Decorating Help

I've decided to redecorate. Now what?

Interior Designer Susan Young reveals the one step that can simplify your entire decorating project.

It's only natural to feel slightly overwhelmed when you start a home redecorating project. After all, the choices ahead of you are virtually limitless. It doesn't have to make you crazy. In fact, Interior Designer Susan Young of Chattanooga, Tennessee, offers a first step that can simplify every decision that follows.

Her advice? Start with the rug just inside your front door.

Considering the importance of first impressions, you may know to give extra thought to your foyer. What you may not know is that the decisions you make there can simplify everything else. Here's how.

Start by selecting a rug that has rich color, pattern, and intricate design. You'll realize two major benefits.

    • First, you conceal the soil, sand, mud, and rain that people inevitably track in.
    • Second, and most importantly for the task at hand, your rug helps you make all-important color decisions.

You probably already have an idea of the main color you'll use in your home.

Find a rug that's predominantly that color. The rug you choose, the one you're drawn to, will practically make the decision of your two accent colors for you because most rug designs will consist of three main colors. With one purchase, you know three colors that you can now mix and match to create a striking, stylish continuity from room to room.

On a recent decorating project, Designer Susan Young started with a base of natural, earthy brown. Susan actually knew before she started that her two accent colors would be off-white and celedon green, but non-designers among us don't often have that foresight. The rug she chose, however--Carden Park from Shaw's Jack Nicklaus Collection-- could have made the decision for her.

Repetition of patterns, colors, and designs creates flow in adjoining rooms, says Susan. The three colors from the rug--brown, celedon, and white--became the basis for all the decisions that followed.

For the sitting room, for example, she painted the walls a bright celedon green. It brought a brilliant splash of color to the home. Rich in tone, the effect is ultimately soothing, welcoming, and warm. The base color remained equally important in the sitting room, with the natural brown continuing from the foyer rug to the carpet and as accents in the drapes and sofa fabric.

The colors in your paints and fabrics and floor coverings won't be exact matches, but they will be from the same family, which creates depth of color, visual interest, and design flow.

"Repeat, repeat, repeat" is one of Susan's primary decorating tips. "Repeating patterns, and colors, and designs over and over again helps tie many various elements together."

So, to create distinctive rooms that flow together beautifully,

    • find a rug you love for just inside the front door
    • determining the rug's three main colors
    • then, repeat, repeat, repeat.

 Check our top selection of designer rugs