Category Archives: Decorating Tip of the Day

Easy Decorating Tips

Below are some no fail decorating tips that anyone can do. 

  • Mix gold and silver. I absolutely love mixing gold and silver and do it all the time.
  • Mix materials for texture. Texture in a room is so important, faux fur rugs or throws, woven baskets, fabrics, glass, wood, layer texture. It warms up a room.
Aside from my sleeping child, notice mixtures of textures in my daughter, Hunter’s bedroom. Faux fur, glass lamp, wood, cork, and mirror. This is what keeps the Tiffany Blue from feeling too formal. (Also, notice the continuous mixing of silver and gold items which I incorporate throughout the house.)
  • Put wallpaper in unexpected places such as ceilings, closets, bookcases, laundry rooms, bathrooms, and other small areas.


The wallpaper in my son Boston’s room is commented upon by everyone who sees it. It really makes this room and I will never get tired of it.

  • Use mirrors but make sure they reflect something of interest such as a wallpapered wall or a chandelier.
I love the way the pendant and wallpaper reflects off this bathroom mirror.
  • Lean art against a wall for a more relaxed look.
  • If you are in question about something, take it out.
  • An antique, something black, and something unexpected belong in every room.
  • When thinking unexpected, put modern fabric on antique furniture. Priceless.
This was my Grandmother’s chair that we recovered in a beautiful damask fabric. The pillow got the boot.
  • Allow your space to change, as you do. Don’t be afraid to move things around or change things out.
  • If you are really serious about getting your house right, learn what decorators you like and study their rooms. It will teach you without realizing it!
  • Begin  your living room furniture layout with the best seat in the room and everything else will start to fall into place.
The layout for the rest of our family room revolved around the sofa, the best seat in the house. The mirror behind was also edited, as it took away from the outside view.
  • Size of your furniture – Pay attention to the size of your room. Large furniture goes in large rooms, medium furniture in medium rooms and so forth. Exceptions can work, but this should be the general rule.
  • If you’re on a budget, invest in the pieces that anchor a room. “It wouldn’t be a bedroom without a bed, it wouldn’t be a living room without a sofa, and it wouldn’t be a dining room without a dining table,” Thom Felicia advises.
  • Group like items together, such as antiques by color, material, or some commonality. And use trays to corral smaller items. This keeps collections from looking cluttered.


  • Collect two expensive pieces a year. This way you don’t break the bank and in 10 years, you have 20 nice pieces. It also gives your room a collection of different eras and styles. A pulled together room is a reflection of where you have come from and where you want to go.
  • The bigger the area rug, the better.
  • Use pink bulbs inside your lights and fixtures. It will really add a warm glow to your space.
  • For a statement wall hanging, Staples does oversized prints called “engineer prints.”
  • Frame a beautiful fabric or wallpaper for art.
  • When framing art, choose a mat with 8-ply thickness. The increased depth will increase the quality ten- fold.
  • Use mirrors, even mirrored walls. Nothing lights up a room or increases size better.
We added mirrors to the top half of this wall of bi-fold closet doors running the length of one wall of our master bedroom. Across from a big window, it made the room look twice as big.
  • Keep large pieces simple, including furniture and curtains. Nothing can date a room more quickly.
  • In a smaller room be daring, Do mirrored wall or a bold wallpaper. Take chances!
This was a small room that I believe was intended as a sewing room when the house was built in the 1930s. This bold scalamandre wallpaper makes me want to hangout in here all the time and I don’t sew.
  • Paint your front door a bold color.
  • If you have white walls, you better have art.
  • Always use dimmer switches.
  • Remember the rule of 3s.
  • 20th-century designer John Dickinson, who maintained that a room is finished when you can no longer take something away without it being missed.
  • No fail formula for decorating any type of table – The formula requires one horizontal thing, like a tray or a stack of books. Then, add in something vertical, like vases, a lamp, or candlesticks. Lastly an interesting object. (Vary sizes)


