General Decorating Ideas

1. What feeling do you want from your room?

Regardless of the actual size of your room, there are many techniques to help you create a sense of spaciousness or coziness - depending on your personal desire.

You like it spacious or contemporary...

You love wide-open spaces. Maybe you want to bring the outside in or simply emphasize the openness of your room. You may prefer contemporary design and think of your decorating style as "light and airy". Here’s a few tips on achieving that sense of spaciousness.


To create a feeling of openness in your room, eliminate shadows that tend to cut a room up into smaller spaces. Try lighting the room with a soft, even light. Avoid ceiling lights, as they tend to make the ceiling feel lower. Diffused lighting will tend to enlarge the room.


Use soft, monochromatic color schemes. Cream, beige, gray or cool pastels on your walls and floors make them recede. The ceiling should always be the lightest color in the room.


Keep the walls and ceiling free of heavy textures. Smoother surfaces tend to reflect more light and make the room feel larger. For the floors, choose tile or stained concrete over patterned or textured carpeting. Reflective and shiny surfaces such as mirror and chrome also make the room feel more open.


Limit the use of patterns in the room to create a more airy feeling. A small application of pattern is appropriate in your accent pieces. Pillows, light window treatments or carefully selected table accessories like candles or sculptures are all good choices.


Selection and placement of furniture in a room is important in creating an open, contemporary space. Choose furniture colors that compliment those selected for the walls and floors. Select pieces that stand off the floor on legs and are made of materials that reflect or let light through. Use as few furniture pieces as possible in the room to avoid over crowding.

You desire a cozy, intimate feeling...

Your room is your nest, surrounded by warmth andinviting, cozy spaces. Here are some tips to consider when creating a more intimate space.


Create nooks through the use of directed light. Lighting from the ceiling will appear to lower it, enveloping the room and creating a more intimate atmosphere. A reading lamp will cast light down, highlighting a comfortable space. Use incandescent rather than halogen or florescent lamps to create a warmer glow.


Choose strong, even darker colors for your walls and floor. A dark floor of wood, carpet or area rugs combined with walls of brown, blue or green tones will create the feeling of a smaller, cozier space.


Heavy textures add warmth to a space. Heavily patterned throws on a sofa, plush pile carpeting and draperies are all textural elements to consider. Use rougher textures for the hard elements in the room; wood instead of chrome, brick instead of tile. Consider plastering a wall or using a faux finish to add texture to the room. There are numerous faux techniques available to add dimension and interest.


The use of strong patterns in a room can also convey a sense of coziness to the space. Oriental rugs, printed wallpapers, patterned upholstery; the more patterns in a room, the cozier it will feel. However, care must be taken when combining patterns so it’s not mis-matched or over done.


Choose dark finishes and fabrics to make furniture appear larger than it is. Heavily textured fabrics and larger patterns will add a cozy feeling to a sofa or chair. Use tall pieces to divide and define smaller spaces for greater intimacy.

2.    Home Decorating Ideas for your walls.

Walls are the largest expanse in any room, and how they are covered and decorated is a real challenge to every homeowner. Should you paint a wall, paper it, or cover your walls with fabric or a faux treatment like plaster or lime washing? What colors should you select for each wall?

Choices can be simplified if you begin analyzing the walls of each room in relation to three basic decorating guidelines - function, mood, and harmony.


First, consider the function of a room and make sure fabrics and wall coverings are appropriate. For example, silk may be appropriate in a bedroom but not in a den or game room. Other functional considerations include dirt-resistance, the proximity of water, durability and length.


Wall treatments will strongly influence the mood and drama your room projects. The walls establish the brightness of your room. Brightly colored walls convey a happy or cheerful mood, inviting for conversation and gatherings. If you paint in darker tones, the mood will be subdued and can be portrayed as a quiet, relaxing space, one to be kept for yourself or with a partner. Drama may be created through the use of high gloss paints, faux treatments or wallpaper with bold patterns. Paneled walls are more masculine; floral wallpaper more feminine; bright primary colors more for children. These are all elements of mood.


Wall treatments are the backdrop for all other elements in a room and tie everything together. If you use a dramatic pattern in the draperies, don't use a competing pattern on the walls or elsewhere. But you can repeat the drapery pattern in items such as pillows or throws. Try to incorporate a touch of red or black in every room. The addition of these colors, even in just a small dose, adds depth and interest. Think in terms of accessories like a fireplace screen, sculptures or candles. A great way to add this color is also through the selection of your art work and the mat/frame combinations you choose.

