08 December 2011

10 Decorating tips from Deborah Needleman

Like many of you, I have mourned the demise of beloved interior design magazine domino ever since I turned the last page of the last issue, several years ago. How I looked forward to each colourful and vibrant issue! I considered that magazine to be the most original and inspiring contemporary interiors magazine published in the United States, at the time. There has simply not been anything comparable created since.

We may not have domino any longer, but we can look to the magazine's former editor-in-chief, Deborah Needleman, for inspiration and advice for our homes. She has just published a new book, called The Perfectly Imperfect Home, which I'm eager to read. 

Here are 10 of her fabulous decorating tips:

Deborah Needleman's 10 Odd, Yet Essential, Elements of Style

1. A little Animal
A funny stuffed animal on a nicely made bed, a white porcelain monkey on your dining table, a painted Staffordshire dog in your bookshelf or a big gold piggy bank on your mantel.

2. Jollifiers 
Sentimental things that spread a little joy every time you cast your eye upon them. They are among the easiest decorating tools, as they require no skill, no sophisticated understanding of color, texture or composition. You basically set them out and, like talismans, they exude their subtle power." Jollifiers are "really quite personal, and could be something as simple as a favorite snapshot stuck into the edge of a mirror or a child's drawing framed and hung "seriously" among other pictures.

3. Mollifiers 
This is the stuff that you allow into your home because as awful as it may be, it makes someone else happy. There is a softening of attitude that comes from letting some of these things into your life. They show that you put love before style. A famous example of decorating mollification is Jackie Kennedy's acceptance of President Kennedy's funny old rocking chair in the Yellow Oval Room.

4. An Odd Chair 
While an odd chair is useful, it is not primarily for sitting. It is desirable primarily for its amusing demeanor, making it more like a piece of sculpture in the shape of a chair....The odd chair is the most individual of all. It is frequently diminutive, unusual-looking and solitary. (Think a little tufted Victorian thing, or a gothic-style wood chair or a child's chair pulled up to the coffee table.)

5. Shiny Objects
Like magpies, we are attracted to bright, shiny objects, and for good reason: our homes need them. As our eyes flit around the room, they alight on and are delighted by those bright spots....These objects can be in silver, gold, brass, glass or mirror, and in the form of anything from boxes to bowls to candlesticks to picture frames--or even completely useless items whose only purpose is to sit around looking attractive.

6. Ethnic Textiles
Handcrafted fabrics bring coziness to a room and worldliness to a home....These things can be draped over a table, laid on a bed, made into pillows or hung over the back of a sofa.

7. Not Too Much Brown Furniture 
Ever seen a room and wondered why it looked like a bland hotel lobby? Brown! ...Look at a picture of a room you love, and you will likely find the furniture to be a mix of tones and materials, like painted or stained wood, lacquer, Lucite, metal, glass or fabric.

8. Decorative Mirrors 
Most rooms, like most lives, can benefit from some extra sparkle. These more glamorous mirrors have beautiful frames, like gilded wood or shiny lacquer. Convex mirrors have been used since classical times to reflect light, not to check your eye-liner, and that is still the point of the decorative mirror, convex or otherwise.

9. Log Baskets
Even if you have no fireplace and no use for split wood, you still might like the rugged texture of a big woven basket in your living room or front hall. A good basket cozies without cloying. It gives you something a little rough and adds a sense of depth to both sleek-modern and refined, antique-filled interiors.... A log basket gives a powerful one-two punch of style and function.

10. Some Patina
A home needs some of the softness of old wood, the dullness of aged metal, the subtle colors of an original paint job, or fabric faded by the sun. Without a little of this, a house feels cold and untouched by human life.... little decrepitude is just the thing for some fabrics and rugs and furniture. Life is messy and gloriously imperfect, and a few signs of wear and tear indicate a well-loved, well-used home. And a home that looks well-loved and well-lived in usually is.

(ten tips found here and image found here)

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