Michelle Carangi

Guest Blogger

Michelle Carangi

Michelle Carangi is a Montreal-based designer who blogs about interior design at Holley & Gill and is the Style Director at Pure Green magazine. 

Top 5 Friday: 5 Basic Tips to Successful Decorating

Posted by Michelle Carangi Friday, November 19, 2010 2:55 PM EDT


When you are faced with a new room project, choosing colours, textures and patterns are what makes designing it fun. These elements are definitely a large aspect of decor, but if you think simply choosing a pretty colour scheme along with a trendy fabric will successfully create a cohesive and balanced room, you will be disappointed. What is paramount, and often overlooked, is the consideration given to proportion, perspective and the math -- yes I said math -- involved in good design.

Considerably less glamorous and exciting than shopping for pretty things, it is never the less vital you don't neglect these important factors. If you do, all those pretty things you bought will end up looking unfinished, disconnected and incomplete. Now, I don't intend to cram three years of design school into a Top 5, but I do wish to draw your attention to the technical aspects of design that play an important role in any look.

Scale & Proportion


In choosing pieces for your room, you must take into consideration how they relate to the size and scope of the space. Watch that the scale is appropriate -- does the ceiling dwarf your sofa? Is it too bulky in a much-too-skinny room?  Also, how does your furniture relate to each other? Is there a complementing variation in size and shape? Or is that coffee table way too small and square for that sprawling sectional?  A good design is achieved when each of these elements are balanced as a whole.


Odd Numbers

Smile and wave as seen on flickr

When arranging small areas of interest or artfully grouping objects either on a shelf, a mantel or even a coffee table, odd numbers always work best. The randomness of this type of vignette makes for a more natural look.


They're Multiplying!



Whether you collect antiques, books or your children’s drawings, find that one type of item that truly describes you and your style, and cover those walls. No other rules here, only live around what you love.


Less Really IS More, For the Ages...



We’ve all heard the “less is more” theory. If collecting or multiplying your favorite items is not for you, highlight your pieces by being selective in what you incorporate in your layout.  Of course, this is why you should always start with good finishes -- wood or painted floors, natural walls, nice windows, etc. -- so that the negative space you leave uncluttered displays inherent beauty.


Divide and Conquer 

The City Sage

The most efficient way to use a space is to visually or physically divide it according to where you want to eat, sleep, work and entertain. Each area has a purpose and every inch is maximized.

Did you consider these five principles when you tackled your latest project? Anything to add?

Topics: Decor, Interior Design, Design, How-To


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