Smart Solutions: Take a second look at rooms for inspiration

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News
Take a second look at room vignettes where decorating ideas are waiting to be discovered.

In the age of social media, we’re often quick to judge each other. That can also be the case when it comes to home decor. If you’ve ever rushed to judgment or been quick to dismiss a room that doesn’t suit your taste, you might want to take another look.  

Whether you’re out shopping, browsing online, reading a magazine or seeing someone’s home for the first time, it helps to have an open mind.

When you can see past what doesn’t appeal to you and appreciate the full potential of each piece, you’ll be sure to find inspiration.

For instance, if you don’t like the look of a particular sofa, you might be inspired by the way it’s arranged in a room. If the upholstery is not your style, there’s a good chance that other fabrics and features are available.

In two separate images I found on, there was plenty of inspiration to be had. For starters, both reminded me how much of an impact a chandelier can have in a living space instead of the more obvious spots like a dining room or a foyer.

This design decision is more than visually pleasing; it can also be a more practical solution as we tend to spend more time in a great room.

In one of the photos, a sheepskin rug evokes a cozy feel underfoot. The practice of layering rugs lends warmth to any surroundings.

A sizable sectional offers additional seating for guests and a place to stretch out with a laptop or a book and take a nap.

I love the simplicity of this particular piece with its clean lines and generous proportions. Even if this sectional doesn’t speak to you, the fact that it floats in the middle of the room might make you rethink your current configuration.

The storage and display options shown in both images are stylish yet subtle, which is unexpected in a larger space.

A neutral space may seem simple at first, but it can reveal clever ideas like a chandelier in a living area.

Propping a piece of art against a wall conveys a casual feel while a glamorous chandelier makes a spacious area feel more intimate.

Though the neutral furnishings can be soothing in a setting with a muted palette, they can take on an entirely different tone come spring with some colorful accent pieces, such as pillows and throws.

A round coffee table softens the edges in a room, while the slightly darker tone contrasts with some of the other items shown in one of the images.

As both photos confirm, you don’t need bold colors to make a statement in a space. In a lighter environment, even the most subtle variations become more noticeable like a chair with striped upholstery or a mix of wood tones.

So, the next time you view a room, whether it’s in person or online, take a step back to see if something inspires you. It could be the base of a lamp, the placement of a rug or a display in a bookcase. When you open yourself up to seeing the space from a neutral point of view, there are bound to be some decorating lessons to be learned.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at