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Home design is a numbers game when choosing fabrics and accessories

July 09, 2013

Hardwood FloorsAfter years of experience, interior designers learn what works best in decorating. Among their tricks of the trade is the use of odd numbers - three fabric patterns or five grouped photos, for instance. Typically, the result is a classic look similar to that found in antique furnishings or beautiful hardwood flooring like Anderson's Bryson Strip collection.

The theory is that odd numbers of items simply look better than an even count, which usually has a very formal appeal. That's fine in some settings, but in many rooms within an average family's home, a more casual atmosphere is better. Three is a manageable number that produces a finished result for a room design without overpowering the overall decorating scheme.

Patterns and prints recommends choosing fabrics in a well-coordinated mix of color, pattern and texture for soft furnishings, including upholstery, window treatments and pillows. To strike the right balance, one large-scale pattern may be offset by two smaller designs or a solid that serves as the anchor color. Using all the same size patterns causes each one to overpower the others.

However, home decorators should be aware that decorating with smaller patterns can be deceiving, because they sometimes become indistinct from a distance. Stepping away from the pattern to get the full view presents a clearer picture of how it will look.

Varying the tone and textures of fabrics is also important. In a selection of three fabrics, one should be light in color, another medium in tone and the third should be dark. There should always be a mix of smooth and rough-textured materials as well.

Consider the effect of lighting in a room, which can give an entirely different cast to a particular color during the day than it would at night. In addition, any embellishments such as beading or sequins provide a unique texture that should be factored into the final choices.

Arrangements for accent
Accent pieces and accessories will have greater aesthetic appeal if they are displayed in staggered heights and shapes. Indoor greenery may be arranged according to this premise by selecting a variety of plants in different sizes and types. Leaving some space between each plant - or items displayed on a shelf - prevents the look from being too cluttered.

Displaying items in an odd number can be done as easily on shelves, in a free-standing curio case or on a coffee table between chairs and a sofa.