Oh How Pretty…

August 5, 2010

How many shades of happy does this sofa and arrangement of things in general, make you? It makes my insides and my outsides tingle and smile and feel complete and utter bliss! The Dutch SO rock!

Oh How Pretty...

It’s the right marriage of old and new, isn’t it? It is truly an art to be able to mix periods and make it work – and it is not always as easy as one might think. You can learn it in design school but when it comes to having an eye for arranging things it really comes down to letting your instinct guide you and constant practice. When merging modern with vintage, you should start by looking for pieces that do not have competing shapes or patterns. This is good for beginners to remember, as you advance you can start to look for items that give tension but at first, keep it simple. For instance, if this sofa were very ornate with carved curvy legs, it would not sit quite as perfectly next to that shapely side table. If the side table were very plain though, it would still work but may be a bit boring. Decorating is totally subjective though, isn’t it? I mean, it’s 1/3 science but the rest is all art and how you see and interpret the world around you.

What do you think? Is decorating an art or science to you? Or both? It’s definitely both to me but I believe more on the art side when I decorate because often I’ll break rules simply to have what I want!

via: Yvestown via VTWonen


  • Reply Jacilyn August 5, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Oh yes, I would agree that design is part science and part art and mostly art at that. This little vignette is scrumptious!

  • Reply Ava August 5, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Decorating is definitely both! I agree with you completely. You have to be artistic in order to decorate but you also need to know and have the perfect ingredients and perfect amount of them. I love what you did in the picture. You have impeccable taste.

  • Reply Anna August 5, 2010 at 11:36 am

    You know when I was looking at the little picture of this story that’s exactly what I thought when I saw it “Oh How Pretty!”

  • Reply Natascha August 5, 2010 at 11:38 am

    We Dutchies are pretty cool :-) haha. Love the look too!

  • Reply Sabine August 5, 2010 at 11:45 am

    This IS really a happy combination. Matching interiors in this way is very, very difficult. I think it’s a result of know-how, inspiration, practice and perhaps a little bit of accident sometimes. Best regards, Sabine

  • Reply Stephanie August 5, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! I love mixing modern pieces with rustic vintage ones. It does take a certain degree of practice to pull off an eclectic, yet very calculated look. Otherwise it can definitely turn into a mess!

    I find what works for me is keeping inspiration folders through flickr. I tag photos notes on details that are appealing to me, really studying why it works. I try to keep those notes in mind when making a purchase, but like you said, sometimes you gotta break the rules for something you love!

  • Reply Leanne August 5, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    This is so lovely. I am searching for an extra large pendant lamp just like the one pictured. Any idea where I could find one?

  • Reply Nuit August 5, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    definitely more art than science to me ;)

    What I do is, I follow the rules at first, as in the foundation of the room… then I move things around and add things forgetting about the rules until it feels right… the place needs to feel right {that is SO feng-shui LOL}


  • Reply Lea August 5, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I’m starting to think design is completely subjective. I read about various rules certain designers use (and break) very often to provide balance or drama with space, color, texture, mood, etc. But just over this past few years I’m seeing that with new trends comes new rules, old ones thrown out, new colors & combos adopted, ugly turning into pretty, pretty into ugly, etc. So now I’m thinking it’s 100% subjective, rules and “science” included.

    I still have fun looking at design photos. I just know that one day the photos that are being praised with be disdained, and vice versa.

  • Reply ishtar August 5, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    wow, I love this room!!! Love the whiteness and calmness….so femenine and lovely!!! I believe decorating is more art.SOmetimes you see arrangements that seem so “wild” or creative, but work! somehow they work when the rest harmonizes with it. So there, i think the beauty of a place resides in its harmony and balance.
    have a lovely afternoon Holly!!!!!!
    thank you for posting this image its very inspiring!!!

  • Reply Margarita Lorenzo August 5, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Pretty indeed, the sofa pattern is very in and goes perfectly with the modern touch such as the table and lamp against the white wall.

  • Reply Katlin Farrell August 5, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    LOVE the couch. Also, the wall art intrigues me. Maybe a blog post on how to pull that kind of ‘collage’ of seemingly random pieces of art off?

  • Reply dana August 5, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    for me, decorating is trial and error. i try to pick by the rules, but it always turns out to be what just looks good.

