Don't Take a Decorating Theme Too Far
Sometimes the accessories can be overwhelming; sports themes and children's rooms often end up being over-the-top instead of just fun and themed.
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When Matt and I start decorating a room, we try to select an inspiration piece during the early stages of the project. This inspiration piece, be it a bedspread or a piece of art, usually sets the tone for the room.
The tone is sometimes difficult to describe, so we attach a theme name to it. For instance, if our inspiration piece is a floral bedspread, depending on the style, we might make our theme "Monet's Garden." Can't you just picture that bedspread?
The flowers aren't very defined and seem to blend into one another, while the colors are soft but surprisingly intense. And isn't it easy to imagine what might fit into that bedroom? I picture white furniture, perhaps a wood floor with a lovely area rug. The walls might be in a soft spring green with a small diamond or leaf pattern, and sheers at the windows blowing in the breeze are a must.
Developing a theme name from an inspiration piece can make the entire process of decorating much easier and perhaps more successful. In fact, one of the toughest additions to any room is the accessories, and themes can make even this frustrating project a pleasure. Our Monet dream bedroom wouldn't be caught dead with roosters or American flags as accessories. However, soft candles, floral prints for the wall, live floral arrangements, porcelain teacups and saucers are all acceptable.
But there's a flip side to this miracle decorating cure — going too far. Recently, Matt and I decorated a child's room in the "moon and stars" theme. When we went shopping to look for items that would fit the theme, we were surprised by the number of fabrics depicting night skies and shooting stars. Then, in the accessory aisle, we couldn't believe the variety of moon and star products. There were star area rugs, some with a moon included, night-lights, table lamps and strings of moon and star lights. Even bookends, pillows, wall shelves, picture frames, knobs for dressers and mirrors for walls featured moons and stars.
Obviously, we didn't buy everything we saw, because aside from breaking the bank, it would have been just too much.
But when do you stop? Is the night-light OK? Is the star area rug over the top? Here's how we decided: we coaxed the child who lived in the room to point out the items that she couldn't live without.
In the end, we painted her walls in a soft blue that matched the background of a moon-and-stars border that surrounded the room. On the bed, we used a solid blue duvet cover, but we had to have the moon-and-stars sheet set that peeked out now and then when a pillow was exposed or the bed was turned down. We used sheer draperies with small moons and stars appliqued on over white pleated shades. The furniture was white with a couple of moon or star knobs on the nightstand and armoire.
We placed several yellow rectangular throw rugs on the hardwood floors, spruced up with a couple blue star rugs that overlapped for interest and color. We kept the night-light and one other paper moon and starlight as an accent, but the rest of the room was lit with brushed chrome-based lamps with white shades. The room was elegant and fun, colorful and subtle. It was a success because we knew not how to get started, but how and when to stop.
(Shari Hiller writes this column with Matt Fox. They also co-host the Home & Garden Television show Room by Room. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)
Eyvette Jones wants to transform her city apartment into an island retreat where she can enjoy time alone or entertain friends.