Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The 10% Theory of Design

I’ve seen it way too many times: you finally get to redesigning a room and putting in all the hard work to get it done 90% of the way, yet stop short of the finishing touches that can make a good room great. Believe it or not, all of the hard design and construction work can be severely diminished without these last few steps.

In fact, I see this novice mistake all too often. Someone purchases an already assembled room from a retail store and think their room will end up exactly like the magazine! But that’s like wearing a ball gown with no jewelry, something small, yet critical, is missing.

It’s completely disheartening to see this from a designer’s standpoint, when a few quick rules of thumb, when properly applied, can make all the difference:


Having fabrics and accessories that are plain weaves make your rooms look flat and boring. An easy way to give your room a pop is with varied textures and patterns. With all the amazing fabrics out there - crewel, mohair, shag, metallic threads, you name it - it’s a shame to buy a plain woven pillow that gets lost on a sofa.

Rule 2: Mix and Match Different Styles and colors

Eclectic rooms consist of a variety of different timepieces and styles to give the room a “drop kick” of something visually stimulating. One of the biggest mistakes is picking furniture all of the same stain and style. No one wants their home to look like an Oak furniture store. If you have Contemporary taste, try adding a Tahitian red chest with your dark furniture and glass tables. If you are more traditional, add a large distressed coffee table and vintage accessories. Don’t worry about styles matching; the variety is what makes the room interesting!!

Rule 3: Collections as Focal Pieces

Most rooms have a few natural focal points, usually a decorative item(s) or an architectural design. Designing one or more of these correctly can make the feel of the room. A very simple and creative way to make a focal point (a good one that is) are putting collections of items together. This can be done even on a low budget. All too often people buy knick knacks and just place them on shelves, making the focus look tired and jumbled. Instead, consider putting a more coherent collection of items together, such as antique picture frames on the wall, or an ensemble of 8 to 12 different height glass candlestick holders on a dining room table.

Boiling it down: When you’re decorating a space, paying attention to the last few details ensures stunning results.

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