  • Go for symmetry, it is most pleasing to the eye and avoids the look of clutter. Such as a mirror or painting in the middle. Matching lamps and vases on each side and a filler in the middle.
Matching lamps, photos, and 2 smaller objects of visual weight balance create symmetry on this dining room buffet.
  • Remember to create balance. A vignette can have symmetry by creating weighted balance even when the items themselves are different.
The large vase is balanced with the bust and two smaller objects on the other side of the chest.
  •  The rule of thirds – commonly used in photography and art to describe the best place for the subject.  Draw imaginary lines on a picture vertically at 1/3 and 2/3, and horizontally at 1/3 and 2/3.  Compositions with the subject placed on those lines, especially at the intersection of those lines, are the most interesting.  The same rule can be applied when looking at a vignette in your home.  Instead of placing an arrangement in the center of the shelf, try placing it 1/3 of the way in from the edge.  It is more pleasing to the eye
  • Incorporate items from outside. Sticks, plants, flowers, feathers etc.
  • Decorate in Threes and Fives are key. Decorate with objects of 3s and 5s.


  • When decorating a mantel or table try putting your tallest piece farthest to the left. We read left to right so our eye seems to enjoy the tallest piece to the left.

Remember do what you like. You don’t want your house to look like your neighbors. What fun would that be?


Let there be light! Know your rules just so you can break them.

Guidelines for Hanging Your Lights

This might be boring to most people, but I get asked this all the time and it can make such a difference. It will also save you so much time shopping and save you the aggravation of sending or taking your light back.

Entry way lighting

  • At least 4 feet from walls (for more precise measurement Length + Width + Height of Room in Feet = Fixture size in Inches (L + W + H = Fixture in Inches))
  • At least 7 foot from floor to bottom of fixture
  • Raise light  2 to 3″ for each foot of ceiling height over 8′
  • For a 2 story ceiling, hang no lower than the point of the 2nd floor
  • If there is a window on the 2nd story light should hang in the center of that window

Hanging Pendants over an Island

  • At least 30″ apart
  • 30 to 36″ above island counter top
  • at least 12 to 15 inches from edge of island

Dining Room Lighting

  • Should be no more than 2/3 of your dining room table
  • 30 to 36″ over dining room table to bottom of light for an 8′ ceiling (raise light 3″ for every additional foot of ceiling height)
  • At least 12″ narrower than width of the table
  • If you have a smaller chandelier that takes up 1/4 or less the width of the table or if you have an extremely long table, consider two identical chandeliers spaced evenly from each other and the ends of the table.
  • 3 different sources of lighting in a room is important so don’t forget the sconces and lamps!

Lighting in Center of Room 

  • Length + Width / 12 = Size of Light (so if room is 10 by 14 light should be 2 feet in diameter)
  • Use two ceiling lights or more, if room is very long or big
Notice use of multiple lighting sources in the living room.


Hallway Lighting

  • A fixture every 8 to 10 feet
  • Hang 7 feet off the floor
  • Sconces 5 feet off the floor

Stairwell Lighting

  • Clearance between the bottom of the light and the tallest occupant should be 18 to 24 inches

Bathroom Lighting

  • Fixture should be mounted directly over the mirror
  • Leave anywhere from 3 to 8 inches of room on either side of mirror
  • Flanked sconces or flanked pendants should be 5 feet above floor or eye level, after all it is your bathroom (or 66″ above the floor to the center of the light)
  • Sconces or pendant lighting should be at least 28 inches apart, use your eye on this one.
  • Sconces or pendants SHOULD NOT be your only source of lighting


  • Standard height is 7′ from the floor
  • If you are hanging the light over the bed make sure you have at least 6″ of clearance when kneeling on the bed.
  • When choosing a table lamp for a nightstand, the bottom of the shade should be just below eye level when you are sitting next to it.
  • For swing arm sconces –  get in your normal reading position, and measure from the floor to just above shoulder height – this measurement is a good mounting height for your sconces
  •  Sconces can also be mounted over the headboard so that the light shines down over your shoulder much like overhead lighting.

