A: No, no, not necessarily. Cater-cornering -- putting things on an angle -- can be the exactly right strategy for dealing with tight fits in furniture. Although you are correct in thinking that interior designers generally prefer right-angle arrangements, cater-cornering works especially well in informal rooms.
Take the cottage parlor we show here, borrowed from designer/author Chippy Irvine's charming book, "Shades of Country." The author notes how the cater-cornering of the wicker sofa echoes the angles of the corner cupboard and proves that "small rooms can be delightful, although when most people decorate they seem anxious to make them appear bigger."
Certainly, the window shutters make the room feel big, an illusion aided by the overall blue and white color scheme. And cater-cornering helps stretch space elsewhere in the house, too, Irvine writes. The bed "sprawls diagonally" across the master bedroom, and the dining room table, set on an angle, can accommodate more family and friends.
Q: What's the big news from the High Point Market and why does it matter?
A: Twice a year, the largest home furnishings trade show in the world, known simply as "High Point," unveils some 11 million sq. ft. filled with the latest ideas for the homes of the world. And the world always comes to look (and buy). Some 80,000 people attend from 106 different countries.
Sheer volume alone would make the Market a trend-setter, so designers, design journalists -- and lately, sociologists tracking lifestyle trends -- make their way to this small Southern town for a preview of how we'll be living, and with what, during the upcoming year or two.
What they saw this October: a major effort to be PC, that is, sustainable or "green," by furniture manufacturers of all stripes. They've gotten the message that home decorators really do care about the environment, and so major players like La-Z-Boy and Sauder Woodworking have been busy reducing their "carbon footprints." (In fact, Sauder won the industry's 2011 Sage Award for environmental excellence; click on SageAward.org.)
But few companies are bragging about it in public. Being green is "not a marketing concept for us...it's smart business," explained Ralph Scozzafava, Chairman/CEO of the $2-billion publicly held Furniture Brands Co. that comprises some of the most stylish and best-known names in the industry (among them, Lane Venture, Maitland-Smith, Hickory Chair, and Thomasville).
For home decorators, the new sustainable message can be as chic as it is comforting, and as clear as your conscience.
Next week, more news about trends in the air at the High Point Market, including a look at the RLH Collection. It's Ralph Lauren's latest offering of European antique reproductions seen at a hush-hush sneak preview that we literally sneaked into.
Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design.