SEVEN DESIGN CHOICES THAT WILL STRESS YOU OUT

Decorating your apartment should be a pleasantly unending project that brings you aesthetic enjoyment, physical comfort, and ongoing satisfaction at the continual evolution of your space. Your apartment is a place, not only of sanctuary, but of cozy creativity, of basking in the visual and tactile choices you have made. 

But, of course, on the winding byways which make up the complex process of interior design, there may be some paths which lead to optical disharmony and even bodily discomfort! Remember, interior design is as much about editing--which means subtraction--as it is about feathering your nest. I’m not a minimalist, nor do I advocate that attitude, but many a design stressor comes from having too much stuff. So as you decorate, remember always to judiciously delete! 

Having pronounced this key rule of thumb, let us explore in more specific detail some of the errors that lead to design despair! 

1. TOO MUCH, TOO SOON. 

The most grievous errors in designing an interior almost always are the result of thinking you have to create a total interior all at once. While it is important to have a vision--embodied, perhaps, in a mood board, on which you pin images that entice you--you must remember that design is a process, not an immutable destination. 

The more you explore the amazing world of interior design, the more educated your taste will become. As you acquire knowledge about designers, design history, vendors of both new and vintage furniture, pattern, color, and quality, the more likely it is your original vision will be transformed. Therefore, don’t be frustrated if you can’t afford to implement your first plan for your interior all at once. Delay will very likely turn out to be a gift, permitting you to gradually infuse your interior with all the knowledge you have been cultivating. 

2. HOLDING ON TO UNCOMFORTABLE FURNITURE & OTHER RELICS 

You may have invested in certain pieces of furniture early in your decorating journey, or even before it began, which now don’t serve you. Of these, nothing is more obstructive to your new decorating goals than uncomfortable seating.

  

Seating that promotes physical ease, as well as being a delight to the eye, should be a priority. So don’t be afraid to get rid of that uncomfortable futon couch you had in your student days! Find a sofa that is really comfy, and you will never be short of guests!  Learn about the options: tight or loose-back; three-seater or two-seater.  

3. DROWNING IN THROW PILLOWS! 

Professional decorators are always telling us to use throw pillows as a way of injecting accent colors--often bright--pattern, and visual interest into our interiors. Their advice is absolutely correct, but the purpose will be defeated if you have too many.  

Perhaps you have throw pillows left over from an earlier decorating scheme that since has changed. Don’t be afraid to give these to Goodwill! Somebody will appreciate them.

 

An indiscriminate plethora of throw pillows--especially in a riot of colors that don’t relate to each other--will overwhelm and submerge design discipline. Instead, use each throw pillow as an opportunity to make a design mini-statement. Explore vintage fabrics. Introduce vibrant, lively patterns and textures you might not want to use on a large scale. And work out a palette for your pillow colors that is carefully calibrated and coordinated. 

4. OVERFLOWING CLOSETS: HELP! 

If you live in a small space, especially a studio apartment, you must be disciplined about the storage of your clothes and shoes. Nothing compromises a decorative scheme more than messy items of attire invading your more 'public' spaces. 

Are you sick of having to fish out the pair of shoes you want to wear from a pile in your closet? There is no need to have all your shoes on the floor of your closet. There are many shoe organizers readily available from vendors such as Bed, Bath & Beyond and from the preeminent closet organizers, California Closets. You might want to consider a shoe organizer that hangs from a closet door. But above all, get rid of shoes that no longer fit either you feet or your style! (The same goes for clothing.) Edit, edit, edit! 

5. SHELVES OVERCROWDED WITH ACCENT OBJECTS 

Shelves displaying objets such as vases and photographs are a wonderful way to personalize your decor, but like the larger elements of your scheme, they must be judiciously edited. Sometimes this is an agonizing task, one which seems to command that we get rid of cherished items. 

The solution? Rotate! You need not discard small mementoes you love; simply store them, and display them on a rotating basis. Objects will have more visual impact if they are displayed in carefully pruned groups. As you grow tired of one display, you can bring other objects out of storage and switch them. Don't clutter, curate! 

 6. 'BROKEN WINDOWS'

Your windows are not, of course, actually broken. But very possibly they are neglected.  

Don't settle for generic landlord blinds. Instead, use your windows as an opportunity for an emphatic design statement. Nothing humanizes an interior like textile, and windows are the natural place to express yourself via fabric. You may want to consider drapes in a beautiful, subtle tone-on-tone pattern.  

Perhaps you are intimidated, or put off, by the idea of a complicated--and expensive-- "window treatment". Don't worry! If you can't afford custom curtains, there are now many ready-made drapes available in every imaginable color and/or pattern. And these can be easy to install, often comprising a simple rod, available in a variety of finishes, from which you can hang the curtains from rings, grommets or a pocket heading. The result? A totally unfussy transformation of what otherwise might be an eyesore. 

7. DREARY LIGHTING 

Since the invention of the light bulb, there has emerged a gorgeous lineage of lamps, pendants, chandeliers and ceiling fixtures. If you live in a rental, there are likely already some rather gloomy ceiling fixtures, installed by a landlord who simply doesn't care about decor. Or, worse, there is simply a bare bulb. Bad or indifferent lighting can make even the most carefully cultivated design scheme look flat and dull.  

Fortunately, bad lighting is one of the easiest, least expensive design stressors to remedy. The addition of a graceful table lamp or two will provide indirect, soft lighting that is much kinder to your color scheme than overhead lighting.  

If you do have overhead lighting, substitute a beautiful pendant for that bare bulb or ugly fixture. Explore the lavish world of chandeliers! And look into the new LED bulbs that are available, as well as traditional incandescent bulbs which shed a soft, seductive light. 

IN CONCLUSION… 

Remember two principles in eliminating decorative stress: 

1. Edit! 

2. Don't live with your landlord's stuff! 

Be both merciless and kind to yourself, getting rid of past design detritus--from uncomfortable seating to an overload of throw pillows, shoes and/or accent items--in favor of an edited, yet not austere, look. At the same time, treat yourself to beautiful drapes and lamps you really want to live with, instead of a status quo of bare windows and bare bulbs.

 

Artfully mixed and matched, Indigo2ash’s wide selection of rugs, drapes and pillows are available in thirty subtle shades and myriad textures and patterns. At Indigo2ash, home is not only a place, but an experience, the setting most central to our families, friendships and visual adventures. Sign up to receive our newsletter with special offers!