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“All of Man’s trouble stems from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Pascal.

Deal With It


It’s weird to walk into a home that’s alive with the heartbeat of living in every room, EXCEPT that special place reserved for Strangers and Guests. In actuality, your friends, family and assorted loved ones will be hanging out with you in the kitchen/family room/den, whooping it up altogether in good cheer. Did you really intend the Living Room to be reserved for people you don’t know and others you don’t much like?

Lost Horizon: John Saladino once said, “Space is the last luxury of the 20th century.”

That statement is even more true today.

Under-used rooms now qualify as Home Design Crimes.

To Be Fair: The English coined the term “Bed/Sit” for a large room where all the living is done. We call this a Studio Apartment on this side of the pond, but the concept is the same. It’s become chic as well as practical to dine in your library and use your dining table as your office desk too.

In other words, living in your living room is a given, when you are living large in a small space.

Sometimes a room isn’t used because you sort of forget it’s there. It’s situated off by itself and without a view into it from another room. Bear this in mind if you are planning a renovation. Find a logical, elegant way to create a traffic flow or at least a welcoming vista to prevent an orphaned room.

What’s in a name? The name “Family Room” automatically conjures an image of a big comfy sofa, a  big screen TV and maybe a big bowl of popcorn. So user-friendly, and casual, one doesn’t worry about eating sloppy pizza and cuddling up with the kids, cats/dog.

It’s time to make the Living Room live up to its name.

  • Zoning laws: The solution to a more lived in Living Room, lies in incorporating several activity options into that otherwise lonely location. Even if your living room isn’t large, creating distinct areas for specific purposes goes a long way towards re-orienting your perspective on where to go for common “at home” activities.
  • Not quite like changing seats on the titanic: If you want to avoid merely changing the location of the family room, keep the TV in the designated family room. That area remains the best place to keep the kids entertained and not under foot.
  • Make the living room the land of adults…or at least those pretending to be adults, along with other age groups who have been given instructions on how to behave. This is where you serve cocktails, socialize with guests, (flirt if there’s is attractive opportunity) and play games like Charades.
  • Speaking of games, a card table with chairs will enjoy frequent use. It’s perfect not only for card and board games, but as an out of the way place to do homework, office work, or hobbies. If space is tight, a 19” high coffee table does double duty.
  • Bookshelves stocked with your favorite “reads”, plus a few of those books you’ve always intended to get to, creates an opportunity for a quiet sanctuary. A fully loaded reading corner comes with an overstuffed chair, ottoman, a table to rest a drink on, table light and a soft throw. For extra credit, a sound system to provide background music is a very nice touch.

Next Time: Living Room Living #2: Make It Work

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Questions? Write to:

Primavera: Allegory of Spring

 To “Say It With Flowers” seems inadequate


Still, honoring the arrival of spring can be more than the evident spring in your step. In the same way you distinguish between your cold weather wardrobe and warm weather clothes, consider where a “seasonal wardrobe” for your home furnishings and accessories can breathe new life into a stale winter environment.

Sing Spring with delicate water colors and soft fabrics.


Let it be Silly Season with those outrageous colors you have secretly coveted but were afraid to use.

Let me count the ways:

  • Slipcovers for the upholstered furniture are an inspired idea.  They can be removed for dry cleaning when necessary and offer opportunity for seasonal variety.
  • Switch out the bedclothes.  A different set of sheets, shams, pillowcases, blankets, bed spreads and/or duvet covers will give you the look of a redecorated bedroom, instantly.
  • Don’t overlook the effect of switching out the pillows on chairs and sofas too.  This goes for the throws and blankets that may be in use as well.  These small changes in color and texture make a notable difference.
  • Speaking of “throws”: throw rugs in certain areas can easily be replaced with inexpensive, light-weight cotton dhurries.  Stripes always look fresh and add punch.
  • Some of your window dressings can be switched out for lighter sheers or taken down completely this time of year.
  • Rotate your artwork and wall hangings. They have a big effect on setting the tone on your environment.  It’s a good time to lighten up and create a more playful “point of view”.