Outdoor Pendant Lighting and Flush Mount Lighting

  • Bottom of pendant 6″ above the door
  • 1/5 Height of door
  • Bottom of flush mount 6″ above the door
  • Flush mount .25 for single door and .33 for double door

Outdoor Wall Lighting

  • .20 to .25 the size of the door if using a light on each side
  • You can go up to .33 if using only one light on side of door
  • Center of fixture 66″ from the floor

Outdoor Post Lighting

  • Fixture size 1/4 of the pole size
  • Pole height 5.5 to 6.5′ exposed pole
  • Underground 1.5 to 2′ pole installation

Additional Outdoor Lighting

  • Lighting on small paths should be every 8 to 10 feet

Additional Lighting Tips

  • When choosing a lampshade for a lamp, the shade should be about 2/3 the height of your base and double the width of the base.
  • Use soft pink light bulbs in your living room and bedroom. It gives a beautiful, soft glow.

Remember, these are just guidelines. Go to these for help when you are not sure. 

My motto is know your rules so you can break them!!!!

If you just go hanging things willy nilly because you have no idea how it should look, you are screwed. But if you practice these general guidelines to get an idea on how to put it all together, when the perfect time comes to do something different or out of boundaries you will know and pull the trigger. The unexpected is always fun, but it isn’t unexpected if you don’t have a cohesive, eye pleasing flow through your house.


Here are is an example of mistakes I made early on, because I didn’t know my lighting rules. First picture light is too small for the room. Second picture light is too low and we are always hitting our head on it.


The Art of Hanging Art

As an equestrian with lots of equestrian friends I thought an emphasis on a gallery wall would be a good idea,  as all of us riders have lots of horse jumping photos usually scattered around the house. Below are some good tips and guidelines for a cohesive look to follow. A big mistake I see all the time are random family photos (or horse photos) on a wall way too big for the photo or photos in display. Another mistake I see are  a grouping of photos spaced too far apart.

I love personal photos and have many. To make them come together I made gallery walls in my house. I certainly did not want to splurge on new frames so I kept them to 3 colors (using lots of spray paint) black with different finishes, gold, and wood. See photos below;

I enjoy mixing art, mirrors, and other items with my family gallery wall as long as frames and sizing go together. Throwing in an oval or round frame also is a nice added touch. To begin my gallery wall, I started with my largest piece of art and worked outward from there. Most designers suggest to use exact spacing to make the look cohesive. Another good idea is laying your art on the floor first or drawing on a piece of paper. I myself was too gung-ho so I decided to just wing it. I started out measuring but after I mis-measured numerous times, I just guesstimated. It seemed to work out just find. Some pieces I needed exact and took more time with them.

Helpful tips to creat a gallery wall:

  • Space each photo approximately same amount apart
  • Make photos cohesive by narrowing frames down to a few colors
  • Add in art, mirrors, or anything else that is special to you.
  • Start with your largest or most important piece and work outward, as it will automatically become the focal point when done in this manner.
  • Use what you have!

More useful links for creating the perfect gallery wall:

Gallery Layout by Decor it Darling

Gallery Wall by Driven by Decor

How to Create a Gallery Wall by Daisy Mae Bell

Living Room – Where Do I even Start?

One thing that really helped me when I “officially” made a final family room layout was I thinking about my seating that would be used the most. That is usually your largest/most comfortable sofa. Then I thought about where it would go opposed to the biggest focal point. For our family room it is our tv. For our living room it is the fireplace. In our family room, I positioned our large leather sofa across from the tv and then decorated around that jump off point. It made everything fall into place much easier. (And I didn’t have to run around moving the large sofa everywhere before it would have ended up across from the tv anyway).Below is our family room before and after. I will post a more recent picture with the new rug and updates soon!

