Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 20th 2015 Contents September 20, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
WOW MAGAZINE| 11
| DÉCOR |
By Ann Moore-Spencer
DOES YOUR SPACE SEEM TIRED? You probably spent a lot of
time and money decorating, only to have it fall short of expecta-
tions. Or you may have decorated a while now, but you have no
desire to spend large sums of cash for a new look. Let us relook
and diagnose the malaise of your space, and see what must be
excised, what must be relocated, and what is just right. Let us
see if we can renew your space without breaking the bank.
Remove. To see the room for what it is, remove all stray items
that do not really belong; the laptop, your shoes below the sofa,
the magazines, the toys in the corner.... Whatever. You need to
see the space as it is, without interference and clutter. Some-
times it is the extra visual load that makes the space seem tired.
Use different eyes. Ask a friend their impression, what they
most like about the room and what they dislike. Enlist someone
who will be honest, not the indifferent husband who will say, "It
looks just fine, honey". Your friend may finger aspects of the
space that are not even on your radar. You do not have to change
a thing, but you at least have a different perspective.
Talking about perspective, look at your space from different an-
gles: when you enter the room; from sitting in your favourite
chair; from a chair you seldom use; from sitting in bed; enter the
room from an alternate entry; from all corners and from both sit-
ting and standing positions. What stands out positively and neg-
atively? What looks at home and makes a good impression?
What seems out of place?
This may seem weird, but squint when you enter the room, leav-
ing your eyes open just a sliver. Is everything in harmony? Or
does something look out of place?
Use your camera. Photos lay bare what we miss with our naked
eyes. They remove associations and emotions and tell it as it is.
So that coffee table you are emotionally attached to... if your
friend does not tell you, the photo will show you if it fits or not.
Convert the photo to black and white. You will see if you have
enough contrast in the room. You may have different colours, but
the tones may all be the same. This also could easily be a prob-
lem in monochromatic colour schemes. If all the colours read the
same shade of grey, it is time to vary the depth of your tones.
Rearrange. Poor traffic flow can kill the functionality of a space
and frustrate users subliminally. This is a case of form killing
function. Do you have to circumnavigate pieces of furniture to
use your room? Do you always have to relocate furniture to use
it? Do you have to move the dining table forward to get to the
side board or buffet? Are you placing your book on the ground
after reading in bed? You may have a furniture layout problem.
With your room decluttered as I recommended earlier, it will be
easier to see and to rearrange.
Even if the room is small, keep your entrance clear. Allow 42" for
entries, 30" for passing furniture and at least 36" for major traf-
fic lanes. Take into consideration the natural function of the
space and ensure these activities can be done easily. Can you get
in and out of your chair at the dining table? Cater for 16" or more
behind dining chairs. Allow yourself about 42" behind the seating
to freely serve your guests. Is getting in and out of bed a hassle?
You need at least 24" between the bed and the wall or other
major furnishing and 36" (major traffic lane) between the bed
and the door. Allow about 4' in front of your closet for dressing. In
the living room, is the path to seating obvious and clear? Your en-
trance should not be impeded by furnishings. Try to re-direct
Matchy-matchy is a killer. Do your sofa,
love seat and single chair have the same
style and colour? You will have to really
use your accessories to inject interest
and variety into the space. Mix it up."
traffic, if possible, so that people do not have to pass be-
tween the television and the viewers.
Re-imagine. Matchy-matchy is a killer. Do your sofa, love
seat and single chair have the same style and colour? You
will have to really use your accessories to inject interest
and variety into the space. Mix it up. Do your side table,
coffee table and media centre look like they came out of
the same box? Inject interest by mixing it up: mix styles
and materials. You may have thought it would be safe or
even elegant, but monochromatic colour schemes can be
very challenging to pull off successfully. They may seem
one-note and boring if you do not mix up the textures and
use different tones and values of your chosen colour. Noth-
ing wrong in injecting splashes of colour in a mainly mono-
chromatic scheme. The contrast highlights the single
colour; much like wearing red pumps with an all-white out-
Ignite and light. Poor lighting could very well be your cul-
prit. Lighting is the most overlooked element in decorating.
The single light in the centre of the ceiling or general light-
ing off the walls places no emphasis or focus on your spe-
cial decorative elements, nor does general lighting provide
adequate illumination for reading or other tasks. Again, this
strikes at the heart of functionality. Rooms generally need
three types of lighting: general lighting for overall illumina-
tion, task lighting, and accent lighting. Lighting brings décor
to life. It gives a room dimension and intrigue. Windows
should be present in every room, and as large as possible.
Natural light, when possible, should be the main source of
light. The kitchen, for instance, should always be well lit. It's
more than the need for outstanding light fixtures and at-
mosphere. Safety is critical, so poor lighting is ill advised. In
a media room, bedroom or dining room, bright lighting is
needed sometime and dim lighting at others. So dimmers
and/or blackout window treatments are a good idea.
See if you can diagnose your decor problem. You may not
need to spend a fortune for your space to feel new again.
Ann Moore-Spencer is the Managing and
Creative Director of Beyond Drapery Limited. www.be-
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