Pink 'Tacky'? Not Possible! Q: My favorite color is "shocking" pink. I wear it lots and was all set to paint our living room walls when my husband's mother called it a "tacky color." Now he's gotten involved big-time, and I have "lost the courage of …Read more. Take the Formal Edge Off With Zany Color, Pattern Q: I am confused about furniture arranging. My mother-in-law has everything in twos in her living room (except the sofa): two club chairs, two side tables, two lamps, all matching, even twin cubes for the cocktail table. Is this the right way to go? …Read more. In the Furniture Forecast: Blues, Hairy Hides, Nailheads Q: What's the word from the Furniture Capital of the World? A: It all depends on where you look in High Point, N.C., the largest home furnishings market on earth. Think of l0.5 million square feet of show space in 180 different buildings, where 2,…Read more. A Center Hall = Living Central Q: We are moving from our l960s ranch house into our family's "old manse," a mid-l9th-century Georgian-style house that's been handed down to us from a great-great-aunt. It's quite a change! For one thing, there's a wide (15 feet) center …Read more.more articles
Got That Empty Feeling? Here's the Rx
Q: When we moved our furniture into our new — and bigger — house, it practically disappeared in all that space. We can't afford more furniture for a while. In the meantime, I don't want to invite anyone to come see us, not even family. The house feels so empty. What can we do to make it look more furnished?
A: Feeling overexposed? CYA: Be clever with color, pro-active about yard sales and artful with furniture arrangements.
Color is your first line of defense against emptiness. It's inexpensive and eye-filling, but you have to be brave about choosing colors that really count. Think deep, dark and rich.
Bravado is also key to successful yard-sale shopping. Look for pieces that will temporarily fill in your gaps. You are not buying for a lifetime, remember. And at those prices, you can afford pieces you won't mind painting or slipcovering (today's stretch-to-fit ready-mades are socially acceptable; check out, www.surefit.com).
About arranging furniture: it's not what you have, it's the way that you have it.
Arrange cozy, intimate groupings that give the room a focal point. In the living room, for example, all you need is a sofa and a couple of chairs, a coffee/end tables and lamps to organize the grouping.
Area rugs also make great space-claimers. Ditto wall-hung art. In the photo we show here, space is tamed by walls painted an assertive blue and hung with an arrangement of drawings, partnered with an area rug and a handsome sofa (this is "Fitzgerald," new from Bernhardt Furniture, bernhardt.com). The three elements combine to create a sum that's truly larger than its parts.
Don't have an art collection? Haunt sidewalk shows and local art classes for inexpensive art.
A few more space-filling ideas: Top small yard-sale tables with a round of plywood and drape to the floor for bed- or chair-side tables. Dress up empty corners with a standing screen you can make by hinging together tall wood shutters. Wallpaper just one wall in a dynamite design. Recruit a local artist to paint a mural around your dining room walls. Create a family portrait gallery by hanging photos, old and recent, floor-to-ceiling down a hallway. Hang curtains behind beds as an ersatz headboard.
Q: So what's truly new for the home front?
A: High technology is homing in on us in ways that surprise and delight.
Organic meets technology handsomely in Axor/Hansgrohe's sleek new bath collection designed by genius — some say "mad genius" — Philippe Starck. His minimalist new faucet may even resemble a pronged divining rod used by dowsers to find underground water. Twist the top to hot or cold, the bottom of its short prong to control the flow. More at Axor-design.com.
Over at Kohler, the water wizards have created the Moxie, a showerhead fitted out with a wireless (removable) speaker for "showering out loud." See www.kohler.com
The illumination wizards at Lutron offer a new light dimmer that turns lights on and off when you enter and leave a room. They promise that the Maestro Occupancy Sensor C.L. Dimmer can deliver 60 percent savings in lighting energy, and that you need only a screwdriver to install it yourself. See Luton.com.
Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design. To find out more about Rose Bennett Gilbert and read features by Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website and www.CREATORS.com.
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