What would you do if you were hired to redesign your own home? What would you do if you had to take everything into account and forget about expenses? And, what’s more, what would you do if you were given full permission to do anything you like?
This may seem like a tall order, an almost impossible assignment if you’re accustomed to making rookie decorating mistakes. So, the first place to start is by learning to think like an interior designer.
Imagine yourself born with a great eye for design; also imagine yourself as someone lucky enough to go to school to polish up your skills. Based on your natural gifts and your formal training, how would you think about redesigning your home?
Here are five rules of thumb or design principles to use to beautify your home to make it look like a pro did it:
- Use Customized High-end Furniture.
When you choose quality furniture, everything else falls into place. If you used Drexel Heritage furniture, for example, you would make your furniture literally your own because every product is custom made. Remeber: everything can be personalized—upholstery, finishes, hardware. Everything. All the details. In effect, your stylistic options would be almost infinite.
- Prefer Odd Numbers.
The rule of thirds is big in photography. Designers also use this as a foundational principle.
For instance, three vases on a table or three paintings on a wall would create a wonderful sense of harmony and stir visual interest. Even Tchotchke like ceramic frogs or cow figurines on a mantlepiece begins to look good when grouped in odd numbers.
It doesn’t have to be three. It could be five. The main thing is that the number should be odd. Even pairings are less noticeable, failing to make an impression.
Incidentally, the objects don’t have to be similar. Variations in size, shape, color, or texture are fine.
- Discover a Room’s Focal Point.
When you walk into a room, what do you see? The first thing that catches your eye is the focal point. Everything around it serves to enhance it.
A large window with a view of open fields or the ocean is a focal point. An antiquated fireplace where you could imagine Sherlock Holmes puffing on a pipe as he contemplated a baffling case would be a focal point.
What do you do if a room doesn’t have a natural focal point?
Paint a living room wall a contrasting color. Accessorize a bland, off-white home office wall with artwork.
Place an impressive bookshelf in the den–where you love to curl up on the couch with a good book–into the room’s focal point.
Artwork, furniture, mirrors—all can be repurposed into focal points.
After you’ve discovered a focal point, work the area around it. Match colors, textures, shapes.
For instance, if the focal point in your living room is a red-bricked fireplace, paint the walls white. Then add white candles and vases with orchids to complete the scene. Everything should complement the fireplace.
- Use a Color Wheel.
Let’s suppose you’re in the bedroom. It’s nice, but not remarkable. Since there isn’t much space, you don’t want to add more furniture or crowd the wall with more family pictures.
What should you do?
Use color. The color of your drapes, your carpet, your bedspread should all harmonize.
To figure out what colors play well together, use a color wheel.
A color wheel, also called a color circle, will give you a visual idea of colors arranged by their chromatic relationships. Start by positioning the primary hues to be equidistant from each other, then bridge the gap between your primary colors with secondary and tertiary hues.
- Understand the Nuances of Lighting.
Professional designers love to layer lighting to create an enchanting effect when the lights are on. To replicate this sorcery, use ambient, task, and accent lighting.
Ambient lighting provides general, or overhead lighting, to illuminate a room in an even way. Task lighting allows you to do something specific, like read a book or light up space under a kitchen cabinet. And accent lighting highlights something, say, a painting in the hallway.
By working with these types of lighting, you can give each room its own charm. Lighting adds dimension to an object or a room.
Work Your Own Magic
The nice thing about these five general principles is that you can do anything with them. You can take anything and everything into account. You can rework your lights and fans, transform your floor coverings and make everything in between refreshingly different, possibly amazing.