Increase Your Design IQ
Did you miss out on "Ask Muffie: Real-Life Solutions to Your Decorating Dilemmas?" We're offering a two-day recap, where you can read up on the Q & As covered at the forum. Check back tomorrow for Part Two.
Q: What is the correct size proportion for artwork vs. the furniture it’s over (i.e. a painting above a chair)?
A: Ideally, you want the art to be about two-thirds the size of the furniture it’s above, keeping in mind the artwork size can be collective, as in a collection rather than just one piece. It should be twice the height of the furniture too. If it is hung above somewhere people sit, keep in mind that the back of their heads might bump against it. Adjust how high or low you hang your art to avoid making it uncomfortable to sit there.
Q: I have a small bedroom with putty colored walls and poor natural light. What are some ways I can make it warm and cozy?
A: First, use lots of white (white sheets, white furniture, white lampshades) and make sure it’s consistent. If it’s just here and there, it will look sloppy and you’ll lose the sleek lines you were going for. Second, opt for a glass overhead fixture. In any tight space, glass pieces are functional, reflect light, and won’t weigh down a room. Third, repaint the room in a semi-gloss paint in lieu of a flat paint. It shows more flaws, but the gloss reflects the light and makes a dark room seem brighter.
Q: What portion of the room should an area rug cover?
A: What you don’t want is an area rug that comes right under the legs of all the furniture and then stops. Go bigger, as this will make the room itself appear larger. Pay attention to air vents and thoroughfares when you measure for a rug too. You don’t want to cover the vents and you don’t want your rug where people passing through will trip over it.
Q: What are some pet-friendly rug options?
A: Everyone recommends wool rugs, but seagrass rugs are another great option. The rug hides fur and messes, and they’re easy to clean. They’re also relatively inexpensive, so if it does get ruined, you won't be upset about tossing it.
Q: How do I make the 1960s green tile in my bathroom look like it belongs in 2009?
A: Make everything else modern by painting the ceiling and walls white. Remove all the old fixtures and replace them with something updated and hip. If it’s a full bath, get a white shower curtain and decorate it with an initial in the same color as the tile or a chocolate brown.
Q: Do furniture finishes have to match? For example, I have a dark, almost mahogany coffee table, and a much lighter wood dining table.
A: No, there's no need to worry about variations in finishes. You don't want the space to look like a furniture showroom, do you? The different finishes add interest to a room and give it some character. Just don’t put the mismatched finishes right next to each other. Leave some space in between so that you aren’t overwhelmed.
Q: What kind of lighting should I use in a galley kitchen with 8-foot ceilings?
A: Go with simple can lighting. Don’t try to make a statement. You want to make sure you have enough light so that you can see to cook. In a kitchen, you want to design so that it’s functional, don’t over-design and end up with a kitchen you can’t use.