  • Reply monique August 5, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I completely agree, decorating is both an art and a science.
    When I helping someone decorate their home the first question I always ask is “How do you want to feel when you are in this room?” I think it is very important to envoke a feeling/emotion when you enter a room. Especially when it’s a room you are going to be spending alot of time in. You want that room to be not only physically comfortable, but also emotionally comfortable.

  • Reply Melody Idol August 5, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Wow. Thanks for that tip. I always know what I like but don’t often now how to put it together. I love the antique mixed with modern or retro-modern but am not always sure how to mix it well.

  • Reply Jess August 5, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I agree with you – this arrangement ROCKS and decorating is definitely BOTH a science and an art. If it was just a science then all our houses would look like they came out of the decor magazines. We all could learn the rules and then apply – but it that x-factor that those who have the eye, the artistic interpretation use to make magic.

  • Reply Deborah Wall August 5, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    For me decoration is a soul science. It comes from a place that has no rules other than using combinations of things that make my heart sing.

    I love this combination because it has soul too.

  • Reply Sandra Kuwartowski August 5, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    To me decorating is both art and science. There are certainly rules of shapes, colours and composition. On the other hand it is done intuitively, with passion and experiences as well. I really love this sofa with its Biedermeier pattern combined with bold modern flowers of this lovely cushion. The fabric and shape of the sofa is so playful and the large cool modern hanging lamp makes such a nice contrast.

  • Reply Gina August 5, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    i <3 this sofa

  • Reply rebecca geldard August 5, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    i want that couch. adorable!

  • Reply Milk and Honey Home August 5, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    I think like Dorothy Draper said, “If it looks right, it is right.” Sometimes I feel “less than” because I am a decorator and not an educated designer, but some of the rooms I adore are from self-taught men & women. I do think there are things to learn…height for hanging art & lighting, floating furniture, etc., but mostly, like with any art, is from your gut.

  • Reply patrick August 5, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    A little bit of science, maybe a bit mathematical, sometimes logical and sometimes seemingly not. And, I agree, always artful.

  • Reply Kate @ Songs Kate Sang August 5, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Oh, it is a complete art… It comes so easily to some ~ and so beautifully!

  • Reply Susie M August 6, 2010 at 12:24 am

    I have always thought of decorating as an art form mastering the combining of colors, shapes, and textures, however, I can see where science enters this arena also. I love the combination of the vintage couch mixed into the modern decor. The simple lines of the vintage couch blend in well.

  • Reply Jutta August 6, 2010 at 1:33 am

    I love that sofa! I believe there is some science and rules that can help you, but mostly it’s just about trying what looks good and going with your instincts.

  • Reply Alison Gibbs August 6, 2010 at 5:10 am

    Love the fabric over the sofa. As soon as I saw this photo I smiled. If it makes you smile – they’ve got it right

  • Reply Solveig August 6, 2010 at 8:06 am


    i think decorating reflects your spirit, your focus and your hart. when it is done right- its art.

  • Reply Eveli Duarte August 6, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I completely agree!
    Decorating is the combination of science and art but… how wonderful results we can have when we just break the rules!
    All the best from Brazil,
    Eveli x ;-)

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente August 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Gorgeous! Absolutely….and the small arrangement over the couch, is perfect to me. I feel like I lack talent in the arranging department so, I definitely think it is an art & science. Both yes but, I am with you hun! I definitely break the rules to have what makes me happy. :)

  • Reply Renee @ eatliveshop.com August 6, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    I agree with you and think that decorating is both part art and part science. You have to know what works and what doesn’t but you also need to be creative so you are able to add in some personality!

  • Reply Julie the Alkaline Sister August 6, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    I say it’s an art where rules are meant to be broken to achieve gorgeous unpredictable design. Much of the rule abiding design is rather plain and ordinary and so predictable but a room like this is a fresh surprise and delight. That’s what gets you jazzed because it still works and is very pleasing to the eye. However it does take a trained eye to often achieve these looks as simple as they may seem to put together. I find that the design rules float around in my head as I create but I am a rule breaker as I am visually trying to create a look that works and is balanced but surprisingly creative.

  • Reply Coco August 6, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    I go with Lea, and think that rules, design etc is just a document of time.

  • Reply Sasha August 9, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    I think decorating is pure art; science is the logic that we’ve applied to try and understand the beauty.

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