Decorating & Furniture/Who is my house?


I live in a small duplex. Living room, breakfast area and kitchen are all open to one another and tightly packed into the space. Vaulted ceilings save it.

I don't have much money and really want to spruce things up. My style is pretty eclectic. I'm an artist/writer and have lots of art. My furniture doesn't really "match" though I like the way it looks. Mostly everything is either dark red or shades of grey/grass/olive green. Or neutral/natural. Red background oriental rug covers most of ugly carpet. Large Mexican pine armoire. Black, 4 shelf, iron bookshelves along one whole wall. A huge, beutifully framed mirror resting on the floor because I don't know where to put it. And a huge, overstuffed, extra deep, beige damask sofa in need of replacement.

I like Pottery Barn's fake Mission/Arts & Crafts look, but cannot afford to re-do the place in that style. And is it me? I also love the Ballard's French ooh-la-la style. Toile sheets and big French country furniture. I have no problem with a few large pieces in a small room, as opposed to the sofa, loveseat, chair convention. I do want a sofa though.

I'd kind of like to go wild with color. A black, distressed side board under the mirror (it's about 4 x 5 feet). Paint the pine armoire India hot pink, maybe with royale blue underneath, showing trough in places. An asian red coffee table, lacquered and smooth in front of a rough textured, bright orange brocade slip covered sofa. Dare I? And if so, what color should I paint the walls? Remember, vaulted ceilings -- so lots of wall space.

Also, my bedroom is tiny and i have a king size bed. I want to buy a bed frame -- head and footboard, but I'm afraid there won't be enough room. How much bed is too much bed in a small space. Can I make the big bed work if I decide to go that route? I'd paint the bedroom a deep red, put a black, elaborate iron bed frame and white matelasse bedding with red duvet, two tiny night stands and call it a day ... but my significant other says no to red walls in the bedroom. I rather hate blue, but can stomach pale Robin's Egg or deep turquoise. I also hate yellow, though a treatment of shades to create an ochre, orangey, crumbling stucco effect is possible (but passe?)

Or I could just throw everything out and toss big pillows on the floor and call it a day. Can you suggest anything?


Thanks for writing.  Your house should be a reflection of who you are, and obviously you have a good handle on that!  You love color, are not afraid to use it (otherwise you wouldn't be much of an artist) and know your likes and dislikes.  

If your furniture works for you, keep it. If it needs to be recovered, either visit and purchase a slipcover, or have it reupholstered.  

Treat your home like the gallery it is.  Paint the walls a neutral (not necessarily white or off-white - lean toward taupe or coffee with cream) so that your furniture and art are enhanced by the color, not fighting with it.  

Large scale pieces in small rooms are the way to go.  And yes, the bed will work.  

Trust your instincts.  It's only paint.  It's only furniture.  You always have the option of throwing it all out and using floor pillows.  Consider your own comfort, your own likes/dislikes and go for it.  It's yours, let it reflect you.


PS:  Avoid those colors that you don't like, can't stomach and only tolerate.  Matchy, matchy is not for you either.  Be free.

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Jennifer Taylor Wojcik


Visit my web site at: Decor: I've written about it, planned it, designed it and colored it, and I've never stopped loving it. It's not what you spend, or who made it, it's how it makes you feel.


College, advertising, public relations, marketing, free-lance writing and a plethora of creative endeavors have led me here. As an entrepreneur in decorative product design, I learned the hard way how tough it can be to be in business for yourself. A stint at a law firm taught me humility too. Some three thousand questions ago, I wondered if I could really help. Obviously, I'm still here and still taking your questions. God Bless You!

"From Day One" and "Day After Day" available nationwide via bookstores and HTTP:// (HomeStyle articles beginning in 1998) Visit me at

BA, Psychology

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