Design Guide: 5 Rules of Space Planning

Have you ever struggled with creating the best furniture layout for your home?  Well, you’re not alone. So many people struggle with how to arrange their furniture so that it looks good and works with the way the family lives.

In my latest Design Guide post, I’m sharing the 5 Rules of Space Planning.  These are the rules and guidelines you’ll want to use to create a pleasing arrangement for your furniture and decor.


  • Don’t Hug The Walls

One of the most common mistakes people make when decorating their homes is to push all the furniture to the walls.  The thought is that by keeping the center of the room open, the room will feel larger.  I hate to burst the bubble but the opposite it true.  When you push all the furniture against at the walls, a room actually feels disconnected and unwelcoming. Make better use of the space and create a cozy vibe by arranging furniture within the room instead of against it.


  • Create A Layout With Function In Mind

A truly great space is one that functions well for you and your family.  Before you begin decorating, analyze how you plan to live in and use the room so that you can arrange the furniture and decor to support that.  As you being space planning, think about how each area of a room and each furniture piece will be used.

Caitlin Creer Interiors

  • Create Pathways In and Out

You’ll want about 30 inches to 36 inches of walkway between pieces.This is what you need to be comfortable, without knocking into furniture and bumping into walls. Any type of furniture with doors or drawers also needs three feet of space to open properly. And keep in mind how you access a seating area within a room. Where possible you want to have more than one way to enter and exit.


  • Create Conversation Areas

There is nothing less intimate than a gathering of people within a room and them having to yell to have a conversation.  Arrange furniture so there are cozy groupings where conversations can easily happen and people can easily engage with each other. There should be no more than 10 feet and no less than 3 feet between people seated around the room to optimize intimate conversation and everyone’s personal space.


  • Create Balance

An easy way to create balance within a room is to find the center point of the space.  In some cases, this isn’t necessarily the middle of the room but most of the time it will be. Generally, this is where the coffee table or center table should sit.  Arrange furniture around the center point to create a good flow and visually pleasing balance within the room. If your home has a very long, or very large living room, consider having two center points with two separate furniture groupings.


These guidelines will help you get started with space planning but you should adjust your decorating according to your own tastes and preferences. Use these rules to get started, but don’t be afraid to break them and go with your instincts if something feels right to you.

For more helpful decorating tips, read  Key Measurement to Know When Decorating Your Home!

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Pillow Pairings | My Favorite Black and White Pillow Styles

Raise your hand it you own this black and white pillow cover from Ikea.  I think half the world owns the Lappljung Ruta cushion cover, including me!

I think the appeal of this covers is the graphic design, the sturdy fabric and of course the black and white color combo.  And let’s not overlook the $10 price which makes this pillow one of the best design deals around.

Ikea Black and White Pillow

via Ikea

While I love the Ikea pillow, I think its time a new black and white pillow becomes the darling of the design world. To find a winner, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite black and white pillows/cushion covers along with the accent pillows I’d pair them with them when decorating.

Check out my pillow pairings and leave me a comment and let me know which is your favorite.


No. 1

Black, white and greek key are always a winning combination and a classic look that will be around for years to come.  The black velvet pillow pairs beautifully with this dusty blue Schumacher floral fabric and a tan and white mini animal print.

 Black Velvet Pillow Cover with Greek Key Trim // Hot House Flowers Pillow Cover // Tan Cheetah Pillow Cover 

Black and White Pillow Pairings by ConfettiStyle


No. 2

This woven black and white pillow has a casual vibe that is perfect for a sectional or sofa.  Because of the texture, I’ve paired it with a deep yellow velvet pillow and an abstract floral so the look is relaxed and carefree.  The black and white woven pillow would also look great paired with other black and white pillow designs.

p.s.  the velvet pillow is available in 10 fabulous colors
 Linework Woven Decorative Pillow // Watercolour Floral Pillow Cover // Brenner Yellow Velvet Pillow

Black and White Pillow Pairings by ConfettiStyle

No. 3

By far my favorite black and white pillow grouping!  This textured black and white pillow cover is so versatile that you can easily pair it with other patterns.  Since I love all things emerald green I used that as the accent color for this combo.  The floral pillow keeps the overall look soft while the velvet green pillow with greek key keeps the look classic.

   Ben Soleimani Textured Wool Nailhead Pillow Cover //  Bermuda Blossoms Pillow Cover // Emerald Green Velvet Pillow 

Black and White Pillow Pairings by ConfettiStyle

No. 4

If you like a more modern vibe, you’ll love this combo.  I like how the bold design of the black and white grid pillow mixes well with a modern strip and Asian floral design.

p.s.  there are a thousand shades of white so don’t think you have to have the exact hue in each pillow design.  A little contrast is a good thing.
 Modern Black Pillow //  Black and White Dotted Stripe Pillow Cover // Asian Floral Pillow Cover
Black and White Pillow Pairings by ConfettiStyle

No. 5

I’m starting to see black and white buffalo check pillows all over Pinterest so it looks like this pillow design is a new favorite amongst designers and design bloggers.  An oversized plaid like this works will with ditzy prints and florals and you can go with just about any color combo you want.

