The Formula for a Designer Room

My method for a fabulous, collected room is cheesy (just to warn you) but it really works. You should never have too much of one thing. Just because you love French antiques doesn't mean every piece in your room needs to look like its from 18th century France. You don't want to look like you just walked into Aidan Gray and bought your entire room. If you want everything to "match" go to rooms to go.

Actually, if you want your French Antique bed to stand out more you should get a modern or transitional bedside table. The smooth shiny finish of a nightstand will make your layered, antiqued, paint-chipping, distressed French bed stand out because it's not competing with it-it's contrasting it. Basically, if everything is a focal point then you have no focal point. 

Here is my little formula that I keep in mind when putting a room together:

"Something old, 

something new, 

something living, 

and something you."


Old and New

Balancing old and new is the secret to achieving a cohesive look, a collected (not decorated) room, and an eye catching space. Having a balance of old and new makes your home stylish for longer because it is not committed to a certain look or time period. By mixing styles you can achieve unique and interesting rooms that will be in style far longer than one specific look. Side note: In my next blog post I will discuss how to buy things that you will love for a very long time...stay tuned!

You may love old, french antiques (who doesn't?) and you might be tempted to cover your entire room with painted, distressed, paint chipping pieces. But the way to make these things stand out more is to contrast your gorgeous bed with the french patina finish with a modern, lacquered nightstand. You don't have to use bright colors to make a room jaw dropping or to give a space a WOW factor. Mixing old and new, smooth and rough, shiny and matte will add dimension and interest in your space and give you a designer look. 

mixing old and new decor

One of my favorite designers, Jennifer DeCierbo seems to master the mix of old and new in each space she designs. In the above picture she takes a gorgeous, antique French chest with carved details and tops it off with a smooth and shiny glass lamp and a clean, modern mirror. Click here to get the look.


Something living

Alright, so now that you have your balance of old and new in a room add something living. Get a houseplant, a preserved arrangement, a pretend plant, an ant farm, or just something that is living (or at least looks like it is alive.) Adding life, especially greenery to a room, make a huge difference! Try a preserved moss arrangement, they are modern, look good absolutely any where and will last for at least 3 years. 

There are too many scientific studies to count that prove that human beings are happier and less stressed when they ar ein close proximity to a plant. Science shows us that houseplants in immediate environment greatly benefit our general well being and mental health. 

Science has also proven that having a dog increases a cancer patient's survival rate. Owning a dog benefits heart health and increases human's longevity. These studies on house plants and dogs are just two examples of how living things benefit our general state of mind and overall wellbeing. 


mixing rustic and modern decor

The room pictured above has a mix of both old, new and living. We are loving how Karen McGill mixed a shiny white lacquer dresser with rustic furnishings. And that fern is the perfect finishing touch!


Something you

Now that you have your old and new and living thing too add something to the room that reflects YOU. This is your house. You should have something that is special to you, is "so you" in terms of style, or something that you personally connect with. If you love music, frame your favorite sheet music, have a painting done of that amazing vacation you and your husband took together (a landscape not a portrait), frame a letter from your grandmother, get an old copy of your favorite book. There are endless possible ways that you can add something specific to you in each room in your house. Something that you personally connect with from art to heirlooms to that thing you just can't explain and get defensive if someone even suggests that you throw it away. 



Virginia Harper


Virginia Harper

I loved this article-it approaches decorating a room from a completely different direction. Thanks.

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