Friday, October 22, 2010

Breaking Rule Number One

A few weeks ago I came across a large stash of House Beautiful magazines at my local public library’s bookstore. Someone had generously donated over twenty issues to the “free for the taking pile.” Not one to turn down a free design magazine, I grabbed them all and have been happily reading through them ever since.

The magazines are about ten years old so it has been quite interesting to look back and see the styling and trends of the not too distant past – some seem dated while others look as though they were created today.

One of the stories which caught my eye was an article in the June 2000 edition titled “Decorating Don’ts.” It was written by then editor Margaret Kennedy and is a list of 25 “decorating pitfalls which everyone would prefer to avoid.” The light-hearted list includes Ms. Kennedy’s ideas as well as those submitted by various designers.

I am not going to reprint the pitfalls here, but as with any list there were some differences of opinion. One rule, however, caught my eye and made me chuckle.

“Don’t even lift a finger without an overall decorating plan. First spend time thinking about how you’ll use spaces, what kind of light rooms receive, what atmosphere you’re aiming for.” M.K.

Whoops! If you have been following me and my living room (aka red room) makeover you know the only thing I knew for sure when I began this still ongoing project was the walls were no longer going to be red and most of the furniture would have to stay. I literally didn’t have any other decisions made!

I do get the idea of planning things out before you begin especially when your project involves major renovations. When I am decorating a room, however, I prefer to make the decisions as they are needed. (I guess I would not make a very good designer!) For example, now that my curtain rods are hung, it is time to choose fabric. As far as a small table for between the two chairs is concerned, I am patiently waiting to come across “the right one” rather than actively searching. The laid back approach just seems to work for me.

How about you? What are you thoughts about planning? When you tackle a project do you have every detail planned or are you like me? I would love to hear your thoughts.


Lisa @ Fern Creek Cottage said...

Well I never have a whole room mapped out when I decorate. I have a general idea and then let it evolve. I am trying to get better about knowing exactly where I will put something before I buy it though. Too many times I buy a beautiful "nick nak" and then don't have a clue what to do with it when I get it home.

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

In my own home I sometimes don't have a full plan laid out. I do know individual projects I want to do that will bring the room together as a whole, but often times it is a paint color or a fabric that will be my jumping off point. From there, sometimes other things have to change, but I try to keep that to a minimum! On the other hand, for clients, I have a full plan ready to go. We just may take it one project at a time, but the end result is known beforehand.

Stephanie said...

My plans are always just in my head, as long as it comes together in the end, and it works, it is a plan to me :)

Sonya@Beyond the Screen Door said...

I am always in awe of designers who seem to have it all mapped out ahead of time. I have a concept at the beginning but am always open for change as we proceed. Sometimes the best decisions come as the process goes along. If you're not willing to be open to a change you may miss out on a great detail! So, to answer your question...I rarely have it all planned out at the beginnng. And it works for me!

Tatum said...

Hi there! I hardly ever plan. We've been renovating for a while and every room in our home has been a large task. I tend to be a bit impatient and want to work on something in each room at a time. We have a long way to go. I too could never be a designer lol!

Have a great weekend :-)

Paula said...

I definitely don't have an entire plan mapped out. I'm more of a fly by the seat of my pants decorator!

Anonymous said...

I like to call my decorating a series of happy accidents. It always falls into place even better than I imagined. My library project is a perfect example. Yesterday I found my library ladder less than two miles from my home! A month ago I didn't even know I had a library!

I have a stack of older magazines I love to pull out now and again too. Gives me a true taste of what is really "classic."


michelle said...

I usually don't have an overall plan. I think of something and then I jump right in. I don't like waiting, when I want it changed I want it now! :) That is probably way I wind up repainting and rearranging all the time! :) Oh well, it gives me something to do! :)

Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal said...

More often then not I have no plans. Well, color scheme yes. Finding older pieces I love with some character takes some time. As much as I would like to find them instantly that just doesn't happen.

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

If I did have a plan at the get go it would change 100 times before the room was complete. I normally start with color choices and somewhat of the style I like and just wing it from there. I wait until I find a piece I love and somehow they all work together.
xo, Sherry

Karen said...

I generally have a basic idea of what colors I want to use (paint and such) but things evolve as you complete each step of the redo---I think you are wise to relax and wait until you find the right anything for a room you're redoing.
Karen@Garden, Home and Party

Amy @MaisonDecor said...

I love going through my old magazines. Isn't it amazing that some rooms remain timeless in style and look current while others are blechhh! Please come by for a giveway of a copy of The French Inspired Home at my blog. Filled with beautiful images!!

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