Episode 344: Decorative Curtain Hardware and Styling a TV Stand

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It’s so good to be back with you again this week. A lot has been going on since the move to Connecticut on August 17th. We’ve been trying to manage our sanity while helping our kids make a smooth and healthy transition. There are currently so many moving parts with the house, and the cottage outback, where I will be working. We have discovered critters in the house and the cottage, there is only wifi in the cottage, and the list goes on. 

So even though I’m not feeling my best, sleeping my best, or living my best life right now, I am happy to be with you today to answer your mailbag questions because that keeps me sustained through the trials and tribulations of this whole process. 

This episode, we discuss…

[7:58] Using decorative curtain hardware in a primary bedroom (Marissa)

Question: 

Hi Betsy! It’s been a while since I’ve written, but I still love your podcast! Congrats on finding your new home in Connecticut. We also moved to Connecticut a few years ago, and I’m finally getting around to decorating my master. My question is on our curtain rods. Is it ok to use different finials on different curtain rods? As you can see from the photo, the two curtain rods behind my master bed go right up against the wall. Yet the two windows on the side wall have more room. I’m considering putting more decorative finials on the side wall because there is space to do so but only doing basic 1/4” end cap finials for the rods behind my bed. What do you think on having two types of finials in the same room? Any advice on the types of mixing/matching?

Answer:

So Marissa sent in pictures, which I will be looking at, but I don’t even need to see these beautiful pictures to give her an answer on this. Be sure to check out our Youtube Channel to see the images for yourself. 

Your primary bedroom is coming along beautifully, but I would never do different finials on different curtain rods in the same room. The only time I could imagine this working would be if it was a very eclectic space and working those different finials in the design. Otherwise, I can’t imagine that working out. 

Typically, rods are not something that I want to draw a lot of attention to. In chapter nine of my book, I talk all about decorative curtain hardware. I don’t really like decorative finials at all. I’ll do a simple ball or, sometimes, something straightforward like a beveled crystal. I don’t like any spirals or shapes with elaborate detail. 

I thought of the acorn shape because we have wooden rods in our current home. The previous owners didn’t skimp on price when it came to purchasing anything for this home, and for me, I always try to find similar pieces of expensive furnishings but at a lower price. So this home is teaching me that I want to maintain the investment made by the previous owners – which has allowed me to shop at stores I don’t usually shop at.

What I want to do in this current home is keep those foundational pieces while getting rid of the pieces that aren’t really my style.

That was a tangent I went off on there, so speaking of tangents, I have been working on some new client projects. Beforehand I took a few weeks off because of travel, and I knew I would get distracted. I was still actively managing the firm but not accepting any new clients at the time. 

That said, I find it hard to give right now from an empty cup because of the disaster at my house. I have some huge presentations coming up soon that I would typically be so energized for, but I feel depressed. 

I know it’s up to me to change my mentality on this because the spaces will be fabulous, but focusing on other people’s problems right now is difficult since I’m struggling with my home space. 

People always ask me about changing things around in my home for each season, but I don’t usually update things unless my kids beg me to change something like their decals. So instead, I create a space I love and keep it that way because I’m constantly designing for others. I can do this because I’m settled in my own space, but right now, I don’t feel so settled in my new home just yet. 

I didn’t mean to make this question all about myself, Marissa, but that is all I can think about right now. 

[17:08] Styling a media cabinet for more functionality and style (Dion)

Question:

Hi Betsy! I love your podcast and your book. I’ve been able to use a lot of your advice to furnish my home, but I am stumped with my media center, and I desperately need your help. I have a beautiful off-white media center from Pottery Barn. The centerpiece has three shelves on each side (they’re adjustable) behind glass doors. The side pieces have open shelving, which is also adjustable. Unfortunately, this piece has become an eyesore—a catchall—instead of a showstopper in the living area. We have some electronic components (cable box, modem) and even a hand vac on one of the shelves (I know, I know) and then some random accessories. What I’d like to know is how can I accessorize the media center so it is functional and beautifully decorated both on top of the piece and inside. My space is cream/white with touches of blue and orange. Thank you so much for answering my question and helping the masses make more beautiful spaces.

Answer:

You definitely described this media cabinet space very aptly, Dion. I see you have components behind the doors, and then the four middle doors are flanked by two open cubbies. So I do have thoughts about this whole moment.

Dion has shared beautiful pictures of the media cabinet, so again, you can go to our YouTube Channel to check those out for this episode. 

My first piece of advice is not to put a lamp on top of or next to a media cabinet. The reasoning is that when you’re watching TV, you don’t want to look at a visually uncomfortable light source.  

Another thing I don’t love is having tchotchkes on top of a media stand, especially with a large TV right above it. I see that the TV is mounted on the wall with a strip covering the cords, which I don’t typically love. You could sink those wires into the wall, which could be hard to build a channel if the wall is a thick material, in which case, you could do a cord cover in the same paint color as the wall.

Your TV also looks a little high, Dion. I can see from your picture that a small portion of your chair is in one corner, letting me know that this might be too high for your room. The TV height should be in line with the height of your eyeballs as you sit on the couch. However, if your space is very deep, you can go higher. In that case, it could be above the fireplace. You would still need to angle the TV down just a bit. Once you move the TV, you’ll have less room on top of the media unit that you feel obligated to accessorize, which would obstruct the view of your shows. 

With those open components, you want to make it more of a showpiece with accessorizing in a way that’s decorative rather than practical. So the handheld back has got to go somewhere else. 

The second thing is moving some of those decorative objects down there. If this is a space where you play games with your family or read books, you could incorporate functional items by stacking them decoratively. You don’t want to do anything too small and dainty because it’ll look like crap, especially in the low cubbies. It won’t really register what they are. 

If you have lots of cords or controllers for different video games, I would recommend putting baskets in there that fill the space rather nicely and hold many things. You have baskets behind the doors, which is an excellent option to accessorize the open shelving. It gives you a bit more grace in that way. Just make sure that the cable box and modem are styled attractively. 

It’s a great idea to keep all things technology on both middle and top shelves so that you can accessorize the bottom shelves. Be sure to put those unattractive things like cords and controllers in baskets by incorporating colorful items. You may not want to do anything too bright as it will draw attention to those areas, but you also don’t want to do anything too neutral that doesn’t go with the consistency of the room. 

Well, these are my thoughts right now! Hopefully, soon I will have a fully designed house so that I don’t talk about myself as much and be able to focus more on you. If you have any questions, please feel free to send them to me so I can assist you in your design dilemma. 

I’ll see you next week!

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