In just 1/2 hour I'll be in the car, with my two teenage sons, husband and dog, driving to Iowa for Thanksgiving. Its at least a six hour ride. As you can imagine, this is not one of my favorite things to do. An extended drive with two teenagers takes nerves of steel, especially when the car is not equipped with video and TV hook-ups, which ours is not. As a dear friend reminded me, even the best teenagers are horrible people, particularly when forced into making a long boring drive. But I am excited to see my sister and her family who live in Iowa, in my childhood home. I plan to take some pictures and have them up on the blog or website next month.
For those of you who want a Jewel Box look for the holidays, here are some tips - both big and small - to add warmth, beauty and functionality.
Creating the Jewel Box Look
- Put rooms on a diet. Too much furniture is a common problem in small homes. Get rid of pieces that aren’t needed to satisfy the main purpose of a room. This opens up natural walkways and creates space so that a room can harmoniously function as intended.
- Downsize furniture. Oversized pieces might look good on a showroom floor, but they will overpower a small area. Proportion is the key. Smaller pieces for smaller rooms. They also are less expensive. For seating, use a love seat instead of a sofa, and for an entertainment cabinet, use a buffet instead of an armoire.
- Keep color in its place. Color is the background for a room, not the focal point. In a small home it is best to use a neutral color throughout the house or a variety of shades from the same color family. This way your eye flows naturally from room to room making the space feel harmonious.
- Add a little black. A little black is an important element in any room. It creates a focal point and makes other elements in the room pop. A black lampshade or black leather chair seat can add the perfect touch.
- Flower power. Flowers are an important, often overlooked accessory. These are living works of art that automatically add color and beauty to any room. Find at least one place in your home for fresh flowers and plan to change these often.
- Mirror, mirror on the wall. A well placed mirror adds depth to a room and reflects light; making the space brighter and appear larger. Just make sure the mirror reflects something other than a blank wall. Try a large rectangular mirror over the dining room buffet, or a floor mirror in the living room beside a favorite chair.
- Show a little leg. Let the legs show on all your upholstered pieces. This creates a feeling of space and light by allowing your eye to travel across the room and see ‘through’ furniture.
- Accessorize with care. Use a light touch when adding accessories. Be selective, put out only your favorite things. Cluttering the room with accessories will destroy otherwise graceful proportions. No more than one to three decorative objects on any table surface. One pillow for each chair and two for the sofa is enough.
- Don’t overdress windows. Keep window treatments simple and clean so that natural light can fill the space. Use sheer fabrics rather than heavy draperies. To visually enlarge a room, hang curtain rods above the window frame. For an elegant clean look, choose a beautiful curtain rod and drape fabric only over the rod.
- Let there be light. Good lighting is critical in a small home. The key elements are soft diffuse lighting to create warmth and focused task lighting for functionality. Use dimmer switches for overhead lighting to prevent harshness and glare. Try a pair of tall candlestick lamps on the dining room buffet and create a focal point in the living room with a beautiful lamp on an end table. Create different looks by changing lamp shades.