DECORATING by the stars

The signs are good for a more creative approach to interior design.

January 13, 2002|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Sun Staff

When the Moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planets and your choice of sofas will more accurately reflect your personality.

Mmmm. Doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it? Still, interior design inspired by astrology may be the next big thing now that feng shui has peaked.

In fact, Greg Polkosnik, author of Cosmically Chic: Discovering Your Fashion Style Through Astrology (Andrews McMeel, 2001), feels that as alternative interior design methods go, it's a much better way to arrange your furniture.

"Feng shui rooms are too sterile," he says. "It thwarts artistic expression. Your space should reflect your personality" -- which is, of course, revealed by your sun sign. In other words, whether you're a Pisces or a Taurus.

Most of us can use some help when it comes to redecorating a problem room or buying a major piece of furniture, one that we'll be stuck with for the next decade. If we aren't willing or able to invest in the services of an interior designer, maybe we should turn to the stars for advice.

Shelley von Strunckel, who writes a column called "Sign Design" for House & Garden magazine, calls astrology "guidelines for self-awareness."

The idea is that what the stars reveal about your personality may not only keep you from making design mistakes, but also steer you toward furnishings that will please you -- even if you didn't know you were going to love art deco style or a Louis XVI chair.

That may be more important than ever because 2002, according to von Strunckel, is a pivotal year. The planets haven't been lined up like this in more than 300 years, and back then we weren't worrying about whether the Scan bookcase would go with our grandmother's camelback sofa.

Up till now, she says, people have been swept by "looks." "This [new] period requires each person to examine his own mind. People are looking at their environments and saying, 'I don't care what's in.' An individual idiom will emerge."

The domination of black and white in design, in case you're interested, has coincided with Pluto moving slowly through Scorpio, which adores black. But that's all ended. Influenced by the stars, you're going to want to put your own imprint on your rooms now, without following trends slavishly.

You may still want help from a professional, however. So what do local interior designers think of using astrology to decorate their clients' homes?

"I would think that's a little wacky," says Bill McGee of Alexander Baer Associates, a Pisces.

"I think it's kind of far-fetched," says Susan Featherstone of Morgan Truesdell Interiors, a Leo.

"I don't think anyone does it overtly," says Susan Sunderland of Sunderland Interiors, another Leo.

In her own personal spaces, Sunderland likes to be surrounded by beautiful objects. She prefers dramatic looks, bold colors and showy rooms.

"I need something in animal print around for me to be happy," she adds. "Even just a little suggestion of it."

Definitely a Leo, our astrologers would say. Extravagant is the word Polkosnik uses for Leos. "A huge painting would define a Leo room."

"For Leo, life is theater, their home a stage for entertaining," says von Strunckel. Leo's colors are reds, golds and oranges.

That's bad news for designer Featherstone, who says for her own home she's most comfortable with clean-lined contemporary and transitional furnishings in black, silver, taupe and ivory.

"I'm not big on accessories," she adds.

McGee's home, he would be surprised to find, reflects his sun sign fairly well. Von Strunckel defines a Pisces living space as "a retreat from a sometimes bruising world, so rooms are soft, warm and reassuring."

Polkosnik adds, "Pisces style is about mixing rather than matching.| cm SUPDLR| There are no rules to the Pisces aesthetic."

McGee describes his home as "having a sense of warmth and coziness; that's the kind of look I prefer for myself."

He enjoys surrounding himself with his favorite things, "a core group of an eclectic mix of things."

So far so good, but he adds that he's never lived with blue, the classic watery Pisces color.

In case you're wondering how some things can be so dead on and others completely wrong, a professional astrologer would point out that we're only scratching the surface of a complex subject here. For instance, says Polkosnik, if you consult a professional, you might find out that you have a weakly placed sun in your star chart, a flaw that would distort some of your sun sign traits. (Which might be why Featherstone doesn't decorate her living room with exotic hides.) Or if Venus is badly placed in your chart, you have bad taste, says Polkosnik. "Then you'd better hire an interior designer."


Here are some creative guidelines from astrologers Shelley von Strunckel and Greg Polkosnik based on sun signs. If sometimes they sound a little mystical or obscure, or their answers don't fit rigidly into the category -- well, we aren't talking about statistical analysis here.

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