Smart Solutions: Going 'round and 'round with design ideas

By Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News
Round elements lend a comforting touch to the home like this tufted ottoman that softens the straight lines of the sofas.

While on the hunt for just the right geode that I’ve yet to find, my sighting of another item led to an interesting conversation with a store employee. When I decided to buy a crystal to hang in my home that are said to create positive energy, I ended up with a unique shape called Disco Ball. The name made me like it even more as did the fact that it was different from the standard teardrop style.

As the person helping me was having a hard time untying the cord to separate the crystal from its display stand, she said she had a tendency to overthink things. As an over-thinker myself, this made me mention my border collie. Though considered to be among the smartest breeds, these working dogs have also been known to overthink a thing or two.

When she said I must like circles, I thought she was referring to the Disco Ball crystal, but she was also referring to the instinctual herder we have at home who can run circles around sheep. I had never made that connection before and as I thought about it on the way home I heard a song called “Circles” on the radio.

This made me realize how many round elements I have in my house that alleviate the hard lines of the architecture and other key features like cabinets and doors. Just one look around the main floor reveals a variety of these pieces, from ottomans and clocks to globes and orbs that lend comfort through their familiar form.

Major players include our dining table that takes on an oval shape with the leaf in the middle and a game table in our kitchen surrounded by upholstered chairs on wheels with rounded tops. Serving pieces, from platters and plates to chargers and bowls, bring circular silhouettes to the surface when entertaining.

On the walls, some of the framed artwork has oval matting that takes the featured image to a whole new level. By the fireplace in the living room, a Sid Dickens tile depicts a dartboard with continuous circles in contrasting shades.

Round accent pieces on our lower level include leather ottomans, ceramic garden stools and a bean bag chair that doubles as a dog bed on occasion. Even the sectional sofa has a curved extension at one end. 

So yes, I guess I do like to be surrounded by circles, whether it’s a hatbox or a lampshade. I’m just more aware of that fact now that someone brought the subject to my attention.

Lately I keep seeing commercials for round ice cubes, so I know I’m not the only fan of this distinct shape. Even the weather becomes a contributor at this time of year as a significant snowfall makes our patio table on the deck look like a layer cake with white frosting.

As you celebrate the holiday season, consider a circular object, whether it’s a mirror, tray or vase. It could be a jar of marbles or a bowl of wicker balls that you choose to display when you gather ‘round the table and enjoy your circle of friends.

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