Difficult Houses

By Joseph Pubillones

August 31, 2019 4 min read

Our homes sometimes fight us — or rather, we fight our houses — in our quest to find the perfect decorative solutions. Walls with impossible angles, irregular beams that cross a room, dark spaces without any source of natural light, doors that occupy the best wall of the house and don't permit you to hang a work of art, ceilings that are too high or too low, rooms too small or too narrow ... The problems can be innumerable. No house is ever 100% perfect, but you know what? Every quirky condition inside a home has an interior design solution.

When a room is very small, you can make it seem wider by placing the furniture diagonally, deceiving the senses. The smallest wall can be made to seem larger with elements such as shelves, pictures, works of art or even books arranged linearly. In the case of an odd-shaped room, combining two colors on the walls will give the room a lot of play. A longer wall in a light color will offer the sensation of going back in sight and visually expanding the room. The same applies if using a dark color such as chocolate, navy or dark gray.

When a room is extremely long, a good solution is to create two spaces: dining room and living room, bedroom and dressing room, kitchen and office. You get the idea? Differentiate the spaces visually and with their own color or decorative style, so long as there are elements to pull the areas together in some regard. Mirrored screens can be a great option, as are glass walls in spaces that lack sources of natural light.

When ceilings are very low, you can visually ''raise" them with high and vertical elements such as bookshelves, floor-to-ceiling curtains, floor lamps or a tall indoor plant. If the ceilings are too high, decorating the ceiling using predominantly horizontal elements on the walls and layering elements such as ornate draperies will bring down the monumental scale to a more human scale. But if the ceilings are so high, why not take advantage of them? Add a mezzanine or hang a large chandelier, mobile or ceiling fan to visually enhance the large space.

Attic spaces or dormer rooms can be quite challenging to decorate, with their multiple pitches and lower-than-usual ceilings. The challenge is to think outside the box — or in this case, inside the small space — for design solutions. Taking time to inhabit the space can reveal what works best in a particular scenario. The best thing with a difficult space is to take your time so you grasp the best understanding of the problem before you set out to furnish it.

For every problem you encounter with a home, there are many, many solutions. Magazines offer many sources of inspiration, but the solutions to your design dilemmas need to be personal. You just need to make sure the idea is perfect for you and those that live with you.

Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. His website is www.josephpubillones.com. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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