Aunt Gladysí generosity is bountiful. You have inherited a lovely
(in her opinion) armoire and she canít wait to see it in your home.
What can you do with that "white
elephant" and still have some sense of style in your home?
Three Milwaukee area interior designers
say there are ways to work with the predicament that will make both
you and Aunt Gladys happy.
Worked into the room, says Camilla
Avery of Camillaís Interior Design, Milwaukee, it can become
"Iíve had people come to me with
items that they say ĎI just really donít like this,í but we find
a home for it and work with it in the design," she says.
If itís an especially large piece
that is going to command attention regardless of your intent, Sarah
Steltenpohl of Swan Interiors, Wauwatosa, suggests embracing it
"A lot of times when we have a
white elephant we want to act as if itís not there. But, if itís
going to be the focal point, if you give it a lot of power, it will
have power," she explains. And, thus, it wonít feel like it
But, if you prefer to minimize the
piece, there are successful ways to do that, too.
"If itís not going to go away,
you can make it lesser in power," Steltenpohl suggests. "You
can draw attention away from it, keeping the scale of the piece in
Avery recommends looking at the
function of the piece. For example, if itís a piano, create focus to
draw the eye to the person playing it rather than the object itself.
Avery says even the shape of the room
can become the white elephant for the decorator. "When people
design a home, they think of things like windows and fireplaces, but
forget about something like the entertainment center. That item then
might become the albatross thatís difficult to work with."
But, Steltenpohl says, thereís always
the hope that the white elephant item will reveal itself as such when
the room is decorated. "Usually it becomes obvious that the piece
doesnít work and it will eventually be moved to a lesser area of the
home," she says. Sometimes Aunt Gladys might be the one to
suggest moving it.
But, the decorators say, know that
embracing or diminishing the power of the item is your choice.
And that unique piece can be something
that really does make your room special.