, allow more space in the room, and give your guests a respite.
Have a lot of stuff in your home? How are controlling that over decorated look? Please do tell!