 Buffalo Check Pillow // Dalmatian Spots Pillow // P. Kaufmann Candid Moment Pillow Cover

Black and White Pillow Pairings by ConfettiStyle

Tips For Pairing Pillows Like A Pro


  1. Ensure all pillows have a consistent color theme.  If you’re using a black and white pillow as the foundation, pair it will other designs that include black, white or both colors so there is a connection amongst the pillows.
  2. The scale of patterns should balance each other, not compete for attention. A good rule of thumb is one large , one medium and one small.
  3. Texture is important and can be visual texture (what the eye sees) as well as tactile texture (what you actually feel).  Texture adds warmth and depth to pillow pairings and should always be a part of your pillow mix.
  4. The size of the pillows matter.  Just like you scale the size of print, you want different sizes of pillows. Here’s a winning combo you can always count on…

For the sofa:  (2) 24×24 pillows  + (2) 20×20 pillows + (1) Lumbar pillow  //  For a loveseat: (2) 20×20 pillows + (1) Lumbar pillow

So, which black and white pillow is your favorite and which pillow pairing do you like most? 

Design Chat: Accessorizing Bookshelves and adding the finishing touches

I received an email from one of my blog reader, Megan who was looking for help with the wall decor and accessorizing the built-in bookshelves in her family room. The bookshelves and the walls have been empty for 3 years and Megan doesn’t know where to start with a decorating plan. She is also struggling with the sofa, which she’s not a fan of but others in the family are.

Here’s a look at Megan’s family room…

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle

And here’s my design vision for Megan’s room…



The tan sofa, beige walls and white built-in shelves create a neutral color foundation for the room.  The area rug has different tones of red, browns and green in it so that should be the jumping off point for accessorizing the rest of the room.

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle

The expanse of white shelving surrounding the TV needs a major pop of personality.  Beyond getting the right mix of accessories, I recommend that Megan either paint the backs of the bookshelves in an accent color or cover the backs with a grass cloth wallpaper.  Wallpaper would achieve two things–1) color and 2) visual texture which would really enhance the space.

When painting the backs of bookshelves, I usually recommend that you go a shade or two light or darker than your wall color.Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle



When it comes to decorating bookshelves, the items you decorate with are just as important as how you arrange them. Here are a few tips on accessorizing bookshelves and a graphic with accessory groupings that always work.

  1. Create depth ‘top to bottom’ and ‘front to back’.  Arrange items so the pieces are not at the same level or position of the shelf.  Your accessories should feel layered and not uniform.
  2. Vary the size, scale and shape of your accessories.  Decorate with a variety of items to create visually interesting arrangements.  And also keep in mind that if your shelves are adjustable you can create wider openings which will allow for larger decorative pieces.
  3. Create balance from shelf to shelf and side to side.  As you arrange items, step back to make sure the overall look of each shelf and each side of the fireplace feels balanced.
For more bookcase decorating tips, read my post 5 Ways To Style Your Bookcase.

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle



Wall decor is one of the most important elements of accessorizing a room.  In many cases your wall decor will serve as the focal point for the room.  In Megan’s room, the wall decor will provide a dominate impact statement within the room so it needs to be dynamic.

I recommend a large piece of artwork flanked by starburst mirrors for the most visible wall in the family room.  A piece of art will add color and draw you in to the room.  Mirrors will add a graphic detail and enhance the light coming in from the opposite window.

To enhance the sofa, Megan should add accent pillows and a small-scale bent arm floor lamp at the end of the sectional providing much-needed task lighting.

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle



The other decorative items I’d recommend is a console table behind the sofa, an accent chair near the built-ins and curtain panels for the windows.

 A console table will visually extend the partial wall behind the sofa and create an additional surface for a lamp and accessories.

The accent chair will provide additional seating and create a more balance space, filling the now empty corner.

Curtain panels will add softness and another pattern element within the room.

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle



Unique accessories and colorful wall decor is all that is needed to bring Megan’s room to life.

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle

Refresh Your Decor for the New Year

Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

Every year when the Christmas decor comes down I feel like my decor has lost its luster.  My living room feel bare, my decor feels stale and everything that I loved before Christmas feels like it needs fresh, new energy.  I know I’m not alone in this feeling and that many of you are looking at your decor right now and wondering how you can inject some life and energy into it.

Over the years I’ve learned and employed some simple and inexpensive decorating tricks the refresh my decor for the new year.


Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

Every now and then you need to change things up in your decor to give it a new feeling.  The start of a new year is the perfect time to try a new furniture arrangement, move pieces from one room to another or re-arrange your accessories.  Move lamps around a room or even consider layer a smaller rug over the top of a larger one.  Sometimes all it takes is a tiny shift of perspective to see something familiar in a totally new light.

Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

Many time when I’m feeling a sense of uneasiness with my decor it has to do with clutter and disorganization.  Dedicate the month of January to cleaning, organizing and purging every room in your home.  Donate the things that you no longer use, organized the spaces (drawers, closets and tabletop surfaces) that use most offend and give your entire home a deep cleaning.  Clutter in you physical surroundings will clutter your mind and spirit.

Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

Color is an immediate mood booster so try adding in a new accent color into your decor to refresh the palette.  Switching out pillows is easy and cost-effective and will add big pops of color within your decor.  Color accents can also be added with small accent furniture, blankets & throws, artwork and decorative accessories.  In decorating, it’s often the little things that make the biggest impact.

tip:  when shopping for pillows, look for covers with hidden zippers so you can reuse the inserts when you change your pillow decor

Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

During the holiday season we are surrounded with and abundance of patterns and colors.  Once the Christmas decor is down your surroundings may feel flat and lifeless.  The quick fix for that is pattern mixing.  Combine different pattern styles and colors to re-energize your decor.

tip:  a winning pattern mix combines small patterns against large ones and includes one big solid ( on sofa, floor, or wall) in the room. 

Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

You might think that once artwork is hung on the wall it’s there to stay.   That doesn’t have to be the case.  During the winter months you can bring a room to life by simply switching out a piece of artwork with a mirror.  Mirrors enhance the light within a room(both natural and decorative) and will instantly make a room feel lighter, brighter and more open.

tip:  oversized floor mirrors will make small spaces feel bigger in addition to making the decor feel more important

Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

Look around the rooms in your home and see where you can create a cozy seating area or reading nook.  Cozy areas will make your home feel more intimate and personal which is the feeling your home had when all your Christmas decor was up.

Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

Plants and flowers will  make your decor feel special anytime of the year but during the winter months the emotional energy these elements add is enhanced.  Place small plants or a vase on flowers on tabletop surfaces in the main living areas of your home as well as the bedroom and bathroom.

tip: if you don’t have a green thumb, decorating with artificial plants and flowers–they provide the same emotional lift that real greenery does.

Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

Candles are my go-to accessory during the cold winter months.  Not only can candles provide a sense of warmth but the glow increases the sense of relaxation and coziness that a room has.  Arrange a group of candles on the coffee table or along the mantel.


It doesn’t take a lot to give your home a fresh, new feeling for the new year so use one or all of these design tips to refresh your decor.


all images via Ballard Design

Best Of ConfettiStyle: Anatomy Of…


Dissecting the details is one of my favorite things about designing a space.  Over the years I’ve learned what essential components need to come together to make a room sparkle and come alive.  Today I’m sharing four great posts with you, tackling some of the most common decorating challenge many people face.

Click on any of the image below to view the entire post.


Learn how to use accessories to pull together any space in your home in the Anatomy of A Well-Styled Room post.

Anatomy of a Well Styled Room.001


Often time the vignettes you have in your home tell a story about you and your family.  In my Anatomy of A Vignette post, I give you tips and visual inspiration for creating vignettes that are dynamic and personal.

Anatomy Of A Vignette.001.jpg.001


Do you want to get your linen closet organized and looking pretty once and for all?  Read my tips for an Organized and Stylish Linen Closet.



And your bathroom needs to decor love too!  I’ve outlined 10 tips for Accessorizing & Styling Your Bathroom to help you pull your space together.

Traditional Home

Let the accessorizing and organizing begin!

Shelly Signature

Design Guide: Every Room Needs A Touch of Black

Every Room Needs A Touch of Black


When it comes to design rules, some rules hold more weight than others.  Some rules like the ‘ideal placement for furniture’ or ‘throw pillows need a karate chop’ are flexible and can and should be adapted based on personal preference and the function of a space.  Then there are rules that I think are essential to good design.  One of the rules I believe in whole-heartedly is… every room needs a touch of black.  

Explaining the logic behind this design rule is pretty simple.   We all know that color is a powerful thing in design and the color black is one of the most important design colors you can use.


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Design Inspiration: Small Bathrooms with major impact!

Small Bathroom.001


Have you ever heard the saying that bathrooms and kitchens sell a house?  Well, its true and even small bathrooms count when it comes to design whether you’re selling your house now or will be sometime down the road.

Whenever I’m talking to design clients about re-designing a bathroom my focus is always to add as much style as possible into that space.  With larger bathrooms that’s pretty easy to do but with a smaller bathroom space it can be more challenging.

Even with limited space, there are lots of things you can do with structurally and decoratively to add major impact to your bathroom.

Read the Post

Small Space Decorating Tips

Last year I wrote about the Tiny House Movement and how it is gaining in popularity.  Well, a year later and the movement is just picking up steam.

I recently finished an article for a friend of mine who started and published Welcome Magazine here in Atlanta years ago.  She has since moved to New York and is in the process of re-establishing the magazine there.  She asked me to write an article for it with tips for decorating small spaces and I thought I’d share a few of those tips with you here in the blog.

Decorating small spaces can be challenging.  The layout of a room, the style of furniture, the paint color and how to keep the space organized are just a few of the design elements you have to consider.  The tips I’m sharing will help you do all of that without sacrificing style and personality.

Small Space Decorating.001


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