• Wei Shen

Understanding the purpose of interior "decorating", you won't stuff your precious space with trash.

Interior decorating can be much trickier than it seems. You need to create a cohesive look while maintaining a unique style that reflects your personal experience and taste, without compromising the essential function of your space.

But quite often, we are easily carried away when seeing a gorgeous item in a boutique store or coming across with some online shopping temptations. The WOW factor is irresistible and sometimes results in irrational purchases.

Yes, it can be an amazing designer's lamp with elegant details; or a perfect piece of sofa that makes it the focal point of that showroom; or a group of graphics smartly arranged on the wall, above a humble but beautiful vintage credenza. But don't forget, everything comes together in its unique way to form an incredible interior scene. The fact that you love certain items in a staged scene doesn't guarantee that you will get the same nice result when you put them at your own place.

Samely, trilled by tons of magazine photos like those below?

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Undoubtedly, many photos from magazines or the internet look very tempting.

Is it possible to have a similar look at your home? Yes!

Is it easy? No.

If you really want to copy a look, you need to meet at least two requirements: first of all, similar ceiling height, similar natural lighting; then you need to get each piece of what you see in that photo and hopefully have the right materials and proportions of all architectural elements at home.

So, instead of duplicating, the wiser and more sustainable approach is to study your own place and plan your decoration from scratch. Therefore, you need to be equipped with some basic notions of why and how to decorate an interior space.

It's impossible to address all aspects and methods of decorating by one article, so today we are only going to talk about a few essentials, such as the relationship between decors and space. Bearing some rules in mind, you will be able to dissect different design situations you encounter. The more you practice, the more sophisticated the result would become, and the more flexibly you will be able to implement them.

Subject and background

Most of the time, decorations are not items that exist to conduct a practical function in your daily life, let's say, they are something extra, or not necessities. They are used for enlivening a stark living environment, for subliming the space quality, etc. In other words, if your home doesn't look better with them, you don't need them.

Decoration, as a spatial feature or visual attraction, the most important function is not how impressive themselves are, is how great they interact with their surroundings.

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Let me ask you, who is the leading role in the 2 pictures above?

Most likely, the grand pianos.

Of course, the piano has its inherent function. But when talking about visual effects, it also works as a room decoration. Then what do you see behind the piano? Yes, window frames, big plain-colored drapery, or simple shades, as well as a bright exterior view. The garden scenery framed by the window provides a humble, implying, transparent background, which in fact accentuates the elegant silhouette of the grand piano in the foreground. The shiny lacquer (first image) and the nice patina (second image) of the piano become more poetic under such circumstances, hence, evoke some emotional responses.

In other words, the beauty of the grand piano, as a major decor, is strengthened by the background.

How about the 2 images below? Are the prominent objects still pianos?

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In the first image, I believe what draws our attention at first glance is not the piano anymore, but the oil painting above it. Why? Here the upright piano has a stronger relationship with the wall and integrates more with other surrounded objects which are mostly in neutral colors like black, white, brown, and tinted grey. The small dose of mustard yellow in the oil painting effortlessly stands out and makes the framed painting the focal point in this scene.