Think Like a Decorator

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Advice from the Pros, cont'd.

Q. How can I make my home feel bigger and airier?

Avoid visual clutter by using the least number of big pieces needed to furnish each room, cutting back on the knickknacks and choosing a low-contrast color scheme (such as blue and green rather than black and white).
-- Sarah Richardson

Focus on the verticality in your space. Draw the eye up the wall with shelves or built-ins that go from floor to ceiling, and apply crown molding. Also, using mirrors at the narrowest part of a room or at the back of a bookcase will create the illusion that your room is larger.
-- Genevieve Gorder

Q. I'm a big fan of florals but my husband isn't. Is there a way to make traditionally feminine patterns slightly more manly?

Stripes and paisleys are a great middle ground for couples. Also, look for more-abstract florals that don't feel so frilly, or check out hand-blocked fabrics with chunkier patterns and prints inspired by Indian textiles.
-- Nate Berkus

It's all about layering prints, especially in bedding, so mix up a floral sheet with a striped duvet and a plaid pillow. Or try feminine prints in a masculine hue, like flowers in blue, or vice versa.
-- Kathryn M. Ireland

Q. My home decor doesn't fit into one particular style -- it's more mix and match. Is that okay?

Yes! As long as you love your home you can't go wrong. I believe in designing for yourself and doing what makes you and your family happy. Forget about what other people think. You're the one there 99 percent of the time. Just edit, get rid of anything you don't adore, and allow yourself to have fun with it.
-- Michael Moloney

Don't Do This!

Our designers shared their biggest decorating pet peeves.

-- Don't hang your art too low or too high -- it looks odd. Place most pieces at eye level for the best results.

-- Don't do themes, like nautical. It's so easy to overdo it. Hint at it with a few choice accessories instead.

-- Don't buy furniture sets. If the couch, love seat, and chair are all the same, it's just too matchy-matchy.

-- Don't use dried or faux flowers. They simply collect dust.

-- Don't forget books. Your collection invites people to understand more about who you are and what you like.

Need More Advice?

Genevieve Gorder will answer your questions live on Facebook on July 28. Become our fan at

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, August 2011.


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