As an established interior designer, I thought, quite frankly, I was the cat’s meow. I imagined ladies all over the country wistfully longing to engage my services. I just knew they secretly coveted my counsel, wishing for the payday that would allow them to have me come work my mojo on their manses. Who on earth, reasoned I, would want to tackle the thankless task of decorating their own home when they could hire an expert to magically transform it into an Oasis of Paradise in the mere twinkling of an eye? Surely a winning lottery ticket was the only thing keeping us apart. Darling, how wrong I was! Nothing could have been further from the truth! Newsflash! American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) polls indicate that most (49 percent!) American homeowners prefer to handle their own decorating—only 14 percent of them used an interior designer’s services, whether on a beer or champagne budget. The more I thought about it, the more sense it all made: You want your home to look like you and nobody else, you take pride in where you live and how faaabulous it looks, nothing feels better than saying, “I did it all myself!” when it’s finished, and who wouldn’t want to save on all those fees decorators (have to, to be fair) charge?
So I got with the program, picked up a pen, and set out to put to paper some of the practical decorating standards and timeless rules that are second nature to the design professionals who implement them daily, but ones that most folks don’t know about. These are the design truths that transcend style, era, and aesthetic; the tips, proportions, and trade secrets that will help you create flowing, balanced, warm, and great-looking rooms that are delights to behold and to be in, whatever decorative style you favor.
It’s the secret stuff your decorator would have told you if you were hiring one; the design musts without which you can’t successfully do a room but don’t want to pay a pro to learn about, either. They’re the questions that people who do use a designer ask, too. All for the price of the book! Honey, What! A! Bargain!
I’ve made it all shamelessly simple (whew!), and packed Design Rules with the information that knowledge-seeking do-it- yourself designers of both sexes shouldn’t live without, wherever a sofa meets a chair. If you have an idea of how you want your space to feel when it’s finished, but aren’t quiiiiiiiiiite sure how to get there, then, sugar, this is the book for you! We’ll go room-by-room throughout your entire house and show you exactly what you need to know in order for everything to flow and be visually successful. We’ll attack furniture placement, size, and layout; color, lighting, window treatments, painting, flooring, cabinetry, materials, finishes, specific proportions and dimensions, and, of course, accessories, darling! We’ll cover everything you need to know about decorating . . . and have a giggle or two while we’re at it, because as Dorothy Draper once famously said, “Decorating Is Fun!” So let’s get started.