Meet Your Greens:

  • Nature is bountiful now so there is no excuse for not treating yourself well, and often. A gorgeous bouquet of flowers is always delightful, but don’t forget that using big leaves and fronds by themselves in glass vases can also be a striking arrangement. An additional perk this time of year is the availability of lemons or seasonal fruits to fill big bowls.  Your rooms will be scented in a wonderful way.
  • If you have abundant space and light, indoor trees are a wonder both for architectural effect and sheer beauty. Some flowering trees supply “scent opportunities” as well.
  • Terrariums and their distant cousins, Bonsai, are charming any time of year. A tiny little garden at your fingertips is particularly uplifting when the Winter Doldrums settle in.
  • Whether you choose vases of flowers or the drama of the gifted tree, don’t lose sight of the principles of balance and scale. A dinky waist high tree in a big corner looks silly.

Restraint and a plan will save the day.


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Seasonal Decorating #1: Spring Break

Decorating With Flowers & Trees #1: Say It With Flowers

Decorating With Flowers & Trees #2: Meet Your Greens



Home Style Bloggers reported a trend recently

towards more masculine interiors than in the past.

 It seems men are working from home more now than ever.


 One can only hope.


Along with Pantone, the other harbinger of things to come in home decoration is the twice yearly High Point Furniture Market.  For more than a century, High Point, North Carolina has been known as the Furniture Fair Capital of the World and is regarded as a Crystal Ball in predicting home furnishings trends for the coming year. On display, are the home fashions on which each exhibitor has placed their stake and produced for the current market, in hopes of being competitively ahead of the curve and on top of consumer need and desire.

The race doesn’t always go to the swift and the strong, but that’s how you bet.

Pinocchio blogged too. What turns a trade show into mass marketing on a retail level is in the hands of bloggers reporting from location. Admittedly, this can be like the story of a car accident witnessed by 10 people and Everybody saw something different.

Still, there were a few trends mentioned by several observers:

  • Emphasis on menswear fabrics with a nostalgic or vintage feel. Upholstery dressed in this fashion was used in settings that implied a Men’s Club, or at least a Man Cave. To wit: there were dark woods, hides and leathers, hounds tooth, neck tie stripes and classic grey flannel.
  • Even a modern look is still referencing a “modern” of yesterday. The 60’s era Mad Men look seems to be morphing into a 70’s era expression, destination unknown.
  • Am I blue? Though Radiant Orchid is the color of the year, at Highpoint, it was blue running to teal. The color of the year apparently has soft boundaries. Saturated colors and color blocking are still big. Could Orange wall graphics and shag rugs boomerang back into fashion again soon?
  •  Art Deco sees yet another revival and there is lacquer everywhere. Along with this, layering of rich materials in a single piece was often seen. This could be a polished metal such as bronze or gold and embossed leather along with multiples of other textures and materials. The range of materials used is broad: Semi precious stones or finishes made to mimic, as well as Lucite, bone, shells and even woven cane.
  • Repurposed From Some Other Century.  The impetus towards a greener point of view over the past few years spawned a review of our notions about reclaimed and vintage home furnishings and décor. Recycled, upcycled and reclaimed are today’s home style buzz words, all in search and service of shrinking our individual carbon footprints.

This may be a good time to point out that just because an item can be reclaimed/recycled, doesn’t automatically mean it should be. If it was ugly junk before, time might not have improved its status. Just sayin’…

No need to compare and despair. The reported home design fashion trends are by no means a mandate. Your taste preferences may fall somewhere between “homiest home” to “show-stopper statement interior”, but to truly be a home you love to live in, let your home design grow and evolve over time, just as you do…or at least look that way.

The idea is to bring luxury into living every day, without being ostentatious. Make the experience of spending time at home something to look forward to, by seeing your home as your personal oasis of special comfort and pampering.

A reporter asked Joan Didion if she used her good silver every day.

“Every day is all there is”, she replied.


Related Posts

 Design Trends Now & Then #1: Orchid Dreams To Purple Haze

Get Your Own Designer Look #1: Vision Quest

Get Your Own Designer Look #2: Balancing Act

Get Your Own Designer Look #3: It’s In The Mix


For a look at the Fashion Trends reported on the Highpoint Market website, check here:



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