With risk comes re­ward


All of us can re­mem­ber a time when we ven­tured beyond our com­fort zone and found some­thing both un­ex­pected and won­der­ful. In the world of de­sign, such ex­plo­rations are part of what makes it all so fun, and suc­cess­ful. And re­gard­less of whether you’re the sort of per­son who likes to surf the avant-garde wave or pre­fer your world of de­ci­sions a lit­tle more con­ser­va­tively ap­proached, a de­signer is a great re­source for reap­ing the ben­e­fits of ad­ven­tur­ing into the un­known.

The big­gest ben­e­fit is that a good de­signer al­lows for greater risks. It’s like your very own safety net. Good de­sign­ers en­cour­age you to push your de­faults, your lim­its, while steer­ing you away from de­ci­sions you might re­ally re­gret or that­wouldn’twork. Just be­cause you have lived with linen white walls in ev­ery house you have owned doesn’t mean it has to hap­pen this time around.

A pro­fes­sional de­signer will al­most al­ways en­cour­age you to ex­plore some­thing that you may never have con­sid­ered but might dis­cover is a per­fect way to weave your story into your space. De­sign­ers know from ex­pe­ri­ence that the un­known and the over­looked are of­ten where the sweet spot is hid­ing.

One area where de­sign­ers of­ten have to spread that safety net is in se­lect­ing in­te­rior el­e­ments. Ev­ery­thing se­lected for an in­te­rior need not be matchy­matchy, and in fact the­men­tion of a “set” of fur­ni­ture makes al­most any in­te­rior de­signer cringe. And for good rea­son: it’s im­por­tant to cre­ate some ten­sion through dis­junc­tion within an in­te­rior.

Who says the heir­loom, an­tique grand­fa­ther clock can’t sit next to the orig­i­nal Licht­en­stein paint­ing? Maybe it should. You want to cre­ate some mys­tery, some un­avoid­able ques­tions in an in­te­rior, both to keep things in­ter­est­ing and to en­hance their en­joy­ment. Why was that paint­ing hung off­set over the chair? Why is the stone coun­ter­top on the kitchen cen­ter is­land dif­fer­ent from the sur­round­ing ones? Some­times the rea­son for these choices is ev­i­dent if you stop and think about it, while other times it might re­quire a lit­tle sleuthing. With­out a play­ful ten­sion, an in­te­rior can feel stag­nant. A red leop­ard fab­ric on a pair of French fau­teuil chairs may not be your nat­u­ral in­cli­na­tion but may be just the right amount of un­ex­pected to bring de­light— and a big smile— ev­ery time you see them.

Pro­fes­sional de­sign­ers are con­stantly on the lookout for the new and un­usual. They have to-the-trade li­braries at their fin­ger­tips, which means they can find items not preva­lent, and there­fore not overused, in the mar­ket­place. In­te­rior de­sign­ers thumb through stacks of trade pe­ri­od­i­cals ev­ery month to dis­cover new­sources; seek out inspiration through travel; visit prod­uct show­rooms; and reg­u­larly meet with prod­uct representatives in the pur­suit of new fur­nish­ings, fix­tures, and fin­ishes. All of this so that they can cre­ate unique com­bi­na­tions and solutions that might not have ever oc­curred to an­other per­son.

To cre­ate some­thing great and unique in­volves tak­ing chances. Lit­tle de­tails that seem odd but to­gether tell a story— that’s what it’s all about. Al­low your­self to be nudged to­ward some­thing you’re not sure about, but that could be bet­ter than you ever imag­ined. You will never know if you don’t try, and there’s al­ways that safety net.

Heather Van Luch­ene ASID and Steffany Hollingsworth ASID are part­ners in HVL Interiors, LLC, an in­te­rior-de­sign firm of­fer­ing pro­fes­sional res­i­den­tial and hospi­tal­ity de­sign ser­vices. Both are New Mex­ico-li­censed in­te­rior de­sign­ers. They can be reached at (505) 983-3601 or info@ hvlin­te­ri­ors.com.

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