I approach decorating as if I were telling a story. Each pursuit has elements in common. One of the most important of these is composition. Both decorating and storytelling create a “whole” by combining separate “parts.” In decorating, we combine colors, textures, collections, etc. to create a unified whole. Storytelling uses words. Both endeavors combine separate parts using a common theme or themes to organize individual elements. With organization, comes order, and with order, comes a harmonious whole. Whether I am referring to a house or a story, I am composing. Good decorating tells a good story.
A theme or more accurately themes, provides the structure for our “story.” They form the foundation upon which all our decorating decisions should be made. the essence of that foundation can be many things, but some type of support should be present.
What that support should be–is up to you. When people talk about decorating, they often bring up the word “rules.” I like to keep rules for loftier pursuits. I think that decorating a home is important, especially for the inhabitants. But let’s save rules for situations that involve a person’s health and safety. Decorating should be fun and a reflection of our personalities. Rather than rules, I like to use the word–considerations. I want to offer you things that you might “consider” as you tell your story.
I want to encourage each of you to determine what pleases you and what doesn’t so that you can make basic decisions about your best decorating paths. When you have that vision, you will make better decisions and become more efficient with your time and money.
So, first we should determine colors, textures, things, etc., that please us. A well-decorated home has layers that are revealed as you walk into it. Their effects unfold with the experience. One way to corral all these elements is to organize them into certain categories or themes. To begin, consider the colors, textures, things that you like. Because decorating is a process, usually created over time, it probably is wise to go with comfortable themes that you know you like–and not jump wholeheartedly into trends. If you give thoughtful consideration to them before you begin, you will find that what pleases you–will also find favor with those you invite into your home, because it will reflect your personality.
Let’s begin with some examples:
- Colors: What colors do you prefer? What colors are in the room all the other days of the year when you are not getting ready for Christmas? Are your Christmas decorating colors compatible with those already in the room? Let’s try something. Mentally, strip every form out of your room. What I mean by that is this. In your mind, take out the sofa’s form, but leave the color. Do the same for all the chairs, everything. Now consider the colors that are in the room–and choose your Christmas decorating colors accordingly.
- Textures: How about textures? Do you like rough tweedy looks or do you prefer shiny and smooth?
- Things: There are usually one or two items in a room that simply must be there. When something is that important, it is not unusual for you to want to get another . Every collection begins with that first chicken, antique, or painting. The challenge is to confine these collections to a structure that prevents them from overwhelming a room or home. Themes help us organize our collections. Luckily for those with real collecting fever, Christmas is probably the best time of year to wander over the boundaries into the territory of “excess.” In fact, many believe that when talking about Christmas decorating, enough is never truly enough.