Living in Art: Your Home as a 3-Dimensional Painting

Do you have a favorite painting? Whether an abstract, a landscape or a painting of an interior you can feel the balance of color and texture, notice the way the lines direct your eyes in and around the scene, enjoy a surprise when that little pop of red catches your attention. You like what the painting is showing you, and how it makes you feel.

You can recreate the feeling of a painting you love, for your home. After a crazy day of work, you can come home, and literally walk into your own 3-dimensional painting and feel instantly calmed and anchored. Because your painting, your home, reflects your likes and dislikes, your personality and most importantly, your story.

Alison Haley Paul
Alison Haley Paul

Stacey Lapuk, ASID

This painting will tell visitors a bit about you, as it’s truly an extension of who you really are – a reflection of your authentic self. This is your sanctuary, your healing place. Your home is where you create, dream, rest and entertain. And everything – from the way the furniture is arranged, to the colors you’ve used, the accessories you have around and the comfort of your sofa – all tell your story.

Paintings have 3 primary elements – The Subject Matter, The Composition and The Paint Colors and Textures. Here is how these elements translate to your home:

Alexandre Malheiro

The Subject Matter

To create your story, your painting, you first need to know what you want to say. These are:

  1. Your personality, and what you wish for. Are you an indoors or outdoors person? An extrovert or introvert? Do you think in broad strokes or enjoy the minutia? (For more on personality typing, check out Myers-Briggs or Kolbe systems)
  2. What your needs and functional requirements are. Are you single and entertain (do you have enough seating)? Are there children or pets (space for homework, science experiments)? Do you have family nights? Do you have hobbies for which you need storage space? Even if you’re a single guy, you’ll want to be sure you have room in your closet for a floor length dress!
  3. What is your architecture like? You’ll want to make sure whatever you do on your interiors – from permanent elements like plumbing fixtures, lighting, stone or wood, staircases, fireplaces or molding details – to furnishings and fabrics, that there’s a seamless integration between the design of the house, and the interior of your home.
  4. What is your style? What are your likes and dislikes? Are you a bit country, a modernist, soft contemporary or a traditionalist? Do you like an organic flavor or a bit rustic? Ideally, you’re a combination of more than one specific “style” so you won’t be caught in a “trend” and feel a need to do it all over again in just a few years. Classic style – a combination that works uniquely well for who you are – will last decades. That doesn’t mean you can’t have pops of “what’s in style now”. As long as you love what you choose to surround yourself with, you’ll be golden.

The Compostition


  1. What types of seating arrangements do you want? Will there be multiple groups, or one large sectional defining a space? How will you get into, and move around a seating area?
  2. What is your focal point – a view, fireplace or television?
  3. How do you typically entertain and is there enough flexible seating to accommodate everyone?
  4. Where is the bar, game table, and AV equipment?
  5. Where will homework, or a hobby take place?
  6. Where do you put your keys? Your mail?


  1. What will your finishes be (hardware – shiny or matte)?
  2. Will your walls be paint, a wall covering from grasscloth to leather, or plaster?
  3. What color and sheen level? How many colors or tones? How saturated is your color going to be?
  4. Will you have stone, tile, wood or other material for your floors, counters and backsplashes?
  5. What kind of fabrics do you like? Prints or solids? Heavy-duty or beautiful silks and linens? Textured or smooth?
  6. What is your flooring? Rich, dark wood or bright stone? A beautiful hand-knotted area rug – colorful, or perhaps simple and monochromatic?


  1. How reflective are your materials? Metal, glass and smooth fabrics will reflect light much differently than textures and rough surfaces.
  2. From what direction is your natural lighting coming? South and east light can handle just about anything; beware of warm west and cool north light.
  3. Will you need electrical outlets in the floor, hidden under a sofa to accommodate side table lamps? Or under a reading chair for a floor lamp plug?
  4. Check your lighting layers. You’ll have general lighting (so you won’t trip) in the form of recessed lights, chandeliers, pendants or torchieres (uplights), task lighting in the form of table and floor lamps, and accent lighting which can highlight artwork, accessories, or even the texture of a table.
  5. How will you want to control your lighting? What would you like to on and off separately, or together? For example you may want your chandelier to be switched separately from your recessed lights. Dimmers on everything is always a good rule.
  6. LED’s are getting much warmer as technology catches up, but they are still cooler than the incandescent lights we’re used to. Be sure the brightness levels are consistent or your space will feel jumbled and very uncomfortable. The lower the LED number, the warmer the light and the more soothing the feeling.

The Paint Colours and Textures

We’ve prepared the canvas, and painted the broad brush-strokes. Now we paint the pieces. Paying attention to shape, proportion, scale, and adjacency (what is next to what in terms of groupings, shapes and colors), we now consider:

  1. Seating. Sofas sectionals, club chairs, occasional chairs, lounge chairs, ottomans, chaise lounges and benches.
  2. Tables. Coffee tables, dining tables, side tables, center tables, drink tables, console tables, sofa tables, entry tables, and accent tables.
  3. Cabinets. Media cabinets, bookcases, buffets, television cabinets, storage cabinets, built-in cabinets, secretaries and display cabinets.
  4. Window treatments. Shades, drapery, side panels, sheers, valances, hardware (rods, brackets, finials, tie backs and the like), motorization, and soffits to accommodate.
  5. Area rugs.
  6. A/V equipment for television, theater, sound system, and home security. Can also control lighting, window treatments and temperature.
  7. Artwork. Paintings, prints, sculpture, photography, water sculpture, fabric/textile art and multimedia artworks.
  8. Pillows. Accents for seating, aesthetic and functional.
  9. Accessories. Your stories. Personal photographs, collectibles from travels, bowls, candle holders, vases, table-top sculptures and the like.

Walking into your home should be like walking into your dream. Surrounded by the things you love, allowing you to move through your space freely, and supporting your need for comfort, function and beauty. Your painting is appropriate to the way you live, integritous to your architecture and a reflection of who you are. Walking through your front door should tell you “I’m home”, with a sigh of happiness and contentment.

Stacey Lapuk, ASID

Stacey Lapuk, ASID is celebrating her 30th year with her firm. Named “One of America’s Ten Designers To Watch” by Design Times Magazine, one of the “Top 100 Interior Designer in North America” by Blink Art Resources, and the winner of multiple national design awards.  Her goal is simple: To co-create with her clients the home of their dreams with responsive and comprehensive solutions, and timeless, beautiful results.

Her full service firm attracts clients desiring the finest workmanship, materials and custom design. Facets of work include partnering with architects on new construction, remodels, kitchen design and bath design, color consultation, custom furniture, flooring, area carpets, wall and window treatments, lighting design, art procurement and antique acquisition. Service areas include but are not limited to Marin County, San Francisco, Napa, Sonoma, Ross, Kentfield, Belvedere, Tiburon, San Rafael, and Pacific Heights.