Know the for­mal, in­for­mal rules, then de­sign home to suit your­self

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

DEAR Marc: I will be ren­o­vat­ing and re­design­ing my home this sum­mer. While re­search­ing the rules of de­sign by read­ing through mag­a­zines and watch­ing tele­vised de­sign projects, I find that not ev­ery de­signer fol­lows the same rules of thumb. I find the en­tire re­search and learn­ing process over­whelm­ing and con­fus­ing. Which rules should I fol­low in my de­sign project? — Ju­lia

Dear Ju­lia: To­day’s ap­pli­ca­tion of cur­rent styles and de­sign trends can be chal­leng­ing, as home­own­ers have many sources of in­for­ma­tion avail­able to them. The first les­son in de­sign is that there are two cat­e­gories of de­sign rules: for­mal and in­for­mal.

For­mal de­sign rules serve as the cor­ner­stone of ev­ery de­sign project and should be fol­lowed to cre­ate suc­cess­ful de­signs. They are found in ev­ery de­sign project, whether the de­sign is tele­vised or dis­played in the pages of a glossy mag­a­zine. These rules re­veal traces of colour the­ory, space plan­ning, scale and bal­ance.

The for­mal rules are con­stant in ev­ery de­sign project. Colour the­ory, which com­prises your pri­mary colours (red, yel­low and blue) and your sec­ondary colours (vi­o­let, orange and green) does not change. De­sign­ers use these colours, which are part of the colour wheel, to help de­ter­mine which ones can be used to­gether for a suc­cess­ful colour scheme. If you’re un­sure of the rules of the colour wheel, I sug­gest you seek a colour con­sul­ta­tion from a pro­fes­sional or ex­tract a set colour scheme from an ex­ist­ing de­signer space.

In pro­fes­sion­ally de­signed spa­ces, look at the lay­out, scale and bal­ance of the room. Take a closer look at the pro­por­tion be­tween the fur­ni­ture and other de­sign/ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ments. Is the sofa over­sized? Are the fur­ni­ture pieces block­ing the nat­u­ral traf­fic flow of the room? If so, the space is not func­tional and the fur­ni­ture does not com­ple­ment the de­sign.

De­sign also comes in many shapes, colours and sizes. There­fore, ev­ery space is dif­fer­ent. De­sign­ers have come up with rules of thumb to help home­own­ers with their de­sign process. Al­though most of these rules de­pend on the de­signer’s taste and style, they fall un­der the in­for­mal de­sign rules and are thus cus­tom­ized from one source to the other.

Take a de­signer who loves mul­ti­ple neu­trals. His mantra would be that the pair­ing of mul­ti­ple neu­trals in one space cre­ates peace and seren­ity. But to a bold, eclec­tic de­signer, the look might be mono­tone and bor­ing.

As you can imag­ine, these in­for­mal rules are sub­jec­tive and very much cus­tom­ized to the needs of the de­signer’s style and tar­get client. The key is to find a de­signer who re­flects your style and in­te­grate his rules of thumb in the space, as he will suc­cess­fully per­son­al­ize your room, while keep­ing in mind the for­mal con­stant rules of de­sign.

— Canwest News Ser­vice

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