Furniture that fits has flair
Let home's size be guide
By Sue Doerfler
From The Arizona Republic
After moving to the Valley from northern Virginia, interior designer Greta Gray set about looking for a new home.
She wasn't swayed by the grandiose entry ways, 21-foot ceilings or massive rooms that characterize so many of today's homes. Instead, she looked for a home with her furniture in mind.
"I bought a house that's in proportion to my furniture," she said. The 2,100-square-foot Scottsdale home has cozy rooms, 10-foot ceilings and a dramatic but small entryway that match her collection of antiques, average-size sofa and print chairs. "I had the furniture arranged in my head the minute I saw the place."
All too often, scale and proportion aren't considered when someone is buying a home, Gray said.
Too many people buy homes that are wrong for the furniture they own, she said. Their furniture is too large or small, and they end up having to redecorate before they've even moved in. Others are swayed by emotions, thinking larger or more dramatic is always better.
These same people often own furnishings they enjoy, that are in colors and styles they like and that they don't want to replace.
Gray, who moved here nearly a year ago, has a wealth of suggestions for making your furniture fit into the scale of a home, as well as other decorating tips:
Small pieces work
Antiques tend to be smaller than much of the furniture being manufactured today, but that doesn't mean they can't or don't fit into today's larger rooms, Gray said.
She suggests adding some plants to the sides of a desk, hutch or other antique piece to make it look larger. Give them some height by placing plant stands underneath.
Plant stands, which are easy to transport from room to room, can also be topped with statues or sculptures.
The same accessories can be used to enlarge other smaller items, such as sofa tables. Or, set standing lamps on the sides.
Making big better
Large rooms require large furniture, such as sectionals that encircle a room. But what if you later move to a new home that has smaller rooms? Will the sectional fit?
Gray suggests that instead of a sectional, place two sofas in an L shape. That way, should you move, you can place them in the same room or two rooms.
Color sets tone
"People are reluctant to use color," Gray said. "They see the model homes with "The earth tone interiors and they're afraid to use color."
Furniture, however, doesn't usually come devoid of color. Pick paint for walls that complements the furniture.
If you have white or neutral items, add some colorful rugs and pillows.
Another way to infuse color into a room when using existing furnishings is to have paintings rematted in colors of the room and adding details, such as colorful cabinet knobs to kitchen cabinets and ceramic hooks to bathroom walls.
Vision of versatility
If you want or need to buy a new sofa, choose one that has clean lines and is upholstered in a solid color. Top it with a variety of pillows done in fun, whimsical or colorful fabrics that have various prints and tex tures. This way, instead of having to replace a sofa when you want a new look, you can replace the pillows and achieve the same effect.
Look for pieces that have several uses or can be used in several locations. Benches, for example, can be placed in any room.
Plant stands, as mentioned above, have a multitude of uses. Gray's dining table, for example, is a piece of glass set on two columns. If she moves, she can use the stands for sculpture and store the glass.
Build on architecture
Consider your home's architecture and incorporate it into your decor.
Gray's home, for example, came with a turret-shaped entryway reminiscent of a European castle. She had bricks and mortar faux-painted around its interior and a sky scene, with wispy clouds, on the ceiling.