"It may be a mistake to mix different wines, but old and new wisdom mix admirably." Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) — German socialist, dramatist and poet of the 20th century, prologue, "The Caucasian Chalk Circle" (1944).
Q: My husband and I are expecting our first baby in the fall and are thinking about how to do the baby’s room. Since money is a consideration in the decoration, we would like to make the room something we could live with for a while. Do you have any suggestions?
A: Good question, and one that I’m sure most parents are faced with. While the pink and blue and green babys’ rooms are so beautiful to look at, it is an expense to decorate, and babies grow so fast that they’re out of that baby stage quickly and the room doesn’t match the child anymore.
How ever you decorate the room, my suggestion would be to invest in furnishings that can grow and change as the child grows. Since this is your first child, you probably don’t have a hand-me-down crib so I would think very carefully before you buy one, as well as the other furnishings.
The actual decoration of the room, i.e., paint, decals, window treatments and other temporary items can be anything you want them to be. These things can easily be changed out as your child grows and won’t generally break the bank.
Your concentration should be on the furnishings you buy. Since this is going to be your biggest expense, you want the most bang for your buck.
For instance, rather than buying a changing table, I would consider a chest that can be used later on. You can buy comfy little mats with bumpers on them to keep the baby safe on top of the chest. Use the drawers for storage, and you will be able to keep the chest forever.
I would also suggest buying furniture that you can add on to. Bookcases in a baby’s room are great for storage of books, as well as stuffed animals and all of baby’s first treasures. Later on, it can become a workstation for a young boy or girl, as well as house all of his/her must-have electronics.
Visit your local furniture stores and keep multi-purpose furniture in mind.
Stanley Furniture Company has a new line of children’s furniture that can grow with your child. The line is called Young America (www.youngAmerica.com) and is available at local retailers.
Stanley makes a crib that can be expanded into a bed that your child can sleep in forever. Basically, you replace the rails and mattress and you’re in business. The company also offers a full line of casegoods to match.
Make the shopping a fun experience and invest in the pieces, rather than just buy.
Q: I read an article recently that talked about using accessories in groups of threes or uneven numbers. I see arrangements in stores or in my own house for that matter with two things that I like just fine. What is so special about uneven numbers?
A: Commonly referred to as the Rule of Three, designers practice what has long been associated with what the eye likes to see. And that is groupings of three or increments of uneven numbers. If you had a choice of putting two, three, five or six objects on a table, the most pleasing to your eye would be three and five items. It would go on to be seven, nine and so forth.
Advertisers use the rule of three also, and when I was doing a little research on this question, I found that it is a common theory used in public speaking and writing. Groups of three have a better ring and keep your attention — reading, writing and arithmetic and stop, look and listen.
Back to interior design, more times than not, three objects on a table or chest will look better than two. To my eye, a scenario with two items looks like it’s waiting for the third thing to arrive.
I would suggest that you experiment with your own accessories. Instead of a lamp and a picture on a tabletop, try adding a small box or a bowl to the mix and see how that feels.
Honestly, like a lot of design rules, it’s not really a rule, but a suggestion and a concept that is appealing. Your personal taste should dictate how your things are arranged. But try it, I think you will agree it works.
Carolyn Muse Grant is the editor of Southern Nevada Home & Garden magazine. Her Inside Spaces column appears weekly in the Home & Garden section of the Review-Journal. Check out other decorating tips in Southern Nevada Home & Garden magazine, which is published the first Saturday of each month. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.