Thursday, January 29, 2009

Decorating a Smaller Home: Choosing a Style

Fashion passes, style remains. – Coco Chanel, Fashion Designer, (1883-1971)

When decorating any space, but especially a smaller space, start with a general idea of how you want the room or area to look. This will be your style. For a smaller home, choose a style that can be used throughout the house. Why? This leads to a cohesive look, the first step in creating a harmonious space, one of the hallmarks of a Jewel Box™ home. It is not necessary to rigidly follow a particular style, but you will want to incorporate the basic elements into your overall decorating scheme.

So how do you choose a style? The best way is to look through home décor and general interest magazines and tear out pages with rooms that appeal to you. My favorites are Better Homes and Gardens and Real Simple. Catalogs are also a good place for style shopping. I like Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel and Ballard Designs. While looking through magazines and catalogs, keep in mind that decorating has nothing to do with following design trends. Just because something is trendy, new or expensive, does not automatically make it a good idea. And unless you are a teenage girl, ‘cute’ is not a style. Also, floral prints, plaids and oriental carpets never belong in the same room. Ever!

Most styles are variations on one of several looks:

  • Traditional
  • Contemporary/Modern
  • English Cottage and French Country
  • Mediterranean
  • Asian
  • Eclectic
In the coming weeks we will look at each of these styles and how well they work in a smaller space. But for now, enjoy the striking photos below of a 780 square foot condo in Chicago's Lincoln Park recently profiled in Chicago Home and Garden. This is a wonderful example a contemporary/modern look.


Living Area

The Classic Modern Statement Piece - An Eames Chair

Galley Kitchen

Custom Built-in Headboard and Night Tables


  1. I'm a traditional girl all the way. The contemporary look I see in these photos and in many of the shelter magazines leaves me cold. I do like the rich brown color that some people are using on walls, though I wonder if it would make a small space claustrophobic.

  2. The condo iphotos are great - the ugly wallpaper not so much....hehe.

    Okay, so I loved seeing photos of you! and now I know what you look like (you're so cute). And your house is darling. I want my kitchen done like your's (mine's a white galley style).

    Checked out your wine recommendations - thank you. I happen to LOVE wine and champagne, and liked the Wine Guy's choices of both Chard & Champagne (all stuff I drink). And I'm just starting to drink reds again (had stopped b/c of sinus/histamines from reds)....and so will give his reds a try. If he ever recommends a good Pinot Noir in the same price range-ish, would love to know.

    I have a bargain champagne (okay sparkling wine) for you to try. It's a German name, Schloss Biebrich, available for $6.00 at Trader Joe's - can't do much better than that. Look for green bottle and clean white label. I make a good champagne cocktail for guests (bitters and a sugar cube...sometimes a super-thin slice of lemon peel). YUM.

    Colleen Chi-Girl