Here are some more living room tips for furniture (and more)below by top designers;

  • “Float something in the room – a sofa, a lounge chair – to avoid the ‘dance hall’ look. Think of it as an opportunity to show off the back (do something with the back).” – Brad Wessner
  • “The ideal height to hang your flat-screen TV is at eye level when you’re in viewing position. The ideal viewing distance is 11/2 times the size of your flat screen.”- Jean Larette
  • “Keep a minimum of 15″ between coffee tables and sofas.”- Alexa Hampton
  • “If you have a painting that looks too small above your sofa, don’t center it. Offset it a few inches to the left. The negative space-called ‘ma’- becomes part of the image.”-Richard Mishaan
  • “Never push furniture up against the walls. By pulling your seating arrangement in (even just a few inches), you instantly warm up a space and create flow.” – Betsy Burnham
  • “Every room needs a touch of black, just like it needs at least one antique piece.”- Jan Showers
  • “Rugs: the bigger the better. Nothing shrinks a room faster than a tiny ‘postage stamp’ at the seating area. Best rule of thumb: Keep 12″ of wood showing around the perimeter.” – Mary Foley and Michael Cox

And don’t forget about the Property Brothers’ Design Cheat Sheet for furniture spacing.

Property Brothers’ Cheat Sheet


It’s all in the Ceiling!

This bathroom ceiling below is what gave me the inspiration to paint my own bathroom and I love the difference it made!


Inspiration Bathroom

Above is our bathroom we painted with a gold metallic shimmer. In the top left picture you can see when the ceiling was still white that it just didn’t go well with the darker wallpaper. Our house has retro tile in every bathroom. We didn’t want to take down the tile but this wallpaper and gold ceiling completely took the focus off the green tile.

Below is our son’s room. We did a beautiful wallpaper in the ceiling and closet of his bedroom. The walls are painted Revere Pewter by BM. I absolutely love the way the chandelier reflects off the wallpaper.

A few more tips on painting the ceiling

  • Cut the wall color by 50% is a good rule for painting the ceiling
  • In small rooms I have painted the ceiling the same color as the wall when it didn’t have trim, it made it feel like the room embraced you.(Trim can sometimes make a ceiling feel lower)
  • Decorators white is a safe ceiling color if going with white, but can look purple in a north facing room.

Below are more beautiful ceilings (and rooms) I ran across online. Take a chance it’s only paint!


Do you have any Christmas ornaments left after you decorated your tree?

Here is what I did with my extra ornaments.

Let’s start with the front porch. In the bucket to the left I put greenery from the yard, firewood we had laying around, a string of lights, and some left over ornaments.  On the right of the front door is a sleigh from the garage with some more greenery and extra ornaments. The wreath on the door was bought but ornaments were added to it.

Below is our Entry way. Extra touches of ornaments and ribbons all over. I especially love the ribbon around our elephant.

Next is our living room where are tree is. Lots of touches through out the room. I am hoping to find a better pillow with Christmas colors for the chair. Notice the bulbs in the sconces giving a warm glow. I put soft pink bulbs in almost all my lights.

Here are a few extra pictures from around the house and a couple I find online that I especially liked.

Perfect Navy Blue

December 12, 2016 Tip of the Day  – Perfect navy blue – Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore.

Painting in a high gloss was perfect for the bar. High gloss hides scratches and dings much better than other finishes.

I searched for a long time for the perfect navy. I always liked navy but didn’t want a navy that looked too “nautical” or too “uptight”.  After much research and many pictures, I went with Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore. And it was perfect! Absolutely love how the navy has a bit of gray or smoke in it. It makes it elegant but not overly formal. I painted my bar hale navy and it accented my revere pewter walls absolutely beautifully. Don’t forget, if you have furniture you are painting that is a little dinged up or not the highest quality, try a high gloss finish, it hides things much better than other finishes. Both the chair and bar are in high gloss finishes. The chair was free so I just went for it. Painted the wood in hale navy and recovered the cushion easily with fabric from Hobby Lobby. It went beautifully in my Equestrian Themed Office. Walls in office are Clinton Brown.