The Class – Chapter 1



I have mentioned my decorating class a couple of times. I was actually looking for an upholstery class (I decided to just wing it myself) when I stumbled upon this continuing eduction program at Trident Technical College that features an interior design certificate. It was quite a bit of fun. I always liked things having to do with hearth and home and I found some great information in the first class, Interior Design I.

We used the book, by Heather J. Paper, pictured on the left as a guide. We went through the eight chapters in the book in as many weeks and I thought I would share with you some of the highlights I learned.

When you first start out decorating a room there are four important questions to ask yourself:

  1. Who is going to use the room and how?
  2. Any architectural aspects you HAVE to work with (like a gigantic brick fireplace that does not function and sucks all the light out of the room – click here to see what I am talking about)?
  3. What is your budget?
  4. What is your style?

So, if it is your bedroom, unless you are one of the Twilight vampires, you will be sleeping there and will need a bed. If it is your living room and you like to entertain but don’t have enough seating furniture (and your budget won’t allow you to buy more – see here for a possible solution), perhaps some comfy, flat pillows for floor seating or for seating on that big, obnoxious fireplace hearth.

When you start coming up with some ideas, write them down – start a notebook. Also, measure your room and sketch it out in your notebook or get completely design nerdy and buy some graph paper. Each foot of the room can equal one square on your graph paper. Next, measure your furniture and start cutting those out and place them in your paper room. It will be like playing paper dolls again. Although now that I think about it, I never played with paper dolls. Maybe you did though.

Anyway, about this time you will start contemplating the look or style you want your room to have. Remember that notebook? Well, in addition to the paper house you created there you should get some magazines and start cutting out things you like (furniture, colors, lamps, accessories, rugs, coat racks, etc) and paste them your notebook.

I recommend a good glue stick for this. It’s fun – it brings back memories of grade school. Don’t start glueing stuff to your family though like you might have done to your frenemy back in the day – it could end poorly for you like it did for me the night I snapped The Southern Gent with a dish towel in the kitchen. He did not think it was as funny as I did.

When you get a good collection of cutouts in your notebook, take a look. You might see one of four styles emerge:

  1. Traditional
  2. Transitional/Country
  3. Modern/Contemporary
  4. Eclectic

Do you envision oriental rugs with Chesterfield sofas and dark, Queen Anne furniture reposing gracefully upon it whilst they are possibly upholstered in velvet, silk or jacquard fabrics? Maybe the end tables have cabriole legs and your window treatments are elaborate with swags and jabots. If so, you are a traditionalist.

Perhaps instead you see oak and pine furniture in your space with a rustic style farm table, a four poster bed, home-spun fabrics, casual curtains, braided rugs and Lawson style sofas with rounded arms. That puts you in camp number 2, transitional/country.

If you instead are picturing Lucite furniture, modular sofas, metal tables, simple fabric shades, hardwood floors topped with shag rugs and all of this further topped off with thin lines and rectangular shapes, you are more into a modern/contemporary style.

Finally, if you are seeing a bit of those three blended together with a commonality throughout like color, form or scale, then you are eclectic! This works well if you don’t want to (or can’t) throw everything out and start over every few years.

Well, that brings Chapter one/Class one to a close. Stay tuned – next up is Color, Fabric and Texture.


2 responses »

    • I was wondering when I would hear from you Mike! I have been putting more up just for you! 🙂 I have never seen any pics of Dixie’s brother. Shoot me an e-mail with a pic of him when you get a chance. Hope you and your wife are well. Please tell her I said hello!

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