Designer Advice

MoccasinOctober 17, 2010

I've been reading the HOUSE BEAUTIFUL website today, and ran across this quote from designer Peter Frank.

Tell me what YOU think about it, and I'll throw in MY 2 cents a little later.

"I find rules and guidelines are for the faint-of-heart and basically worthless. When I read lists of "Always do this" and "Never do that," they never make much sense to me. A very good decorator told me that all four legs of a piece of furniture must always sit within an area rug. That's absolutely right, except when it's absolutely wrong. I have both situations in my house, and both are correct."

---Peter Frank in an interview

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LOL made me look over at my kitchen couch and chairs. Two front feet of couch on area rug. One leg of one chair tentatively reaching out to touch one little corner of the rug. Gee now why is that?? Neither feet of other chair on rug at all. Something must give here I have broken many rules. Actually I vacuumed and was not good to put things exactly back.

I am afraid I go against many rules. I especially think living in a smaller house makes this necessary. I do think there might be a few rules that are worth considering. Feet of couch on area rug good because it helps to keep it from becoming magic carpet under foot when you me dogs and cats travel across it.

I do think rules have their place. If you can make them fit.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 5:09PM
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Shades, you took the words right out of my mouth!!!
Living in smaller homes, you have carte blanche to break ALL the rules. You are doing good to even HAVE a rug, don't you think?

But it is nice to hear a designer actually SAY that the rules were made to be broken.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 9:38PM
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There in one decorating rule that works for me. Was thinking more on this.

There is this rule about furniture heights going from high to low and back again. As I understand it it is best to have taller pieces together or balance out visual height with art or whatever. The reason is to help keep the eye from bouncing up and down up and down as it travels around the room.

I agree with this rule. It works for me. I find when I do not follow it I get nervous in my space. This is why the 3D images in room design programs are so nice verses just my cut out graph paper pieces. They do not show height. With my furniture I mentally know the height of different pieces so I can plan it but some times I make the high low mistake and it makes me crazy.

Maybe this is all my imagination. And I do not remember where I read this rule.

Interesting thread ML I hope others contribute their thoughts.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 9:56PM
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that sounds like a rule shades - like balancing out a large tall piece with something on another wall - tho could be a lower piece with a painting hanging over it. if you left the wall bare the room would look out of balance. or if you put a small painting over it...

I think it's good to KNOW the rule and then decide if it should be broken in your space. if so, break it!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 1:09AM
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DH and I will be quibbling over all of that today, as movers deliver our furniture and stuff, oh, the stuff.....
I like to ponder over where to hang pictures, put lamps, etc. He wants to get it all over and done with right away. Drives me nuts!! In the end it will look fine, and if I want to do some tweeking, I'll send him on an errand, make my change(s) and he'll probably never even notice:-)

I hate symmetry, but totally agree with the height balance. He likes symmetry. I usually win!

Then there's the Michilen Man leather recliner to deal with......................Talk about breaking rules.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 4:38AM
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oh Ha wanttoretire. we have TWO recliners and considered getting two more before I got the love seat. Rules out the window for sure. Have a great moving day. Oxymoron for sure.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 10:28AM
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LOL at the Michelin Man recliner! Dh's sticks out like a sore thumb and try as I might, I just can't make it fit in.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 10:30AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

My DH has a COAT that makes him look like the Michelin Man, but he doesn't wear it in the house. ;)

I am not a decorator, and I don't follow any rules except: Do I like it? Does it fit the budget?

The 'furniture feet on/off the rug' thing has always confused me. I've seen shows on HGTV where a designer declares that the front feet of LR furniture should either be ALL on or ALL off the rug. And then people on the RMS website repeat this advice as if were written in stone.

WHY is that a rule? What difference does it make? Does it make the furniture group more 'cohesive'? I can't say that I even notice if our furniture is on or off the rug on any given day. The non-skid factor that Chris mentions makes more sense to me.

And, on another subject, aside from being high enough to qualify as 'chair-rail', what difference does it make if your chair-rail is 4' high, 5' high, etc? I've read advice that someone has given to re-do NEW bead-board and chair-rail, because it is perceived as a too low.

Somewhere I saw a sign: MY HOUSE - MY RULES

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 2:28PM
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Where are these rules written?

I agree with mama goose, do I like it and does it fit the budget? are my only two criteria. That said, I usually do like the rooms in magazines better than mine.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 3:13PM
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Mama goose- I think chair rails are the correct height, so that your chair doesn't damage the wall, when you back up from the table. That's why a lot of old houses have them in the dining room...plaster.

Really high ones are usually plate rails, because you used them to display plates, at a height, where they wouldn't be touched or damaged.

As for all other rails, if they're just for decoration, or to break up the wall space, maybe try making up your own names for them.

The "fingerprint rail" could be handy. Everything below is painted with enamel (where little hands touch) and everything above is something a little less easy to scrub. The "dog rail" would be very similar, but the height could change with the height of the dog. LOL

As for area rugs, the only one that's really important is the dining room or eating area, since the chairs will be tippy if all four legs aren't on the rug. In the living room, I think it depends on what you put under the rug, to keep it from slipping. If there's nothing, or it doesn't work very well, then putting furniture legs on the rug might help :)

My favorite rule to break...this should never be painted!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 5:54PM
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I can not leave this one alone." The "dog rail" would be very similar, but the height could change with the height of the dog. LOL"

So for ML her "Dog Rail" would be considered a tall base board. Heheheheheh Sorry ML I been working too hard lately on books.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 6:04PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

shades, LOL!!

lavender, with the grandson staying here, ours would be called the 'bumper car rail'. If we called it the 'dirt rail' it would go all the way to the ceiling. :P

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 9:23PM
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And I was just reading about dog rails and thinking how LOW mine would be, almost invisible, and then I read

"So for ML her "Dog Rail" would be considered a tall base board. Heheheheheh Sorry ML I been working too hard lately on books. Chris"

You crack me up, Chris.....that is so true.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 12:09PM
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I believe you have to know and understand the rules first. Once that is done, you then have the foundation for when and how it's okay to break them.

This applies to many situations, not just decorating.

Oh, and I don't have any area rugs :-( DH and I just cannot seem to agree on one!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 5:51PM
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Great thread.

As a famous restaurant says in their ads: No rules, just right.

I like the quote you gave by Peter Frank ML. It kind of lets some of us breathe easier. I certainly couldn't have any decorating police to our home, we'd be busted for all kinds of infractions I know.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 1:43PM
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