The Studio Blog

Follow the chronicles of a designer's design adventures


New Old House Make-Over: Intermission

Remodeling and renovation projects can be slow and frustrating. You can only do so much at a time. It’s good to take breaks from the main project and work on something that can be finished and bring a sense of reward. Completing a task can have an energizing affect, the boost you need to get back to the more complicated work.



There are a few rooms in my house that have paint colors on the walls that are actually nice. The living room and dining room have a green and a brown, respectively, which complement our existing furniture and accessories. I hate empty walls. To me they give a feeling of transition and incompleteness to a room. There should be balance, however. I’m not a minimalist by any stretch of the word, but neither am I Victorian in my desire to cover every bit of surface.

Hanging art can be an art in itself. Notions of ‘proper’ placement are outdated. While there are good ways and bad ways to display it, don’t get hung up on any rules. My recommendations for easy placement are to start at eye level and work your way around a focal piece. Vary sizes of frames together, but keeping the frame style unified is a good idea. Then the emphasis is on the art itself, not the frame.  Mixing framed pieces with a decorative piece gives softness to the grouping and adds a surprise.


There’s a designer’s trick to art placement (and accessory placement) that maintains balance but keeps groupings from seeming cluttered: use odd numbers. Groups of 3 or 5 work best especially with pieces of different sizes. Can’t put my finger on why odd numbers seem ‘even’, but try it. It works!

Don’t worry that a lamp or a floral piece might get in front of your art. Layering is a designer’s trick too; it gives a room a sense of dimension.


This setting is only beginning to take shape. First the dresser the mirror is on needs to be placed in the center of the wall, then the mirror can be hung, but you see what I’m going for here. I like the look of a piece of art leaning on a mirror. This mirror is big and in a smaller room than where it used to be so it’s good that it will make the room seem larger, but that’s a lot of reflection! The art and floral soften its affect.

Filling in bookshelves and putting out accessories is taking a lot longer than I thought but hanging some artwork is a good beginning to get the rooms moving, so to speak! Now I’m energized to get back to that bathroom…or… maybe I’ll work on the dressing room. Hmmmm….

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