Decorating: Whose Home is it Anyway?

By Leagh Janell

Decorating experts are everywhere. They are on TV, YouTube and in magazines. They are your next door neighbor, or even your best friend. Sometimes they can be very astute and helpful, but often they also have an agenda, such as marketing new products, or perhaps just wanting to be the one who knows what is best for you.

People mean well, but if you are interested in creating your own unique living environment, it is important to listen politely to nearby experts while nodding your head affirmatively (you don’t wish to hurt anyone’s feelings, of course), then gather the information you feel is pertinent to you and go about doing what you really desire.

One professional decorator commented, “Many times, clients think that getting as much feedback as possible from friends and neighbors is important when undertaking a decorating project. The opposite is often true. Usually, it ends up being very limiting for the client. I am diplomatic but firm in my approach, because people’s perceptions regarding what they desire down deep can be altered by the will of others.”

Checking in on the perceptions of what the online experts or friends and family think is good, doesn’t necessarily help one find a true reflection of themselves in their living environment.

Pam’s home was like a retreat- contemporary, spacious, good natural lighting. Her home was surrounded by an open, flat property and fields, lined with pine trees at the perimeter. The main colors in Pam’s home were several different shades of gray in the same greenish hue. Her artwork was predominantly a group of meditative photographs of places and people around the world, from her travels. The 10’ ceilings and large white wood trim made the rooms look elegant and stately, but to Pam’s good friend, Alice, all the straight lines and muted grays seemed to make Pam’s home seem mausoleum-like.

Alice, being the sensitive friend that she was, thought that Pam was “not tapping into her own inner richness”. She believed that Pam was not expressing the woman she knew her to be underneath it all.

Alice recommended to Pam that she add a “rich” cranberry color to the open dining room that came from its Persian rug. Pam thought Alice’s idea made sense and the color looked appealing to her. The room was then painted according to Alice’s suggestion.

Pam lived with the new color choice for awhile. She thought it looked great, but wasn’t content with it. She thought that perhaps it was “too something or other”, so Pam had the room re-painted several times in various shades of the same cranberry color. It just didn’t sit right with her, though Pam’s group of friends believed it was an excellent choice.

Finally, Pam had the room painted what it had originally been. When Alice asked Pam what was wrong with the color of the room, as it suited it perfectly and tastefully, and the art photography looked great against the color. Pam said, “I felt agitated by the color without even thinking about it. I want serenity. This is my retreat.”

There are many decorating tools people can use to choose colors, textures, styles, fabrics and finishes. Some of them are computer programs that are quite sophisticated. Whether you are online or are in a paint store, simple assistance is always to be found. for instance, sells art prints, posters and frames. It has a tool for viewing your chosen print closely with a looking glass tool to see fine details. To be able to view your art print with a particular frame on it, all you have to do is click.

Questions you might consider asking yourself when proceeding to decorate are, “How do I want this room to feel when I am spending time in it? Do I really connect with the artwork, or am I just settling for what seems nice?” Get educated, but also trust your own instincts and feelings.

Sometimes, money seems to be the consideration-

Alex, a seasoned European designer believes that, “Money doesn’t have to always keep people from getting creative- even outrageous. I didn’t have a certain lamp that I wanted in my living room. I had an interesting lamp shade, but I didn’t have the lamp. So, I piled up some decorative box tins from Italy on the table and put the lampshade on it. A friend came in one evening and went to turn it on while commenting on how lovely and unusual it was. He was surprised and amused when I told him that, that was where the lamp was going to go. I almost left the tins and lampshade up instead, because it became an attractive conversation piece.”

Leagh Janell is passionate about fine art and decorating. His 30 years as a fine artist and decorative artist for a high profile clientele have afforded him some authority in those fields. He presently writes for

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment