Throw out the de­sign rules

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Marc Atiyolil

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

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