Basic Design Principles that will Make Your Home Pop
Ever visited a home that just doesn’t “work”?
Or maybe your home is that home.
We see design mistakes all the time. We also see homesÂ that seem extra special when it comes to design. Sometimes, it’s hard to define exactly what about a home gives it a special warmth and style. Most of the time, however, when a home stands out from rest, it’s because homeowners have followed these basic design principles:
1. Keep furniture scaled toÂ the environment. Small environments usually require smaller-scaled furniture. On the other hand, delicate silhouettes canÂ get overwhelmed inÂ a room with cathedral ceilings. Keep the scale of each piece you buy in proportion with other pieces already in your home. Measure your space at home before you shop, and bring a tape measure with you to be sure a new furniture piece will fit.
2. Mix and match eras. Homes decorated entirely in one style often feel static andÂ date quickly. A mix of old and new, contemporary and antique, can lend your homeÂ more interest than if decorated entirely in one style.
3. Â Shop a variety of sources. Similar to the advice above, you can personalize your space by casting your net far and wide when it comes to making furniture purchases. If everything you own comes from West Elm, your place will look… well,Â like a West Elm catalog.
4. Look for original art and hang it at eye level. There is no substitute for original art. It can catapult a home from the mundane to the magical. The ideal height for hanging art is at eye level, or about five to five and a half feet from the floor. This applies even when you are hanging in a room with cathedral ceilings. This rule can be broken, of course, for whimsical salon-style art installations.Â For maximum impact, goÂ for large paintings. When you use small pieces, group them together for a cohesive visual presentation.
5. Don’t rush to buy everything all at once. Your home will take on an eclectic collector’s feel if you allow it to evolve over time. Avoid the temptation to match everything and stay away from â€œsetsâ€ like matching sofas, love seats and recliners. Matched sets appear generic and boring.
6. Less is more. Many tiny collectibles scattered about a room look like clutter. Collect fewer and larger items for more impact.Â When possible, group them together into pleasing design vignettes. The same applies to houseplants and furniture. Less is usually better.
8.Â Make good lighting a priority. It’s the difference between cozy corner lighting from a floor lamp and harsh overhead light which can feel stark and impoverished. A well-lit room includes at least three forms of light — general overhead lighting that can be brightened or dimmed, task lighting for specific activities like reading,Â and accent lighting which can set a cozy, intimate mood.
9. Buy the appropriately-sized area rug. Rugs should usually be sized so that all furniture can sit on it, or so all furniture can be grouped around it.
10. Don’t push furniture against the wall. It will create a bowling alley effect. Instead, think in terms of circular furniture arrangements that bring chairs and couches away from the wall to promote conversation.
11. Use color. Many people buy beige couches because they’re afraid of getting stuck with a color for many years.Â Problem is, they also choose beige walls and carpets. Putting a bold color on a couch can add instant drama to a room. But if you’re afraid to co this far opt for a white or cream couch (always chic) and use color in areas that can be changed more easily —walls, pillows, throw rugs, art and accent chairs.
12. Approach decorating your home as you approach your wardrobe. Sure, it’s nice to have a few trendy scarves and accessories, but you can’t live without your basics — such as your turtlenecks and trench coats. Rely on classic shapes and designs for important items using, scale, functionality, comfort and your personal taste as a guide.Â In the end, remember that although there are some basic rules in home design, rules are meant to be broken, and sometimes the best, most innovative move you canÂ make Â in your home is also the most surprising.