Your Guide to Creating Beautiful Spaces, FAST!
September 17, 2003
THE MISSION...DecoDreams is the home-decorating-made-
easy.com e-zine that delivers interior decorating tips,
ideas, and solutions to enhance all rooms of your home.
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Diversity of creative ideas has always been the
hallmark of home decorating. That's why I've asked
designer, artist, educator and writer, Marney
Makridakis, to share her own unique brand of
decorating advice in our "Ask the Decorator" column. I
think you'll enjoy her wit and original insights.
Submit your questions to Marney by clicking here.
> TABLE OF CONTENTS
o Featured Article
1) Makeover Magic for Small Spaces!
o Turning Ideas Into Action!
1) Ask the Decorator
- Marney Makridakis, The DecoDiva, Answers
Your Question About Decorating Small Spaces
o Today's Quote
This issue of DecoDreams puts the spotlight on getting
the most out of small rooms.
While you may think it's tough to make small spaces
beautiful, it's really easier than you think.
In addition to the ideas in the feature article, be
sure and check out the photos on the Home Decorating
Made Easy web site.
You'll see pictures of my home which is relatively
small. But it never feels that way.
Anyway, have a look and perhaps you'll gain some
insights that can help spice up your small spaces.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ FEATURED ARTICLE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Makeover Magic for Small Spaces!
We get a lot of questions about how to decorate small
rooms and spaces.
Homes of all sizes and shapes often have small rooms
that can pose decorating questions like these...
"How can I make this space the most functional?"
"How can I make this small space be stylish and inviting?"
And, the most frequent question of all...
"Is there any way to make this room look bigger?"
I’ve got some easy answers that you can integrate into
your room right away!
Here are my top 10 tips for making a small room look
1. Limit the furniture in the room. Keep the
furniture pieces small in scale…in other words, use a
love seat instead of a sofa, and consider a slipper
chair instead of an oversized easy chair. Large,
bulky furniture pieces will only make the room look
2. Make sure that the major furniture pieces are
upholstered in either a solid color, or a very subtle
pattern. If your sofa has a bold pattern, consider
slipcovering it in a solid color, if you don’t want to
pay for reupholstering.
3. Use patterns sparingly, and in small areas. Good
choices for pattern usage are throw pillows, floor
rugs, and throws/blankets. As a general rule, any
patterns in the room -- upholstery, window
treatments, rugs, wallpaper –- should be small in
scale. That is to say, think of a small, delicate
floral print rather than a pattern with large,
4. Hang mirrors of any size on the walls. Mirrors are
probably the easiest way to instantly expand a space.
5. Paint walls in a solid color, or use a very subtle
faux finish with two very similar colors combined. If
you opt for wallpaper, go with either a solid color or
an extremely subtle pattern.
6. Use cool colors (blues, violets, greens) on the
walls to give the impression of expansion. But if you
like warm colors, don’t worry – you can paint the
walls in a neutral color with a slight cool overcast.
For example, you can use a white with a slight tint of
blue (rather than a slight tint of red), or a cream
with a slight tint of green (rather than a slight tint
7. If the room has windows, make the most of them!
Make sure to leave much of the window showing. Window
treatments should be used primarily to frame the
window, rather than cover it up.
8. If there are few or no windows in the room, hang
paintings in attractive frames to create the feeling
of a window-clad room.
9. Be sure to keep clutter to a minimum. To make this
very easy, ensure that the room has adequate hidden
storage spaces. Take advantage of tables or armoires
with drawers, window seats with storage space
underneath, and coffee tables that open up for storage.
10. Think vertical! Use tall furniture pieces
(bookshelves, armoires) to extend the perceived height
of the ceiling. Place decorative accents at the top
of tall furniture pieces, such as real or artificial
greenery, to draw the eye upward. Hang long drapes
from the ceiling that reach to the floor. Line the
top of the wall, where it meets the ceiling, with a
shelving or a wallpaper border.
It’s one thing to list 10 tips, and quite another to
see them in action. Let’s look at two small spaces
and see how the homeowners have managed the space
First, let’s look at this cozy sitting room that looks
and feels larger than it actually is.
The walls are painted a solid neutral color with a
slight cool tint.
The room’s plentiful windows are left open to see, and
are framed by floor-to-ceiling drapes that magnify the
height of the room. A framed painting adds the
impression of a “faux” window on the opposite side of
A tall armoire is the focal point of the room, and its
height is made more prominent by the greenery used to
decorate the top of it. The armoire also provides
helpful hidden storage space.
