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How to Evaluate a Room’s Design and Decor

Anyone can walk into a room and say, “I don’t like this room.” To fix a problem-laden room, you need to step back and figure out what went wrong. A little distance can help you find the solution to make that problem go away. When you walk into a room and you don’t love it, follow these two easy steps:

  1. Ask yourself three main questions:

    • Do I like the color of the room?

    • Do I like the room’s lines (or patterns)? Does the room have too many lines (making it seem too busy)? Too few (making it seem boring)?

    • Do I like the room’s combination of textures? Are there too many? Too few? Are they incompatible or just tasteless?

    After you answer these questions, take the second step.

  2. Take a close-up look at the area (color, line, or texture) where the problem seems to be. Come up with some decorating ideas to improve this facet of your room’s design.

After you’ve spotted the problem and generated some possible decorating improvements, you’re ready to take decorating action by following these easy steps:

  1. To find a solution to an unsatisfactory color scheme, narrow your problem down. Then apply some simple color rules to solve your problem. Ask yourself the following questions:

    • Is the room too warm, making you feel overstimulated and unable to relax? If so, apply the “cool colors are calming” rule by adding cool-color accents of blues and greens.

    • Is the room so cool that you feel depressed? Apply the “warm colors are stimulating” rule. Cheer up the cold room with accents from the warm side of the color wheel, such as oranges and yellows.

    • Is the color bland and boring? Spice it up with complementary colors (colors from the opposite side of the color wheel, such as orange and blue, or green and red).

  2. Work in steps, gauging your response as you work.

    For example, what if your walls are too red and make you feel hot and jumpy? To simmer it down a bit, cool the room by degrees:

    • Switch to a cool-colored, neutral upholstery. Beige, taupe, white, and any dampened-down blue or green should do the trick.

    • Add a neutral rug. Soft earth tones, for example, look natural underfoot.

    • Hang cool-colored art with white mats for more relief. A leafy landscape or an atmospheric seascape, for example, brings a breath of fresh air into any room. Any too-hot floral can be matted in crisp white or other cool colors for a breezier feel.

    Your eye and body can tell you when you’ve cooled your room down to your comfort level. You’ll feel more serene (your pulse rate, blood pressure, and body temperature will drop!) in a room that’s balanced.

Adding texture is a remedy you can easily and inexpensively apply and one that brings its very own, very special decorating pleasure.

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