bove the windows, outside the recess to hide any wall that would otherwise be visible.  

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Quality and function

Design Tips


Getting the proportion and scale right in a room is as important as getting the colours and patterns correct, but it is something usually totally overlooked!

Objects and ornaments

The tendency is to make the mistake of having lots of small things scattered about and ending up with an untidy and muddled look with no cohesion. It is often better to have one large, over-sized object, but if that is not possible, then group the small things together ‘en masse’.

TIP: A group of family photographs in frames on a small side table looks so much more impressive that having them spread out all over the room or hung on the walls individually. A group of small ornaments together also looks more effective and is ideal if you like collecting things, no matter how strange they may be!

Small cushions on a sofa look better grouped together, particularly if they are made of different patterned fabrics. If you are able to buy or make new cushions for a sofa, then go for the more modern look of having 2 or 3 large cushions rather than lots of small ones. Antique textiles made up into cushions look exquisite on a sofa upholstered in a plain coloured fabric.

Another common mistake is to hang small pictures separately and far too high up on the wall. I always do a scale drawing of the wall and cut out templates representing the pictures, moving them around until they look right. You can then proceed to install your picture hooks knowing that you will not have to fill in unsightly holes that you have placed incorrectly!

TIP: When buying pictures, it is so difficult to imagine their scale when hung, but a good rule of thumb is to buy pictures larger than you think you actually need. Similarly, a pair of frames that are virtually the same size, are so much easier to hang effectively than having an assortment of smaller pictures that need to be grouped together.

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Symmetry and positioning

A focal point in a room helps to make an impact. It may be an imposing fireplace, a well-lit picture or a stunning window dressing. Symmetry within a room scheme is also pleasing to the eye. However, a home in which everything is arranged symmetrically may look good on the pages of a magazine but is not in keeping with everyday life. Balance is what you should aim for and a couple of matching chairs or vases may be all that is required to create the harmonious feel you want.

TIP: If you are about to decorate and furnish a totally new room, or give an existing room a complete overhaul, then draw a floor plan to scale on a sheet of graph paper. Make templates of the pieces of furniture, just as you would for pictures on a wall, and move them around until you get them looking right. Furniture is often so much bigger than you think!

Remember, people like to feel relaxed whilst seated in a room, so try and group the furniture together to assist conversation. If left alone, guests will often automatically draw their chairs closer to one another to feel comfortable. With your scale drawing, you will have to bear in mind that you are only dealing with a 2 dimensional representation and solid objects are always larger than imagined when actually in position. Your plan will also prove invaluable when buying a large sofa or piece of furniture. To have to pay for them to be delivered through a window because they are too big to go trough the door, can be a very costly and inconvenient business!

Why not experiment with scale?