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Decorator Debunks Decorating Myths

Today, guest writer and decorator Carey Karlan takes a look at some common decorating myths.

Start with the rug

You can start with the rug, but only if it's the most important element in your design. The most important element could also be a view, a mood, a favorite color, a painting, an antique, a fabric or a collection.

Dark colors make small rooms look smaller

Don't be afraid of dark colors. Everyone loves wood-paneled rooms because they're rich and cozy. A dark color with an overglaze is wonderfully mysterious and softens all boundaries. Chocolates, purples and blacks are popular nowadays. If you want a crisp look in a small or dark room, go for high contrast such as navy and white.

Hang art at eye level

How did this old chestnut survive - we're all different heights! I love art hung at all levels: on the outside of bookcases, tucked in the nook of a secretary, under an eave, floor to ceiling "rogue's galleries" of family photos.

Floor plans are foolproof

If only it were so! To really get a feel for what's right for you, cut out life-sized paper templates and live with your arrangement for a few days. Blue painter’s tape put on the floor in basic shapes can also help with proportion and space.

Wall-to-wall carpet is so yesterday

Not if you're a child! Since children play on the floor so much it expands their world to have wall-to-wall carpeting.  Some rooms with a lot of jogs just look calmer and larger with wall-to-wall. Remember - it’s as much about function as fashion.

Do you have any decorating questions for Carey? Email them to me at

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