This week I came across an article in House Beautiful from a couple of months ago on 50 designer tips for choosing a sofa. I love reading stuff like this. So many opinions all in one place!
One designer fancies a roll arm on a sofa. Another prefers flat. One suggests a modern tuxedo sofa. Another likes a curved sofa in a square room.
“Sofas so often end up looking like beached whales!” said yet another designer, who uses sofas with low backs and “simple, strict tailoring” to avoid this problem.
That comment is one that will surely stick with me. Beached whales? I may never look at a sofa the same way again.
A little humor always helps when it comes to taking a good look at our homes. Designers have a way of delivering exactly what we need to hear.
For example, I’ve enjoyed flipping through a book with the irresistible title “101 Things I Hate About Your House” by designer James Swan with Carol Beggy (Health Communications Inc, $18.95).
Room-by-room he takes us, shaping us up along the way:
In the living room: “The tiniest of spaces notwithstanding, most rooms for living will benefit greatly from pulling furniture away from the walls.”
In the kitchen: “If glass cabinet doors are what you want, then be prepared to maintain a level of orderliness. Otherwise, straighten up the shelves or smash the glass and start over. Either way you’ll be on your way to a more beautiful kitchen.”
In the family room: “Furniture with cup holders should be taken out and burned. Sorry, but these devices can slip under the radar for pickup trucks, stadium seating and the occasional home theater. But beyond these isolated uses just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!”
No, we don’t own any furniture with cup holders, but we do have some glass-front cabinets that need attention from time to time.
Now before you go neatening your cabinets or moving your furniture, here are a few more memorable comments, including some dating back decades:
• From the late designer Michael Greer: “Without a border on a rug you don’t have a rug; you just have a piece of cloth lying there, like a towel.”
• From the late Mark Hampton: “Oh coffee tables! People are so hung up on them.”
• From interior designer Miles Redd in Elle Decor: “Buy the best, and you only cry once.”
And, more recently, this one from Jonathan Adler: “I believe handcrafted tchotchkes are life-enhancing.”