Free Advice Friday!

Have a decorating question? Ask away!

Yesterday I started Three Tip Thursday, so today I thought…Hey! Why not a Free Advice Friday? I love answering all of your decorating questions so I though this would be a great way to have some fun and answer some pending questions! Addressing decorating questions is actually one of my favorite things to do! Here are some answers to some of your questions…

Valerie asked…

Q: I want to have an arrangement of Greek tiles and plates over the fireplace mantel. Is it okay to have the arrangement be a little wider than the mantel?

A: My initial thought was no, but as always, you have to sit back and think outside the box. The problem is not going wider than the mantel, it’s creating an arrangement that is “heavier” than the mantel. By extending the arrangement outside the width, you automatically are creating a “feeling” that it is heavier than the mantel which then takes the focus off of the area as a whole. BUT, as always, there are not rules to decorating – just rules of thumb. What I would suggest is if you want to go outside the area above the mantel, make sure you “extend” the width of the mantel with something to the left and right that balances it out such as furniture, large vases with arrangements, low bookcases that look built-in, etc… The one thing I would avoid (unless it’s built-in looking bookcases) is putting anything too “hard” next to the already “hard” fireplace. I always prefer alternating hard and soft. When I say soft I mean upholstered furniture, plants, etc.

Shirley asked…

Q: In my living room, I have a large window that is in a recessed area that is 88″ wide x74″ tall. It’s sort of like a bay window, but not curved. I would like to hang drapes on the outside, from floor to ceiling, but the problem is that across the top of the opening, it’s just the ceiling – there is nothing across the opening at the top, if that makes sense. The ceiling goes straight through to the recessed area. So, even if I hang a rod as close as I can to the ceiling, there will be a gap at the ceiling that goes through to the opening – won’t that look weird? Any suggestions?

A: This makes perfect sense Shirley. I actually have the same situation in a guest bedroom that I am working on in my home. You really have two solutions. The first is to locate the rod on the walls to the left and right of the window. The key is to hang the rod as high as you can and to use a drape that will have some material above the rod. Hang it so the top of the drape will almost touch the ceiling. The only issue you have is you really can’t use a support in the middle with a traditional rod, so the rod needs to be extra long so the extender in the middle doesn’t sag. Also, the drapes cannot be too heavy or they will cause it to sag as well. The second option and probably the best one, is to get a ceiling mounted rod – JC Penney and Ikea both sell them. This will allow you to put a support in the middle and will avoid any potential sagging problems.

Example of ceiling mount rod

Carol asked…

Q: My great room has 1 love seat (solid fabric) and 2 occasional chairs(solid fabric). I would like more seating. Do I purchase another loveseat or 2 more chairs and solid or print?

A: This is probably better answered if I could see your floor plan, but generally speaking, here are my thoughts… When planning your seating, there are three considerations. 1) traffic flow, 2)) conversation areas and 3 beauty. Your first consideration is make sure that you know where your main path of traffic will be and to not interfere with that. The second is that you never want to put a single huge seating area around the perimeter of your room. Ideally, you want to create a main seating area with one or perhaps two smaller conversation areas with the same room. The first is perfect for your immediate family or a small gathering.The second and third areas are great for reading, writing in a journal, playing games or  intimate conversations.

I like two loveseat on either side of a fireplace with two chairs that are facing the mantel. I also like a love seat with two chairs across from it. I would avoid a love seat with four chairs in the same conversation area unless you have a really large room and can have additional conversation areas as well – it’s really too many chairs in one place I think, but they could go in a smaller arrangement. Maybe a loveseat and three chairs would work better. I worry about four chairs overpowering the loveseat. Additionally, think of creative ways of adding seating such as ottomans tucked under a side table or in front a hearth or even hung on the wall as I did in my house.

Thirdly, this is where the beauty comes in…as far as solid or print, I’d say add some punch with either a print – floral, plaid or stripe or introduce some nice textures. If you do add chairs with a pattern, make sure to balance it out on your solid upholstery with complimentary pillows or throws!

Good Luck everyone and let me know how your rooms turn out! Amy xo


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