ARCHISCENE GUIDE: How to Manage Decorating a Big House
Moving into a big house is exciting, but it can also be stressful. There’s an abundance of houses with square footage in excess of what the average family needs, but there’s something appealing about all that extra space, whether you’re in it to host lavish gatherings or to give your family more personal space as individuals.
Decorating such a home can be a challenge even for an experienced interior decorator, but with the right approach, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Managing the Process
For starters, you can use these tips to make the process more manageable for you on a personal level:
Take things one room at a time. Instead of trying to decorate your entire house at once, try to take things one room at a time. If there’s enough room and space in your home, and enough of a distinction between rooms, you could even treat your individual rooms like apartments, or houses of their own. With this approach, you’ll never feel too overwhelmed, and you can concentrate on smaller ranges of choices to maximize your results.
Start with broad, overarching concepts. Don’t get bogged down thinking about specific pieces of furniture or art to fill your home. Instead, start with broad concepts. For example, what overall style do you want your home to have? And on a room level, what kind of theme do you want to be prominent in each area? What colors will be dominant? What feelings are you trying to evoke?
Use a minimalistic approach. Minimalism is in. If you want to make the most of your space, consider allowing that space more room to breathe. That means choosing only a few pieces per room to showcase, and allowing more white space on your walls and floors. This will allow you to make fewer choices, reducing decision fatigue as you work.
Define “zones” within rooms. Just as you’ll want to work with one room at a time, consider creating imaginary boundaries within those rooms, and working within those “zones,” one at a time. For example, you could treat each quadrant of your living room as a separate sub-room to simplify your choices even further.
Specific Style Choices
You can also use these tips as starting points for creating the style and “feel” of your home’s interior.
Utilize two-toned walls. Using two tones on your walls can help you maintain a minimalistic feel in any room, while still adding something interesting and drawing the eye upward. This is especially useful for rooms with a natural border between the “lower half” and “upper half.”
Avoid the temptation to add more furniture. When you walk into a room with lots of empty space, your first thought may be to get a desk, a table, or another chair or couch to fill that void. Resist this temptation. One of the greatest advantages of having a big house is having plenty of space to move around in; don’t compromise that strength unnecessarily.
Use plants to fill empty spaces. If there are spaces on the walls, or in the corners of the room that feel uncomfortable or unnatural, consider filling them in with tall plants. They’re less obtrusive than furniture, and because you have so many individual choices, you can make them fit into practically any room.
Create intimate spaces within rooms. One of the downsides of open space is that it can feel isolating—especially when you’re trying to have a one-on-one conversation. That’s why it’s a good idea to establish at least some of your “zones” to be intimate spaces, which allow closer interactions between you, your family, and your guests. For example, you might take advantage of a nook in the side of your living room to serve as a place for breakfast or tea.
Implement lighting creatively. Lighting can make or break the feel of a given room, so make sure you use it wisely. Installing specific light fixtures to focus on the centerpiece of a room can add a sense of grandiosity to a room, and keeping the entire room well-lit can make it feel cozier.
Centralize art pieces to draw the eye. On long, sprawling walls, make sure to select one or two art pieces that fit the motif of the room. These tend to draw the eye, and the extra space around them will make them pop even more.
These tips should make your large home feel a little more manageable. Even if you can’t get everything done the week you move in, you should feel confident you have the skills and delicate touch necessary to bring life to your open spaces—without overloading them with unnecessary frills.
Images from ZARA HOME Autumn Winter 2018 Collection – See the full story here