When it comes to decorating a home, the choices we make are really a matter of opinion. In fact, if you asked 20 friends over to your home right now to seek decorating advice, you would more than likely receive 20 different opinions. Decorating is tricky that way. There is no clear-cut “right” solution to solving a decorating dilemma.
The style I like in my home may not be the style with which you are comfortable. And that is fine. These differences are what makes everyone’s home unique. When seeking advice, whether it be professional or novice, make sure that person is familiar with your personality and style. By relying on those personal traits, it will be much easier to solve any decorating equation.
A home’s decor should reflect the things you adore. It should be an extension of you. It should give you comfort and allow you to express your personality. In other words, it should be a wonderful place in which you can truly enjoy living.
To me, that is the bottom line.
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I, just like everyone else, have my own opinion. Sometimes I state it when I shouldn’t. More than once, I have opened my mouth when I shouldn’t have. But that certainly doesn’t mean I am always right. I have definitely made my share of decorating no-nos.
Just typing those words made my mind travel back to an incident that happened years ago. It involved two of my best friends, Jo Ann and Mary Frances. Jo Ann had just purchased some new furniture and wanted to know my opinion on how she had arranged it.
She called me and asked me to drop by. I was greeted at her front door by an excited Jo Ann, along with Mary Frances. They both were anxious to know what I thought. When I walked into her newly furnished living room, I immediately didn’t like the way she had arranged it. To me, it felt all wrong — off balance and misplaced. But what was I supposed to say?
Just like being unsure about a multiple choice question on a major test, I stood there silently with my mind racing. I certainly didn’t want to hurt her feelings but, at the same time, I knew she wanted me to be honest.
I nervously paced around the room begging my mind to offer up a better solution. To buy some time, I decided to comment on the actual furniture itself and not where it was placed. That worked for a minute or so, but then Jo Ann and Mary Frances chimed in unison, “Come on, Mark, what do you think?”
I took a deep breath and nervously replied, “I really don’t like it at all.” I was almost apologizing as I was uttering the words. Surprise came over both of their faces. I continued to nervously pace around the room trying to break up what was an obvious void in time. Then, what seemed liked hours later, Jo Ann asked, “Well, what do you suggest?”
I then went into what I refer to as a decorating rant that lasted several minutes. In it, I told her where I thought the sofa should be, along with the rug, tables and side chairs. By this time, Jo Ann’s husband had entered the room. I became even more nervous. I asked Jo Ann why she had opted for this arrangement and who had helped her. She stood there with hesitation written all over her face. As her mouth started to form the words, Mary Frances blurted out, “I did!”
I immediately started to offer apologies, because I certainly didn’t want to hurt her feelings. We laughed as I took my foot out of my mouth. Of course they didn’t care, and we decided to move it all around into the positions I had suggested. You can imagine that Jo Ann’s husband was thrilled to be moving the furniture yet another time.
Last week, I received a call from Mary Frances. She had decided to sell an antique dresser and mirror and wanted to know if I was interested in purchasing it. I was very familiar with her dresser because I had admired it for many years. Mary Frances always had thought it belonged in our bedroom because it matched our antique bed so well. Every time she would visit me she would say, “You need my dresser in here. It would be perfect!”
I decided I did indeed want it and went out to her house to see it. At that time, Mary Frances told me exactly on which wall it needed to be placed so that it would reflect the mantel on the opposite side of our room. I was thinking of another wall but clearly gave her suggestion some consideration.
When she and her family came over to deliver it, I had them place it in the very spot in which Mary Frances had always envisioned it. After thinking it over, I decided she was absolutely right. It was perfect. You see, I can be wrong. Even though I won over Mary Frances when it came to Jo Ann’s living room arrangement all those years ago, she had definitely won me over this time.
As I passed the beautiful dresser this morning in its new home, I smiled. Just as Mary Frances had said it would, its mirror beautifully reflected back the mantel from the other side of the room. As I stood there in the hallway, I had a thought. What a friend I have in Mary Frances. She really knows my tastes and helped me with a decorating dilemma!
.Ÿ Cherry Blossom Gift Shop Souvenir Signing. Friday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.. Drop by the Cherry Blossom Gift Shop Friday at 577 Mulberry Street in downtown Macon. Mark will be there to sign all of his new Cherry Blossom designs. Also, tickets for festival events will go on sale!
Ÿ Check out Mark’s Web site. Visit www.markballard.com for current projects, recipes and lots of other fun stuff for the new year!
Ÿ The Mark Ballard Show is on Cox On-Demand.
Mark’s on www.macon.com 24 hours a day! Videos, columns and articles are featured.
Mark Allen Ballard’s column runs each week in The Telegraph. Send your questions to P.O. Box 4232, Macon, GA; fax them to (478)474-4390 or call (478) 757-6877.