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With home decor, small details can have big results

Here is something I thought about after visiting the Town of Wales home of Ken and Maureen King last week: Tall vases of flowers are lovely but, as I saw here, there are spots for smaller-scale arrangements, too ‑ whether the flowers are real or faux. Think round or square vase. Big blooms. Short stems.

While taking a tour of this soon-to-be-revealed February Home of the Month, I noticed a small vase filled with white and pink silk flowers. The vase was placed on a white tray. The tray was placed on a white throw that was folded neatly on top of an ottoman in the living room.

A similarly sized bouquet of pale pink roses topped a matching table runner in the dining room and another (shown above) was seen on the table in the sunny “morning room” off the kitchen. You can read more about our Home of the Month in the print edition of Home & Style on Sunday or online at

I also just took a look at the new book “Martha’s Flowers: A Practical Guide to Growing, Gathering, and Enjoying” by Martha Stewart with Kevin Sharkey (Potter, $45 hardcover). Here’s what the authors had to say about daffodils placed in a small glass or pitcher: “A solo daffodil or small grouping of blooms can offer just as much impact as a large bouquet, and leaves more of the flowers for you to enjoy in the garden.” Ah, yes, spring ...

We see a lot of great details in the homes we feature for our Home of the Month articles as well as the online-only Home of the Week feature we began last fall.

Here are just four others (but of course there are many more):

Pillows that pull it all together. I think some of us take the decorative pillows in our homes for granted, ignoring them except for the occasional plumping. But so many of the rooms we have shown in our Home & Style sections have been accessorized with beautiful pillows in a variety of textures, colors, patterns, shapes and styles - from the whimsical to the glamorous. And let’s not forget about all the great outdoor pillow options these days.

Pillows are widely available in a range of price ranges. Buy them ready made or order them custom. Creative types can sew, embroider, needlepoint or embellish them. Another option is to buy pillow covers and pillow inserts so all you have to do is switch the cover when the season changes or the mood strikes. Pottery Barn is one retailer that offers covers and inserts.

• Illuminating lighting ideas. We have seen elegant chandeliers, handsome sconces, contemporary five-arm floor lamps, funky kitchen lighting and novelty table lamps in people’s homes. While it’s important to understand the different types of lighting (ambient, task, accent) to effectively light a room, we’ve seen how people also use lighting to add style.

A wallpapered half bath. (Sharon Cantillon/News file photo)

• Healthy plants. One year ago, knowing that longtime houseplant lovers would find this hysterical, I wrote that houseplants were among the interior design trends for 2017.

Back then, Garden Design magazine offered this in its 2017 garden trends wrap-up: “Just as bell bottoms are reappearing on runways, a 1970s-style fascination with houseplants is back.” People also were learning about houseplants’ ability to filter and freshen the air.

I have visited homes with large potted floor plants that fill corners of a living room, assorted potted plants and herbs at the kitchen window, terrariums, topiaries, succulents, hangings plants and more (including orchids, as Sally Cunningham writes in today’s Home & Style section).

Of course one has to learn which ones to choose and how to best care for them, but plants are a great decorating tool if they work for you and your circumstances. Healthy greenery in a room can make a big difference.

• Wallpaper in the half bath: Whatever you call it ‑ the half bath, powder room or guest bath ‑ we have seen some wonderful wallpaper used in a space that may otherwise be boring. Toilet. Sink. Hand towels. Yawn.

If that sounds like your downstairs bath, consider what some of our featured homes have shown: A great wallpaper can turn blah to beautiful. It may not be as small a detail as a mini bouquet, but it’s one worth noting.

Then again, in that bath, wouldn’t a single bud or two in a small vase make a nice finishing touch? Worried about breakage? Use a small acrylic container or wall vase.


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