Need Your Help Editing My Space

Dear Style Studio Team,

Ballard is my favorite escape and I could spend all morning with you and a coffee!

My dilemma is wondering whether and how to do some editing. My style is French Country/South Louisiana Tropical and eclectic/casual. I’m blessed with lots of light and a T-shaped open space with the dining room and kitchen across the top of the T and the living room at the the bottom, front door in the middle of the front living room wall. I’ve embraced the French style of open display in the kitchen.

Please look at my pictures below and suggest whether I need to pare down items from the whole space.

Of special concern is the black China cabinet in the dining room and the fireplace mantle.

I’ve battled the overly fussy look of the cabinet for four years. Yesterday I removed all the bright Majolica plates and pottery from it and styled it this way with subdued things I own. It looks much better but I’ve lost all perspective. Is it still “too much”?

I am considering the following options:

1) Keep it and follow your instructions for styling
2) Sell it and get something with straighter lines, perhaps just a buffet
3) Get rid of just the hutch portion and put the sunflower art piece over the buffet
4) Paint it khaki or pale gray-blue, retaining the mahogany of the top and inner shelves.

I’m at odds on whether the Ballard Suzanne Kessler Ikat rug, which I love, would be a welcome addition under the dining table, or whether it would just provide more distraction?

On the fireplace mantle I love the Ballard candlesticks, but the center section never feels “finished.”

I realize our recliners and couch may appear awkward, but they function fine this way and we enjoy their comfort.

I would truly appreciate your suggestions on what should be culled, or whether I’m being nit-picky and just need to relax.

Thank you so much for your help!


Debbie R 1

Debbie R 2

Debbie R 3


We appreciate your eclectic and casual style … your bold use of color and texture.

In response to your first question … should I do some editing … we answer “yes.” Even though color and whimsy can create a fun space, being mindful of how treasures are displayed in a space is very important.

As you evaluate your space, look at each area as a community of objects and elements. You want the pieces to work together in harmony and continuity instead of a room full of independent fragments.

The candlesticks on your mantel are lovely. Leave the candlesticks in place and then consider grouping three or four smaller items to one side of the mantel.

To balance out the opposite end, incorporate a large single object with the candlestick. This will visually balance out the mantel.

Your black buffet is a beautiful piece and it gives the long wall an anchor. Consider removing the existing table to the left of the storage piece and replace it with a chair on each side. A pair of our Nailhead Parsons chairs flanking the buffet would be fabulous.

Next, use your existing artwork to create balanced vignettes above each chair.

As a final note with the buffet, we recommend removing the items on top of the hutch. Either leave it empty or add a couple of similar items … like pretty bottles or small baskets.

Nailhead Parsons Domino Green

When an area becomes overwhelming and you don’t know where to start, consider removing all the accessories from the room. Now start placing the items back into the space … one piece at a time … keeping a critical eye. A freshly styled room will begin to appear.

Good luck and Happy Decorating!

The Style Studio Team

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.