Below is our list of the top 10 design dilemmas and resolutions from Ballard Designs.
Cecelia F. Asked: Moved into a new house with way more room than I had in the old one and I'm trying to create a beach house up in Minnesota. I have dark wood floors, blueish tiles, gray walls, white millwork and the prettiest kitchen ever! I need help with those decorative accents that say "Coastal Living." For starters, I bought a white/natural slipcovered sofa, loveseat and comfy chair for our family room.
Ballard Designs Answer: A few well-chosen essentials can give your room that casual beach attitude. Start with relaxing canvas of cool blue hues, pops of red and sandy tones. Incorporate sea-inspired art and mix in your own beachcombing finds. And layer in touches of texture, from natural-fiber rugs to coral accents.
Melissa G. Asked: Tiny two bedroom apartment. Not allowed to hang pictures or paint.
Ballard Designs Answer: If you’re decorating for a rental house to fill with guests, choosing pieces that serve a dual functionality work best. Pick a slipcovered sleeper sofa for a durable, easy-wash fabric and instantly create more places to sleep. If you’re decorating a rental you live in, choose pieces with height to help cover wall space or pop in color or patterns with curtains, pillows or rugs.
Dana Humphrey. Asked: Choosing kitchen countertops.
Ballard Designs Answer: Before you choose your countertops, always start by assessing how you are going to be using the space. Something that may look appealing to your eye, may not always serve as the most functional. Quartz composite countertops are a popular choice among homeowners for the toughness and offer a wide array of finish options. Always think about scale, texture and contrast to create a balanced environment.
Ballard Designs Answer: Remember that most homes are not decorated overnight. Tackling the project one room at a time helps it become less overwhelming. Determine your most essential pieces and how those fall into your budget and layer in accessories as you find them. As one of our favorite designers, Suzanne Kasler, always says, “A home isn’t decorated, it is collected.”
Ferdinand I. Asked: Hanging paintings on an empty wall.
Ballard Designs Answer: Hang the artwork so that the center point of the piece or grouping is at approximately eye level; think of groupings as a single unit. Art hung over a piece of furniture should not be wider than the width of the furniture, a general principle being that the art should be about 75% the width of the furniture. Choose smaller pieces for narrow walls and larger pieces for big walls.
Beverly G. Asked: Open floor plan, how to put together living room, dining room and large kitchen so it flows well but maintains a comfort level.
Jan M. Asked: Large living room (15'x18'), but has two focal points on opposing sides (fireplace on room entry wall, and large bay window to the yard on opposing wall) and tv sits on one of the other (15') walls. My issue is what furniture to have in the room and how to position it optimally. Been fighting this room for 17 years.
Kay P. Asked: My "L" shaped living room!
Ballard Designs Answer: When you are placing furniture in a small, large or oddly shaped room always consider the scale of your pieces. A large sectional helps take up floor space in a larger room, but could feel overpowering in a small room. You don’t always anchor furniture on the wall either—move them around in unexpected spots until you find what fits your style best.
Bev N. Asked: My family room has 3 doors, 3 windows and a brick fireplace—this limits my ability to rearrange furniture without blocking a walkway. I would love to change up the brick on the fireplace and minimize the distraction of the doors but I think I need more than the recently applied fresh coat of paint and curtains!
Gina L. Asked: My brick fireplace doesn't have a mantel! It's off the floor with a seat, then goes all the way to the ceiling.
Ballard Designs Answer: If you want to give it a simple update to your fireplace, consider filling it with items other than wood, such as candles, greenery or even books or give it a splash of new paint (even the brick) for a refresh. Oversized mirrors can give the illusion of a larger space, so try flanking one from the floor or above the mantle.
Ballard Designs Answer: Drapery is often used to help soften the space and adding dimension to your living area. If you love natural light, you may want to find curtains that are light and airy so you can let the sunshine in. Or you can use your window treatments as a way to carry a pattern or color throughout your design.
Ballard Designs Answer: Accessorizing is our favorite way to really personalize your space. Try switching up accessories from one room to another or finding new uses for your collections. Stack books under a lamp for height on an end table and if you don’t like a lot of clutter, choosing fashionable baskets are a great storage solution.
Miki A. Asked: Coordinate fabrics and scale.
Ballard Designs Answer: Always, always start with a sample and a swatch. Test your paint color on the wall first to get the authentic color, then take your swatches home to see which one you like best.