Throw out the design rules
DEAR Marc: I am horrible at designing my home. Every time I try to design a room in my house, it doesn’t turn out quite right. I then get discouraged till I get the design bug again and give it another try and still fail miserably. What am I missing? I follow all the design rules to a T and still the spaces seem to be lacking something. Help! — Kate
Dear Kate: Have you ever seen an abstract painting that was painted by the rules? It looks like a paint by number. The strokes are predictable and the end result lacks spontaneity and vibrancy. The same can be said for design. If you want to design a mediocre space, follow the rules to a T, but if you want to push the boundaries of design and create a true designer space, learn the rules, then throw the rules out the window. Although I must caution that it’s important you fully understand the rules of design before throwing them out, since only a well-trained eye can pull this off. As you have designed numerous spaces before, this project will be a perfect fit.
There are certain rules in design that don’t change with the trends and must be used in all design projects, whether it be a French villa, a vacation cottage or a personal home. The rules of design that apply to the function and flow of traffic in a room should always be embraced, as there’s no point in a pretty space no one can use.
To determine if the design rule applies to the function of a space or its esthetic elements, ask yourself: Will this rule make the space usable or improve the experience of its occupants? If yes, then the rule applies to the function of the room and should be used in all future projects. If not, then the rule can be altered and modified to fit your personal style.
To find your personal style, look at your wardrobe. Fashion seems to be the obvious expression of one’s personal style. If you like to mix and match certain things and make them work to make a statement, then the same can be done in your designer space by mixing and matching patterns, colours and textiles. The key to successfully integrating different objects in a space is to have everything blend together, yet stand on its own. For instance, this can be easily achieved by using a red lamp in your space, because your accent colour is red, but having the lamp reflect a different era than the sofa. Successful designers use this technique in many spaces. This is what we call a transitional design style. Transitional design uses eclectic elements in a space. The designer uses them so they work together and create a unique look.
As you browse through design magazines, you’ll find every space is different. Nobody wants a cookie-cutter space anymore, so why are we still using cookie-cutter design? Technology today gives us the opportunity to experiment with different design styles, room layouts and looks before we integrate the design in our spaces. Many stores sell computerized design programs you can install on your computer in a few minutes and manipulate your room in numerous ways by changing around the colour scheme, textures and fabrics at the click of a button. I would suggest buying such a program and playing around with different looks. What these programs let you do is truly see what the space will look like, so you’re not disappointed with the end result. There are a number of programs available, and many were designed specifically for general consumer use, making them affordable and easy to learn.
Design today is about pushing the boundaries and creating something truly unique. What many designs lack is spontaneity and a will to experiment.
— Postmedia News