Interior design off the beaten path – how to make bold statement pieces work for you’re your main spaces

*This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do no necessarily reflect my own. 

Decorating your home is a confusing task and most of that confusion stems from modern culture that promotes the idea that it’s so complicated that only interior designers can do it right.

It’s kind of like working in an office where everybody is protective of their work and do their best to use big words to make it seem like they, and only they can do it. It might be a clumsy metaphor but those of us who have worked in an office will relate.

So, what do most home owners do?

If we can’t afford a decorator, we tend to stay on the safe side of things and avoid anything that stands out because we’re afraid it might look tacky.

Let us talk about that – let’s talk about how to be bold without being tacky.

To do that in an efficient way, let us take a step back and look at what makes a good practice when working with bold statement pieces.

What’s a statement piece in the first place?

The word is thrown left and right left and right and part of the confusion and the fear people have comes from the fact that nobody clearly defines it. Everybody simply starts talking about colors and trinkets, and you somehow get the impression that everybody understands it but you, because you don’t even have that basic answer – what is a statement piece in the first place.

To tackle it, let’s demystify it.

A statement piece is nothing more than a interior design element (it can be anything from a piece of art, a mirror, painted chair to a mural wal) that’s planned with to say something about you, the person who lives there.

It’s you speaking to your house guest.

Over the years, the word was mulled and repeated so many times that the idea that a “statement piece” is universal and it changes along with the trends.

It doesn’t.

It’s an extension of you and you can choose to “state” whatever you want.

The statements can range from, “I’m a country gal/boy an, although, I live in this fancy place I still cherish my roots” to a simple “I gave this space a lot of thought.”

Once that veil of mystery is down, you are free to tackle the task of designing a space that speaks.

The basic principles

Showcasing and streamlining.

When all said and done, it all comes down to those two principles.

Showcasing means that the design element you’re working with is bold enough to stand out and streamlining means that it works with your space so there are no “sore thumbs”. It’s as simple as that.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get specific and move on to some actionable tips on how to actually do it.

“Drilling” down – a few specific tips

The most misunderstood aspect of accents – color

Color is where articles on the topic usual start. They are a dime a dozen but most of them will leave you more confused than you were before reading. In some cases it’s because the authors don’t know the subject to well to begin with but in most cases it’s because of information overload.

If you try to say everything, you end up saying nothing.

So, let’s do the opposite of that – let’s make it really simple and trim it all down to three steps:

  1. If you are working with a room with lots of natural light, go with a more subdued, darker color scheme
  2. If the room doesn’t get a enough natural light, choose a saturated, bright color scheme
  3. Finally, to choose the color of your accent pieces, don’t just guess. We’re in the 21 century, use some of the online tools to choose a color that will compliment the dominant color

It’s as simple as that. Do not over-think it.

The living room – don’t get carried away

It’s easy to get carried away, especially if you do well with one bold new piece. You feel like it added so much to the room that a few more nifty details is the way to go. But where does it stop?

What it means in practice

Limit yourself to three pieces per room and place them in a way that steers the eye towards what you want to be the focal point of the room. Let’s say that you’re proud of that fireplace or video surround system and you want people to notice it.

If you can choose the location of the focal point, make sure that it’s the first thing people see when they walk into a room. Then, to keep their eyes focused on it, use color. In practice this might mean having an accent wall – one wall within the room that stands out.

In the alternative scenario (let’s work with the mentioned fireplace) – one that doesn’t allow for the focal point to be the first thing a visitor sees, steer their eyes. For example, if the focal point if a fireplace, hang a boldly colored painting and make that the first thing they see.

Then, tie that color to a detail like a vase or lamp in the corner, completing the “eye journey” at the fireplace with one bolder piece. Just make sure that none of those overshadows the part of the room that you want to emphasize.

The bedroom – bed is king

The bedroom is the one room where you want to be careful and it’s fair to say that you have the least leeway to experiment.

It might be tempting to splash some vivid colors to impress but, at the end of the day, you want to keep the feeling of tranquility and an open space that breathes.

When it comes to bedrooms, less is usually more and the whole point is to make the space feel welcoming calm and, if possible, bigger than it is.

Remember, the bedroom is all about your perception and not the razzle-dazzle of design. So, instead of investing in expensive artwork or chic armchair, make your bed and mattress a priority. Chose a mattress that evokes the feeling of comfort every time you think about it. Then protect it from time and decay. An elegant mattress protector will be more important than any piece of art.

The best tool you have at your disposal is the wall behind the bed. Going with complementing wallpaper for the wall or two hues darker than the rest of the bedroom will “elongate” the space…create a perception of depth.

The guest bedroom – don’t let it be a waste

If you live in a mansion with 15 rooms this probably won’t apply to you, but for those of us with limited space, one room is a big deal. And dedicating it completely to guest sleepovers is a bit of a waste.

Instead, make it a multi-purposes space. Instead of a permanent bed, go with an air mattress that you can set up and down as needed.

It’s where creativity meets practicality – besides allowing you to use to room as a den or an office space when guests are not around, and airbed can be also be a statement piece. The best air mattresses today are more than a piece of inflatable furniture.

If you choose right, a good air bed becomes a bold detail that will make the room look like it belongs on the cover on a magazine.

Tying it all together – short and long term planning

One last piece of advice (and an important one too) is looking at the bold pieces you add as whole that ties in the whole house, especially if you are working with color.

Statement piece like a bold yellow wall in your living room and purple vases or lamps in the lobby give of the impression of a poorly though out space.

So, when adding touches of personal flair, think broad and have a short and long-term plan in mind – one that will tie in the rooms into a cozy home.



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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family and "mini zoo" consisting of five cats, a dog and a Goldfish. Kimberly is a teacher's assistant for a Kindergarten class. When she is not working or blogging, Kimberly enjoys taking photos of nature and hanging out with family and friends.

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