Couch Confession: The Article Isn't The End Of The Story

Bon lundi, tout le monde! (I have been practicing French on Duolingo for over a month now. It's possible that expressive French utterances may become an annoying byproduct.)

This has been a very exciting week for me. The esteemed and hipper-than-I-will-ever-be blog for all things home, Apartment Therapy, published a piece I presented to them about a very personal project: my own living room. You can link it directly here: "Avoiding Decorating Mistakes: A Design Pro Shares Her Do's and Don'ts". The essence of the post is that I felt I made some errors the first time I went about decorating the space, and I wanted to share the things I learned along the path of creating the living room I have now.

The site did a fantastic job of setting the scene and presenting the vast change of the look and feel of the room from before to after. Here's a more truncated view:

A little bit different, huh?

When the piece was first accepted, I was told it would be up on the site "in the next month" so I had a feeling it would be a surprise. It was -- my husband received a text from a friend a couple of weeks later saying that she had seen my name on the site. It's really a thrill to learn that your work has reached a national level, and it's also quite humbling that it was accepted in the first place.

The reaction was swift. By the time I had found the article it already had 58 comments. I'm glad to see that most of it was positive and they loved my advice. I had expected some negative remarks because design is subjective and frankly because this is the Internet. What was new and different were the mistaken assumptions some of the commenters made to justify their less than flattering remarks. To be fair, you can't detail every thought process in an article unless you want to ruin the site's bandwidth. I don't feel like engaging the naysayers directly (because what would that accomplish?), but I feel it would be cathartic to expel some of the misconceptions I encountered.

1. The before and after photos were both taken at the same time of day. Somebody said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that she thought that before and after photos in general were manipulated by shooting the before photos in the dark and Photoshopping the afters. I can't speak for everyone, but that was not the case this time. I had both rooms shot first thing in the morning for the sake of convenience. The lightness and spaciousness of the after photo comes from the use of colors, materials, and furniture.

2. A lot of the furniture choices I made were for personal function and not to make the room "more designed". Perhaps a sofa and chairs would make more sense to some and might photograph better, but my husband and I both really wanted a sectional, so I felt that this was an opportunity to show how a big piece of furniture really can fit in a small space. I also agree with one commenter that perhaps a round ottoman would have been a better choice for the space aesthetically, but I love the coffee table I selected as it has a lift top and serves us well as an impromptu desk or a place for TV dinners. Someone else commented on the size of the rug being too small. I agree with her, but they didn't make it in a larger size and I decided that I loved it enough not to care. At the end of the day, design is very personal and that's what makes it great. To that effect....

3. Sometimes what you love and what is trendy neatly coincide. Apparently aqua and teal are ├╝ber trendy, and it was insinuated that I was a trend chaser. While it's nice to know I'm on the forefront of fashion or something, if you look at any design magazine, there are a ton of trendy colors at any given moment. Readers of this blog know how I came up with my color scheme: by wishing for an ocean in my house. I happen think that's the least trendy inspiration ever, but I also like to think that I came up with my own spin on it.

Overall, the takeaway is that one's home design will never be perfect to everyone, it just has to be perfect for you. I believe that the advice I provided to the world of Apartment Therapy will help its readers in making the decorating choices best for them.

Until next time!

xo, dk