3.    What color scheme should I use?

Here are tips on selecting the right wall color under various lighting conditions:

White and off-whites are the safest colors to use; everything goes with them and makes furniture and accessories stand out. However, whites and pale shades tend to reflect other colors in the room. White walls may appear pink, for example, if red carpeting or tile is used on the floor. Wall color should not be decided in an empty room. Since furniture, draperies, and accessories reflect color in different ways, color on the walls and ceiling may vary, becoming subdued and changed by a room's furnishings. When using dramatic colors, experiment first. Paint a sheet of large poster board and view it under the true lighting conditions for that space.

The color on ceilings behave entirely different than on a wall surface. This surface is usually lit from below by floor lamps. Incandescent light angled up makes the color on the ceiling appear much richer than. If no light hits the ceiling, the colors will appear much darker and deeper. The look of a room can be easily altered with lighting. Consider using mood lighting. Can lights, using 15 or 25-watt bulbs, positioned on the floor behind chairs or plants creates a romantic and comfortable mood. Special lighting is usually not used in the bathroom where true lighting is required for daily hygiene but is fine for powder rooms which are used only occasionally.

Gloss levels of paint will impact how color appears in certain light. The higher the gloss level of paint, the more light is reflected. More light is reflected on a wall painted with a high gloss finish than a flat finish. A satin finish is the best option for most situations.

Tips On Choosing Your Art work

Attractively framed art prints provide a custom look to your home or office and greatly enhance its environment. Framed art represents one of the best home decorating values. Through the use of carefully selected fine art you canadd great impact to your home at a very modest cost.

1.    How to select art for you bedroom.

A bedroom is your personal and private space. The walls are for you and your partner's eyes-only. More personal subjects may be selected for the bedroom, such as art that reflect personal interests, hobbies or places you have traveled. This is also a good location for nudes or similar themes.

A.    Decide on a color scheme if you haven't already.

B.    Identify the spaces you want to fill. Larger, horizontal pictures are good for over a bed; smaller pictures for inside doorways or between windows. Groupings of small pictures make a nice collection of personal subjects. If the space above your bed is large enough, consider grouping a horizontal piece and two accompanying smaller pieces.

C.    Look for pieces that complement your color scheme and theme. Remember, your color choice of matting can tie the room together and highlight special colors in your accessories. Matting is also a great way to add that dash of red or black every room needs.

2.    How to select art for your dining room.

A dining room is a public and usually formal space. Here's how to choose and display art that complements great meals and great times.

A.    Decide on a color scheme if you haven’t already.

B.    Identify the spaces you want to fill. Large horizontal pieces are used for over a sideboard or mantle. Smaller pieces on either end of a china cabinet or stacked next to windows. Choose a common theme for all pictures, or choose ones that work well together. Common subjects for dining rooms might be landscapes, garden scenes, or scenes of people gathering like in bistros or cafes. Is your dining room decorated in formal elegance? Perhaps Impressionism or classical subjects would coordinate well. Is your room more Americana, with a farm table and butter churns in the corner? Then traditional subjects such as country scenes or farm life would be appropriate.

C.    For a dining room, it's best to avoid anything too controversial or that might upset someone's stomach. Still lifes are fine, but people fighting or nudes may not be appropriate.

D.    If you've got big spaces and your décor is somewhat contemporary, choose large, colorful vintage advertising posters, hung salon-style.

3.    How to select art for the living room.

The living room is where we celebrate family and the many birthdays and holidays throughout the year. The framed art you choose speaks to your family and guests.

A.    Decide on a color scheme and mood you want to create. Do you like rustic or more traditional? Tuscan or contemporary? The interior design options are endless when it comes to home décor.

B.    There are many places for framed art in your living room. Over a sofa, bookcase or fireplace, next to chairs or a love seat, or between windows.

C.    From still life, to scenery, to abstract art, the pieces art work displayed in the living room provide the opportunity for self-expression. If you have the space, the living room is a great place for an oversized piece of art. Oversized art is ideal for rooms with cathedral ceilings, which aretruly a focal point to the room. Art work communicates our emotions and should be purchased for your enjoyment, not only for the investment value. Picture lights will emphasize your art work.

4. How to select art for home offices.

Ancient Chinese philosophy on the relationship between energy and interior design, suggests the best color for a home office is yellow because it stimulates thought, creativity, discipline, and mental activity. Many interior designers recommend keeping everything in your home office from the furniture to the walls and windows light in color. This promotes a feeling of lightness so as you enter the office, you feel motivated and not depressed. Don’t paint the ceiling a dark color, you’ll always feel as if there’s a dark cloud hanging over your head.

