Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Design Tips You Can Handle

I have been wanting to create a post that can help my friends and family make the most of their home with what they already have. So I came up with a list of design tips that I generally keep in mind when I am decorating. There are certainly exceptions to the rules, but these can be used as "rules of thumb", if you will. Some of the images are from my own home, and some are from rooms I have never been in before, in which case I will cite the website for you. But the main idea here is to share some principles and elements of design with you, not actual work I have done.

So, let's get started!

Warm vs. Cool

For starters, decide whether a warm color palette or a cool color palette is more your style. Your home will have a nice flow to it if you stick with one or the other with coordinating neutrals.

Even neutrals such as greys or tans have warm or cool undertones. Here is an image of greys that show the difference between warm greys and cool greys.
Warm                                                             Cool

Paint Color Combinations

Once you have decided on the overall feel you want in your home, it's time to choose a paint color scheme to fit. I have taken some photos of my most commonly specified paint color combinations. You can see below how the color groupings fit either a warm or a cool feel.
Warm with bold pops of color


Warm Neutrals

Warm with soothing amber pop of color

Cool palette

Cluster Objects in Odds

What I mean by this is to accessorize your mantles, shelves and bookcases using small clusters of odd numbers. This is a rule that has many many exceptions, but is a good general rule of thumb. A common exception would be when a pair of objects are sold together. In this case you would find a way to use them symmetrically rather than in a cluster. I will explain more about that below.
As you can see in the image above, the white accents are clustered in threes. It feels balanced and gives an ambiance of charm.

The images above are from my own home. Some clusters are in threes and some are in fives. When you cluster in even numbers, it just doesn't feel right. It's difficult to explain....

Symmetry vs. Asymmetry

This is another topic that is simply a matter of preference. When objects are sold in pairs, it is best to decorate with them using symmetry. Symmetry simply means objects are placed in such a way that they seem to be mirror images or have exceptional balance. Here is a perfect example of symmetry from Elle magazine.
Some people (who, by nature are more organized and linear-sequential in personality) prefer symmetry. Some people (who, by nature are maybe not so structured) prefer asymmetry in design. Others, like myself, who are a mix of both personalities, prefer a mix of both symmetry and asymmetry in the home. Here is an example of asymmetry.

And for those who like a mix of both, like myself, here is an example of that.

Don't Always "Match"

Lastly for today, don't make the common furniture-buying mistake of buying the whole room as a set. Stores that sell whole ROOMS are a no-no in my opinion. A room looks more cozy and eclectic when the furniture does NOT match. You did read that right. Stop always matching everything! Even fabrics don't have to match. Coordinate...don't match.

The image above is a perfect example that it is ok to mix styles of furniture together. This room has such a nice eclectic feeling. It really makes the visitor to the space feel as though the designer spent years collecting well-loved objects in order to create their dream space.
Above is yet another example showing how you can mix different styles very well. This room mixes contemporary and traditional furniture, giving a nice feeling of modern luxury with pieces of historical value as well.

Remember, I did not create all of the spaces above. The images are cited in the captions. The idea behind this post is simply to educate you on some design basics. If you have questions, just ask me!

I hope you create lovely spaces in your home, and that if you are unable to do so...you call upon me to help. I absolutely LOVE design, and it really makes me happy to help create lovely spaces for you.



  1. ok - I struggle with too much symmetry and matching... girl, someday I need to hire you to help me with my house :-) great tips! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Great Job!!!
    Mimi x/o