Design happiness into your home

by Diana Fox

Perfectly designed rooms, decorated with style and beauty, fill the pages of popular decorating magazines. Many of us yearn for this staged, designer look but question our ability to achieve it and further question our ability to live it.

So, what do you do when you desire the stylish magazine look but your family’s lifestyle commands a less immaculate and a more relaxed, lived-in atmosphere? Always think of your family’s happiness first and design and decorate beautiful spaces around them — including pets.

Designing rooms in accordance with the needs of the people who live, work and play inside its walls is an essential element for creating comfort and happiness. When it comes to decorating your home, design your rooms as the backdrop, with the people and their activities taking center stage.

Stylish interiors are attainable, even with an active family. Try some of these ideas and achieve attractive results without overlooking the most important aspect of the room — the people who enjoy spending time there.

1. Create space to move.

Empty space gives the room a larger and more open feel. Arrange furniture in a simple, attractive floor plan, which will emphasize the ‘less is more’ theory. Provide ample room for kid-friendly family activities. To conceal family clutter, consider a handsome, wooden trunk as a toy box or a storage ottoman for games and puzzles.

2. Use colors that compliment.

Choosing a pleasing color scheme is a designer’s trick for creating a stylish décor. Finding the right color can take careful planning, but most people appreciate the immediate change in a room’s mood with a simple update of fresh paint. Select shades from some of your favorite colors or try the trendy fad of painting a color that compliments your skin tones! Butter yellow, soft pink and neutral beiges are great for light skin tones, while toasty tans and golden yellow are a nice compliment for darker complexions.

3. Add texture.

Create interest, impact and softness by adding various textures that are nice to touch and visually pleasing. Introduce a cozy chenille throw on a smooth leather sofa or a textured woolen blanket neatly folded across a satin bedspread. Both offer a comfortable invitation to feel pampered and curl up with a hot beverage and your favorite book.

4. Personalize your accessories.

Mantel accessories can set the scene. The fireplace is usually the focal point of the room, so create a designer look by selecting pieces with high style, fashion and drama. Personalize your grouping by layering in a few of your favorite things. Combine a collection of similar objects in different sizes to highlight artful details.

5. Don’t forget comfort.

In those gorgeous magazine shots it doesn’t matter if the furniture is comfortable or not, it only needs to look fabulous! However, for home use comfort is one of the key factors in making your selection. Choose carefully by selecting styles that look good, fit the space and compliment the room décor but are also budget-conscious and have a big priority on comfort. Buy the best quality and construction you can afford for heavy-use areas, such as a family room. Consider style, budget and fabric as guidelines for selecting the perfect piece.

A family-friendly attitude mixed with inspired ideas can offer an inviting magazine look. Well-designed, detailed and beautiful rooms easily take shape when you consider everyone’s happiness in the design and decorating process. Being at home has never looked so good!

Diana specializes in interior arrangement, room design makeover, color consultation and relocating services. She has been assisting clients since 1986 and can be reached by phone at (951) 202-7859, e-mail at or on the Web at