by RUBY RAY KARZEN
Reprinted with permission from the Jerusalem Post
As the years pass by even the most imaginative and tastefully decorated home become time- worn and require re-decorating and refurbishing.
For many people this is so overwhelming an undertaking that the project is ignored with the result that their homes become shabby, out-of- date and a repository of mismatched odds and ends.
Some people feel that instinctively they aught to be able to design or refit their own home, but cannot get it all together.
Others would prefer to hire a professional to take the responsibility off their shoulders, but feel that they cannot afford one or that it would be giving into self- indulgence.
Others still have the ideas and the confidence, but do not know where to find the
Yet decoration is in no way an absolute specialty. It is not like law or medicine. It is or should be, highly personal; an expression of self, the sum of one’s interests as an individual an as a family; a personal and practical statement about living which anybody can make and feel comfortable about. Successful decoration is a question of gaining confidence and of feeling at ease with your choices.
Decoration is much like cooking. The choices are the ingredients. Fabric, furniture, floor coverings must be chosen and mixed together, spiced and seasoned with tastes and flavors. In both cases, familiarity with ingredients is half of the battle; interest and the will to experiment is the other.
The first step in refurbishing is to do a fearless inventory of the room. View each component critically; select carefully what should remain and which pieces do not contribute to the beauty of the whole. Note remaining furniture on an activity list and determine its grouping.
Select a wall color or wallpaper based on existing rugs, furniture type, and wood finishes.
Choose harmonious new drapery fabrics. Select upholstery fabrics based upon the new color scheme. Make additional furniture purchases if necessary. Buy new lamp shades or new lamp bases and shades. Determine the sizes of the accessories.
To be in scale, all furniture should have a definite relationship, whether purchased separately or all at one time. A dining room table should be chosen with its chairs in mind. Portable lamps are selected to sit the height and style of end tables.
Sofas and chair tables should be no higher than the arms of the furniture next to which they are placed. Care must be taken so that large pieces do not overpower, but complement smaller pieces.
All furniture should be considered together, not independently. In a small living room or a one room apartment, a love seat is a more practical choice than a sofa; a small desk, more advisable than a large writing table.
It is wise to use small-scale furniture when a room is small. It helps to make a room larger.
Conversely, don’t increase the scale of your furniture if your room is big. Increase the uses of the room by having more furniture. Bulkiness in furniture is no criteria of comfort, service or a good appearance; only of usable space lost to bulk.
If you have large individuals in your family, there is furniture that will serve their needs without looking massive. Modern design and styling takes size into consideration by using materials of strong, light construction and by eliminating heavy pads. Yet the over-all dimensions for comfort are retained.
Furniture that has been scaled down to useful minimums does not make people seem huge, only the room, because the level of the furniture has been lowered and bulk eliminated. Armchairs look just as good and are just as comfortable when the arm is centimeters in width.
On the whole, furniture that is scaled to contemporary homes and living habits will help create a definite feeling of luxury and repose in a room by not distracting the eye. Detail in most homes is best limited to accessories that add charm and personality. Small scale furniture is flexible and more readily rearranged or moved to other rooms. They combine more easily with other furnishings without appearing clumsy, providing space and simplicity.
An abundance of each of these qualities are among the most desirable attributes in a home.
Properly utilized, they are tangible assets that lead toward the making of a beautiful home.
Fear not the prospect of refurbishing! Welcome the opportunity to create an atmosphere for your family that is practical, beautiful and comfortable.