The furnishings consist of a small sofa and a slipper
chair. These pieces allow four people to sit
comfortably in the room, but don’t make the room feel
The fabrics used for the sofa and window treatments
are in solid colors, and a rug is used to add a splash
of subtle pattern.
Accents are used sparingly, with just a plant and
minimal knick-knacks on the coffee table. The room
looks organized and clutter-free.
Now, let’s take a look at an even smaller space.
In this home, a narrow hallway between the front door
and the kitchen is used as a dining area. Even in
such a small area, some of the techniques can be put
The walls are painted in a very subtle faux finish
that is not at all distracting or overbearing.
The curtains feature a small-scale floral pattern, and
the windows remain exposed. There are pull-down
shades to use to block out light, when necessary.
The tablecloth is a solid color, and pattern is added
sparingly with the table runner.
A shelf is placed at the top of the ceiling to draw
the eye upward.
Accents are used sparingly and the area is clutter-free.
A similarity between both of these spaces is that they
both are functional and inviting. The small sitting
room feels roomy enough for relaxing and socializing,
and the hallway-turned-dining-room serves as an
inviting nook for two.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ask the Decorator
DecoDiva, Marney Makridakis, Answers Your Question
About Decorating Small Spaces
QUESTION: I have a very small house. The living room
and dining area are connected (living room is a
rectangle and dining room is a square shape, off of
the living room.) All I know is that I want a warm,
red living room. I know it is a small room, but I
don't care. Should I do the dining room in red also
or is that too much? If it is, what colors would
compliment the red?
ANSWER: Since you have your heart set on painting the
small living room red, you definitely should go for
it! In this instance, you can really capitalize on
the warming qualities of red to make a cozy haven for
you and your family.
You should just be extra cautious to take advantage of
some of the other tips that are listed above. Work on
expanding the perception of height, keep accents to a
minimum, and use furniture pieces and patterns that
are small in scale.
I would suggest that you paint the dining room in a
color other than red. I think that having both the
living room and dining room in the same strong red
color would cross the line from being warm and cozy to
My recommendation is to build the living room around
shades of olive green. Red and green are
complementary colors on the color wheel and using them
together allows each to shine in its best light.
Furthermore, since olive green is technically a "cool"
color, it will help open up the joint space.
For the dining room, I would suggest painting the
walls a light shade of olive green.
Build on the olive green to create the color scheme
for rest of your room by adding a warm neutral color,
such as a taupe or beige.
Use the olive green and taupe combination for items
such as window treatments, chair upholstery, wallpaper
border, and artwork.
The key to making the two rooms match is to use the
dominant color of one room as an accent color in the
other room. In your red dining room, add some small
touches of olive green.
You might, for example, have a single olive green lamp
on a side table, and an olive green throw pillow on
Conversely, add a splash of red in the olive green and
taupe dining room. Perhaps place some red
candlesticks on the table, hang small red crystals
from the chandelier, or place arrangements of
artificial red roses in sconce vases on the walls.
Using color in this "two-way conversation", your
living room and dining room will live together in
Get Organized Now!
Before you begin any decorating project,
do yourself a HUGE favor and get clutter
under control. Doing this alone will make
a room appear larger, and you'll feel more
relaxed. The crown jewel is that you'll get
more time back into your day. Click here to
"How to Make Roman Shades"
I reviewed this ebook recently and it's
the best you'll find on how to
easily create roman shades on
your own. Step-by-step diagrams
and easy, yet detailed, instructions
will have you making beautiful roman
shades in no time at all. Even sewing
beginners will find the process easy
to follow. Just think of the money
***************** TODAY'S QUOTE ***************************
"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time,
for that's the stuff life is made of."
- Benjamin Franklin
Wishing you all the best,
Michael J. Holland - President
Home Decorating Made Easy
Copyright © 2003
P.S. Don't forget your fr*ee chapters of Awaken Your
Interior Designer. You'll get 72 pages, filled with
lots of ideas and photos to put you on the right
decorating path.Click here to download your copy right away
P.P.S. If you're thinking of starting a part-time or
full-time business for crafts or home decorating, be
sure to download our complimentary ebook called From Passion to Cash: How to Make Money With Your Passion of Crafts and Decorating. You'll find lots
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