The Cure for Design Paralysis

black chair and blank white art on the white wall

Do you suffer from design paralysis? Take this quiz to find out and discover the remedy.

True or false:

  • When every color in a room has equal weight, there is no cohesion or flow.
  • To successfully layer fabric patterns, mix pattern scales from small to extra-large. 
  • To create a comfortable conversation group in the living room, seating should be placed between 42 to 120 inches apart.
  • The perfect rug size should be 2 to 3 feet from the wall on each side. 
  • When placing a chandelier above your dining room table, the bottom of the fixture should be 66 inches above the floor.  

If you answered true to each statement, you’re a design star. If you didn’t, my prescription is to (call me!! or) read Vern Yip’s book, Design Wise: Your smart guide to a beautiful home.

HGTV star Yip has written a fantastic book which is my go-to reference when teaching my interior decorating classes. Whether you’re just starting out, baffled by color choice or furniture construction methods, or wondering why your furniture seems too crowded, add this book to your reading list.  

… once you know the right formulas and combinations, or at least have them handy and accessible, you can design any room with great confidence and originality.

In the first chapter, “Design by the numbers,” he shares the critical dimensions for placement of furniture, lighting, art and mirrors, area rugs, and more. After reading Yip’s tips, I promise you you’ll be moving your coffee table further away from your sofa, considering the purchase of longer window treatments, and lowering your artwork on the walls.

Subsequent chapters include “What you need to know before you buy” and “Pulling it all together” on how to create the perfect setting.

The second half of the book boasts full-page photos of everything from indoor accessories to outdoor furnishings across three design styles. Yip’s clean-line aesthetic shines through in country living, urban style, and coastal escape.

Finally, the book concludes with several quick reference guides to supplement his opening two chapters on proper placement and quality furniture. 

According to Yip, “… once you know the right formulas and combinations, or at least have them handy and accessible, you can design any room with great confidence and originality.”

With many satisfied clients since 2008, Barbara Graceffa owns and operates Secretary of the Interior in Quincy, MA offering decorating services at reasonable rates. If you want to suggest a blog topic or have a decorating, downsizing/decluttering or home staging project needing professional help or are interested in hosting a workshop or quilt show, please contact her via her website or phone 617.921.6033.

By Barbara Graceffa

Barbara Graceffa, CEO of Secretary of the Interior, serves decorating clients; assists with professional organizing, home staging and moving assistance; teaches on these subjects; and delivers quilt lectures and trunk shows.

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