Home Decorating Tips

Use Space Wisely | Displaying Art | Floral Arrangements


Making the Most of Limited Space

You don't need a ton of space or a huge budget to make your home feel spacious. Here are a few decorating tips and tricks to make the most of the space you have.

• Use soft white, pastel or neutral paint on walls and ceilings to reflect light. This will cause surfaces to recede from view and appear larger.

• Doors, trim and woodwork should be painted the same hue as walls. This makes the room seem unbroken and larger. Bright, bold colors can be used in artwork, furniture and accessories.

• Use the same floor, window and wall treatments in adjoining rooms to avoid breaking up the spaces.

• Keep furnishings in scale with the rooms. Try open-back chairs and a simple couch or love seat. Overstuffed furnishings can overpower a small space.

• Light rooms with recessed features that add brightness without dangling in view.

• Don't overfill displays such as shelves and cabinets. Sort knickknacks and keep only what you need and store the rest.

• Mirrors and other reflective surfaces make rooms appear larger.

• Glass-front cabinet doors help to reduce the appearance of clutter and make the room feel bigger.

• Tall plants, artwork and vertical stripes emphasize height. You can draw eyes upward with a flower arrangement on top of an armoire or display cabinet.

• Don't fill every bare spot in a room. Let the space speak for itself. Again, the idea is to avoid clutter and make the room feel more spacious.


Displaying Artwork

The key elements to displaying artwork are location, arrangement and a sense of order. Here are a few tips that may help.

• Pictures and artwork should be at either standing eye level or seated eye level depending on the layout of the room. Place paintings and photos where they won't be obscured by the head of a sitting person.

• Mount items no more than a foot above furnishings. If you must hang a picture higher try filling the gap with a vase or other some other decoration.

• Artwork should be grouped by color, subject or by matching frames or mats. Try varying shapes and sizes of items to add interest to your arrangement.

• Keep groupings in order by creating a geometric shape with the outer edges and plan for one or two straight lines to run through the arrangement.

• Arrangements in a V or inverted V shape tend to lead the eye smoothly.

• Before you start hammering try tracing around frames on a sheet of paper then mark where the hook is and cut out the form. Place the paper on the wall and find the perfect spot.


Liven Up Your Home with Flowers

Beautiful flowers can truely brighten a home. Arrangements don't even need to be elaborate. Just a single rose can can quite an effect.

• Arrange your flowers in clean containers or vases that will complement the flowers without being overbearing. You do not want a container to compete with the flowers for attention.

• Select a container that is proportionate to the size of the flowers, stem length and arrangement. For low containers, arrangements should be one to one and a half times as tall as the container's width. For tall containers, arrangements should be one and a quarter to twice the container's height.

• Once you're ready to arrange your flowers, re-cut the stems under water to the desired length. Preservatives are available at most garden centers or florists and will help keep flowers looking fresh for longer.

• Always use clean water for arrangements. When using a vase, change the water daily to avoid early wilting.

• Keep flowers in a cool location out of direct sunlight and drafts.