If you’re the kind of home decorator who’s happy to let your space evolve with each new purchase then you’ve no doubt experienced the Domino Effect. The phenomenon inevitably kicks-in each time you introduce something new to your space only to discover that the new addition makes something else look “off” or suggests a different design direction. Sometimes it means rearranging the furniture, sometimes a more radical fix like changing the paint colour. Once unleashed, the Domino Effect can bulldoze a room like a cartoon Tasmanian Devil. Witness exhibit A, above . . .
Mike and I were blindsided by a decorating Domino when we finally faced up to the fact that our library of design books needed a home of its own. The stack in my contributor pic had grown to the point where it probably would have reached the ceiling if I’d been ambitious enough to stack them again.
Our seemingly innocent solution was to spring for a couple of high quality chrome and brass shelves that we found on Craigslist for $100 each. To accommodate the shelves we removed a pair of gumwood French doors (above), reasoning that we’d lose a foot of real estate and gain a ton of display and storage space.
We neglected to factor in the additional visual noise, however. The adjacent wall, left, was already pretty busy, as you can see. Once the new shelves went up, that side of the room became a decorating battlefield — either the shelves had to go or the competing vignette had to change.
In the end, the need for storage won out. We pulled down the brackets and silk paintings and switched out the high contrast Chinese Chippendale chairs for a quieter pair that we had in the basement. We also sprang for a single piece of art that was calmer, quieter (thank you, Waddington’s!).
We still don’t LOVE the solution, below. It’s as if a truce was declared without the war having been won. We’re satisfied for now and the books have been accommodated but I just know that another Domino is waiting in the wings and when it eventually falls, our living room is headed for another transformation.
Has the Domino Effect wreaked havoc with your decorating?