A.    Decide on a color scheme and identify the spaces you can enhance with art. Your office presents an opportunity to reflect the history of a career or special interest (use of certificates, diplomas and plaques)mixed in with your framed art. The office may present an opportunity to use abstract art or contemporary art if the rest of your home décor is more traditional in nature.

B.    Horizontal pieces may fit over a desk or credenza. If your office is small, maybe just one large picture or a few grouped together will be enough to suit the space.

C.    An office, like a bedroom, is a personal space. Select themes that interest you: novelty art, hobbies, or sporting events you enjoy. Subjects that, for a moment, may take you away from the ringing phone or spread sheet.

D.    Select pieces whose matting and framing designs coordinate with your office furnishings, such as the desk or a chair. But above all, choose subjects that are uniquely you.

Other Tips and Hints

1.    How to use groupings.

Picture groupings are used when a large space needs to be filled on the wall and one large picture isn’t enough. Groupings can also be arranged within a compact space using smaller frames for a more intimate and complex look. Here are a few things to remember about grouping art work:

A.    Hanging art work close together works best if you want the viewers eye to move quickly around each piece. If you want guests to look at each piece carefully, this may not be the best decorating technique .

B.    When using small prints, try grouping them together so they take a shape on the wall as a unit. This way if you have many small frames, you can hang them in multiple groups, instead of trying to hang them all evenly on the wall. Spacing of frames, large or small, can be as close as two inches or as far apart as six inches.

C.    When grouping frames, you can choose to hang them together with the same style of frame and same subject or go for a more eclectic look and use a variety of frames that are different but still complement one another. If you choose groupings with the same frame, coordinating the frames with furniture and accessories is more important than the art subject itself. With subject grouping, style and content of the art work is more relevant to the overall feel of the room than the frame. This allows you to manage color compliments with walls and furniture rather than worry about trim. Using an eclectic grouping creates a completely open interpretation of the subject and color of a room. Mixing art work, frames, and sizes in this wall collection works great with very neutral colors in the room and allows you to only have to consider the layout of the grouping on the wall.

D.    Remember to group pictures using asymmetry. Instead of putting two large pictures together, and centering them, try lowering one and raising the other, so the top and bottom don’t match. Group large and small pictures, but mix them, so the eye moves between large and small, creating a dynamic collection. The same applies with horizontal and vertical orientations. Don’t arrange them by separating the taller from the wider. Consider grouping one tall frame with two wide but short frames stacked on each other. These kinds of groupings create wall units that are dynamic and integral to spatial decorating.

2.    How to hang your art work.

Here are some steps to follow when hanging frames crafted with a wire hanger and wall hook. For heavier pieces, such as mirrors and art with oversize glass, mirror hangers are used. This system provides support on both sides of the frame, rather than from the center, and is a little trickier to level. For institutions or offices that require safety from theft or injury, security hangers are recommended and can be purchased through ChoiceArt. These have hinges attached to the frame and connect to the wall on the top and bottom, keeping the art immobile and secure. The most common hanging system is wire run along the back and hung off a wall hook. Remember, the wall hook is better than a nail because it is scooped and provides a better slot for the wire to rest in than a nail.

A.    To center the frame on a blank wall or over furniture, measure across the entire distance of the object or wall and divide by two. This will give you the center placement and the point where the middle of your picture will rest.

B.    Measure the left to right distance of your art work and divide by two. Take that number and make a mark from the center point on the wall to the left or right. So if your picture is 24”, then half of that is 12”, and you make a mark on the wall 12” from your center mark. This will be the left or right side of the art.

C.    Now you need to figure out how high the picture will hang. If you’re hanging on a blank wall, a typical measurement is 60” from the floor to the center of the art work. If you’re hanging over an object taller than 60”, figure on five to seven inches from the top of the accessory or furniture to the bottom of the picture.

D.    If on a blank wall, measure 60” from the floor and make a new center mark (it will either be above or below your first center mark). This will be the absolute middle of your art. Now measure the height of your frame and divide by two. Mark this half-height from your final centerline up the wall to determine the resting place for the top of your frame.

E.    The final step is to establish where the hook(s) go. Look at the back of the frame. Grab the wire and hold the frame only from the center of the wire. Once the wire gets adjusted to the new weight, you should be able to measure from the center arch of the wire to the top of the frame. Take that number and measure down from the last mark you made (top of the frame). This is where the hook goes. Nail it in and slide the wire onto the hook using a level (or your eye) to determine the correct orientation of your art work.

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