Less Can Be More . . .

contemporary art work, wall groupings I tend to fluxuate into different moods. Do you? Sometimes I want my home really full and cozy and lived in. Then at other times in my life, I want it clean and simple and straight forward, airy with plenty of space for movement. So I find myself putting things out and around one day and then a couple of months later I'm moving it all around again, and then a couple of months later I'm taking things out of the room altogether.

Well, I doubt that I am unusual, though I do know some rare people who live with the rooms in their home the exact same way year after year. Personally that would drive me crazy. So this page is dedicated to all of you who think you have gotten your rooms the way you want, only to be dissatisfied in short order. So here is a word of caution. Don't think that dissatisfaction means you have done it all wrong or that you need to grab your wallet/purse and head for the store one more time. Your problem might just very easily be resolved by eliminating one or two things from the room, giving the room a little breathing space. That might be all you need to do.

The more contemporary the room and furnishings, the more the "less is more" statement is true. The goal is to create a soothing, comfortable room. I once rearranged my mother's living room. My awed sister remarked, "Wow! I can't believe how you organized all that clutter." While it is true that I did organize the room by putting "like kinds" together whenever possible, I also eliminated some things along the way too.

Look around your home. Do you have a lot of old family photographs cluttering up your piano, book shelves, walls? What you once enjoyed very much might now be old and you don't even enjoy all that much any more. Consider removing all or at least many of the photos and see how the room feels afterwards. Put them up in a wall grouping in the hall instead. Whenever possible, repeat the same frame to establish unity and this will make balancing the grouping much more easy.

Take a second look at your lighting. Consider colored bulbs to add more mood. Remove track lighting and anything that is harsh. Use halogens to highlight art. Bring in additional lamps to add warmth. Put them on low settings for conversations, and on high settings for reading.

less is more decorating Did you paint your walls some outlandish color that is just screaming out at you? Get rid of it. Tone down any part of the room that is not important. I usually keep my window treatments and door colors the exact same color as my walls. This really helps diminish the "parts" of the room and makes it look more unified. I would much rather the attention go to a great rug or work of art than to my windows, and most certainly not to my doors or door frames. The more contrast you put in a room, the more "pieced up" it will look and you may inadvertently be drawing attention to all the wrong things. For this reason, all background hues are kept subdued so that the furniture and accessories come alive and are properly featured. In the picture above, the background is a tone-on-tone neutral, the same as the sofa. That left the pillows to grab all the attention with their colorful backgrounds and beautiful brocade designs on silk.

It's also important to remember that you don't need to fill every wall or every nook and cranny. The eye needs a place to rest. Plan your room so that the furniture has breathing room and maneuvering in the room is not like doing an obstacle course.

When removing things from a room, don't give them away or sell them. Store them. You'll come back down the road and reuse them again. And you'll fall in love with them all over again too. By swapping things out from time to time, you'll be able to live with less and be comfortable and still own a lot of great furnishings.

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