- If you have the discipline to stick to it, this simple adage -- make one corner beautiful at a time -- can transform your decorating dreams from overwhelming to manageable and rewarding.
The idea is by no means new. As the story is told, a young New England bride in the late 1800s was faced with the seemingly overwhelming task of hand sewing the obligatory curtains for nine large windows gracing the front of her impressive Federal-style home on the town’s main street. “Make one corner beautiful at a time,” counseled a wise village elder. Convention not withstanding, the greatly relieved bride turned her efforts toward creating a livable sitting room for herself and her groom, the unused upstairs bedrooms getting attention in due time.
Whatever the scope of your decorating goals, this simple mantra may be the inspiration you need to begin.
Narrow your focus.
If you think of your home or room as a series of projects to complete one by one, you’ll see noticeable results and feel a quicker sense of accomplishment. Consider this: place a new table, chair, and vase of flowers in three different corners and you’ll feel less than rewarded for your efforts. Arrange the items together and, presto, you’ve created an inviting focal point.
First things first.
What do you see when you first enter a room? By drawing the eye to a visually inviting tableau, you set the tone for the whole space.
Add eye appeal to your living space.
Does your living space lack a sense of personality, beg for a dash of drama? Freshen your look for holiday guests or to please yourself year 'round by building a focal point around one beautiful piece. (Here’s another adage: invest in a single piece of furniture each year and you’ll build a handsomely furnished home in a surprisingly short time.)
Anchor your living room with a curvaceous, sophisticated sofa in an eye-catching color; complete the look (remember, one corner at a time) with complementary pillows and a throw.
Add character (and storage) to a long wall or brighten a forgotten corner with a hand painted chest or an armoire and a selection of your favorite china, glass, or pottery. Bonus: drawers provide convenient storage for bulky items like linens or photo albums.
Simplify tabletop clutter yet express your personality by gathering disparate accessories into an eye-catching display on an étagère. Anchor the display with several large items, repeat shapes for cohesion, and carefully combine sizes and textures for greater interest. Create a pleasing flow and balance, drawing the eye in and moving it around.
“Women today are often balancing career, family, and children,” acknowledges Virginia Bremer, licensing director for Liz Claiborne Home. “Choosing furnishings and creating a welcoming home should be an enjoyable part of this multi-faceted life.”
Keep it simple in the dining room.
An inviting space to dine honors the physical and psychological roles that nourishment plays in our lives, whether you’re a busy single turning takeout into a few minutes of repose, gathering family for a weekday supper, or entertaining friends.
Dining room furnishings are significant pieces you are likely to live with for a long time. Invest in a versatile style with simplified lines that you can dress to suit the occasion, your changing tastes, and the furniture’s current role in your home.
Darker-hued furnishings with clean lines are surprisingly flexible: they can look equally striking with simple ironstone accessories, a spare modern centerpiece, or glistening under a silver candelabra. Complement light-finished wood with greenery or simple white ceramics and glass.
Pamper yourself in the master suite.
What better corner to focus on than your own bedroom. Choose a bed with real “star” power, such as the graceful sleigh bed created by Liz Claiborne Home for its Homecoming Sundays collection. Position the bed so its impact is felt upon entering the room. To let your “star” take center stage, keep the room’s supporting features understated -- some wonderful linens and a few stylish yet functional accessories will complete the picture.
If time or funds are limited, cozy up a chair, ottoman, stylish lamp, and small table into an appealing reading nook.
Before you know it -- like our 1800s bride -- you’ll have created an interesting, personality-filled home -- one corner at a time.