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The woman who helped usher the interior design industry into full flower in the United States was prolific in putting out ideas that will help freshen up today's interior design business. Look at our latest Designer Monthly, Interior Design: Look Forward by Looking Back to Dorothy Draper.

Did you ever have a problem designing small spaces?  Take a look at how top interior designers solved this common problem in our latest Designer Monthly, How to Design Small Spaces at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House.





Entries in displaying artwork (2)


How to Dress Up Your Walls - Part II

Cinque Terre from the Thief and the Knight / The Amalfi Coast by Camrio / Sailing in South of France by Osinni - from Brunelli Designs Inc.

Dressing up your room's walls is a crucial part of interior design; it provides a focal point for all those who enter the room. In a previous blog, I mentioned creating themes as a jumping off point for dressing up your walls. An easy theme to use is travel.  But travel could encompass a wide selection of work so it’s best to narrow it down even further.  If your client, for instance, loved travel and the ocean; then choose artwork with both these themes, creating a strong cohesive group of artwork.

In our example above, we chose art work showing off Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast of Italy, and also from the South of France. Notice how the blues and greens of the pictures bring the grouping together. Below is a grouping of various landscapes.  Besides choosing a common theme, you should also choose artwork with the same intensity of colors.  A bold picture with saturated colors may overwhelm a more delicate picture of pastels.

 Clockwise from top left: Champ d’avoine by Monet / Russian Winter by Barasch, High Sierra by C. Bruder – both from Brunelli Designs Inc. / Path to Crescent Bay, Laguna Beach – by Charles Zoltan - from Stewart Fine Art

Another way to choose a group of artwork is to stick to a similar style of painting.  Above you have artwork with a realistic approach to the landscapes; below shows a more abstracted brushwork.  The artwork below is a series of watercolors by Lisbeth Reed.

Clockwise from top: Dirt Road, Hidden Cupola, Seaside Landscape – all by Lisbeth "Bet" Reed – from Wallbangers

Interested in learning more about accessorizing?  Take a look at New York Institute of Art and Design.  At NYIAD, you will learn how to transform a space, create color schemes, and select furniture, lighting, and accessories.


How to Dress Up Your Walls - Part I

One of the first things I notice in homes when working on an interior design job is the artwork or lack of artwork on the walls. Usually there’s very little on the walls – just a lonely print or photograph and that’s it. I don’t know if it’s a tight budget, fear of making a mistake or just sheer laziness, but dressing up your wall can really be the easiest and most enjoyable way to establish a style in your home.  It could even be the least expensive way to liven up your interiors.

(photographs, courtesy of Sonic Editions & from left to right: Michael Ochs Archives, Peter Ruck, Michael Ochs Archives-next two, and McKeown) The first question I get usually asked is where does one start? That’s easy - usually I begin with what the client has.  This can also be the cheapest method.  I ask what kind of collections, hobbies, artwork, and photographs do they already have. Then I start nosing around in their photo albums, their closets, and their attics (with their permission, of course!)  to see what I can work with.  Sometimes a client can overlook what’s right under their nose. 

After I’ve evaluated the available art work and accessories, then I turn to creating possible themes.  Sometimes, by just looking at what the client has, I can figure out their interests.  It could be travel, which can be narrowed down to specific countries of the world; it could be animals, nature, sports, and so forth.  The third step is determining the mood they prefer – do they want formal, casual, rustic or sophisticated? After those three steps, then I really get down to work and plan out the walls. 

If a client has portrait photographs of friends and family, I start with those and create a story around them.  Above is a version of a photo wall in a formal and elegant mood.  To invoke an elegant style, I kept the photographs to black and white mode with simple frames and interspersed it with the sparkle of distressed mirrors to add dimensionality (Dubois mirrors from Crate and Barrel). The strong photos (limiting it to close-up portraits) and the beautiful mirrors create a strong statement to any room.

A more casual and relaxed approach is to create an asymmetrical wall with different shapes and sizes that are hung in a non-linear way. This technique is great for those odd shaped art work or accessories. Since many people usually have souvenirs lying around their homes from their vacations, travel can be a starting point for dressing up a wall. Above is an example of a travel theme – that of Spain. I started with a travel poster of Madrid and expanded from there. Spain is known for their beautiful tiles, a result of their Moorish history, and these tiles have such intricate designs that they can be hung like artwork instead of just using them for flooring. The final touch is the Marietta mirrors from Joss & Main with a shape reminiscent of Moorish tile work. The muted earth tone colors ties all the art and accessories together.

Stay tuned next time for further examples on how to dress up your walls!


Interested in learning more about accessorizing? Take a look at Sheffield School's Complete Course in Interior Design. At Sheffield, you'll learn how to transform a space, create color schemes, and select furniture, lighting, and accessories.