Question: Phoebe, so often you share your "dos" with us, but I am curious as to some of your "donts". Can you share those?
Phoebe's Answer: There are so many exceptions in decorating and every situation is different, but there are a few things I really do not like:
Round skirted tables. I know this is a popular choice, but there is a good reason why I really do not like them. First of all, they are expensive. You have to buy the fabric, pay for the labor, and buy the table and glass top. Once you have spent that money, you could have bought a nice end table or bedside table. Skirted tables get dusty, stained, look messy and quickly seem dated. So I steer clear and instead try to get my clients to invest their money in an end table or bedside table that has lasting value. Decorating is expensive, and I don’t think you should invest in things you eventually plan to throw away.
Themed decorating. I do a lot of beach houses, mountain houses and lake houses. I always try not to get caught up in decorating clichés that feel theme-y. I stay away from fabrics with shell prints, antler chandeliers and Adirondack furniture. Instead, I like to bring in regional decorating in a more subtle way through the use of color, texture, and finishes.
In this mountain house living room, there are rustic beams, a wood mantle, a hooked rug, and painted furniture, all of which combine to create a sense of mountain charm without buffalo plaid, antler chandeliers or oak leaf prints anywhere in site.
Leaving a table set during the day. I think a lot of people are misled by spreads in magazines where the tables are set. This is styling for a photo, not for everyday living. I don’t think breakfast or dining tables should have anything on them during the day except for a centerpiece or basic accessories (unless of course you are preparing for a meal!). Leaving plates, flatware, napkins etc. out all day not only exposes them to dust, but it makes a house look like a model home. Here are some dining tables set with accessories that I like:
As always, send me any questions you have for Phoebe and we will add them to our list of weekly Q&As! Leah - firstname.lastname@example.org.