How to Give Your Home Rhythm: Tips for the Burgeoning Interior Decorator
Anyone can be an interior designer and those who have convinced themselves they have no talent, can hire one from the yellow pages. I think the most important part of interior design - even for fledgling designers - is having the confidence in the rhythm and, overall, theme of the space you are creating. You can always tell when someone has decorated for another reason other than pleasing themselves, whether it be to impress friends, family or as an attempt to completely overhaul your personal style; which, for the record, should never be done in one fell swoop but should be a gradual shift.
I honestly believe someone cannot - actually should not - change their design style over night, it comes across as forced. B showed me some photos of her parents-friends renovated and newly decorated home - some before and after shots - and as she flipped through them, she commented on how the home had lost it's warmth; it was a completely offhanded comment and said without judgment. She later elaborated on her comment over wine, she glanced back over the photos and sighed, "even the chachkies look forced, it just doesn't make sense that they would change everything - they went from relatable and friendly to untouchable and cold".
I went through the photos again and it was true, the house didn't look as good as it did before; the lines were cleaner, the paint crisper but the personal touches had been removed. Everything, right down to the pillows, had a purpose in the room. There was nothing eye-catching or unique - the rooms were simply beautiful but the totality of the design plan was broken and choppy.
sticking to a theme: finding your rhythm
Think about your favourite song, what lyrics can you remember? The chorus was probably the first thing that started playing in your head, its usually the only thing I can remember when I'm singing in the shower. The chorus acts as the glue between the verses, holding them together, and usually reiterates the message of the song - the same can be said about decorating. The worst thing you can do as a decorator is to think solely on a room-by-room basis, to a certain extent the rooms will be different (having different functions) but there should be an overall running theme; a rhythm to your home.
This rhythm - the theme - will probably be the thing most people remember about your home, whether it be the use of the same colour, pattern or texture in an area of every room or similar pieces of furniture - pieces made from salvaged barn wood - would be examples of this. These small features create an even flow throughout your house, it allows for proper appreciation of the time and energy you've spent redecorating. I want you to design for yourselves but I'd also like you to receive some praise for the work that you've done; let's face it - it's no fun when no one comments.
It can be as specific as a running beach theme throughout, you can use cool shades throughout your home which compliment each other nicely; soft blues and greens, crisp white drapes and, I dunno, you could put incorporate a lighthouse in every room.
how to incorporate without looking forced
The key with incorporating new pieces to go with your redesign is to just that; incorporate them into your already existing space. I would suggest making a list of the items in the room you rarely use, items you can't remember the reason for keeping and items you hate - remove them. This is the reason you're redesigning, and unless you hate everything you own, you should have some things left in the room. Congratulations, these items have now become your base for the room and things should be incorporated around them. The key is not to replace everything from your previous design but instead, refresh the space with a facelift.
You cross into 'forced' territory when you completely and unnecessarily purge everything from the room or try to tie the rooms together too much. For example, re-covering one of the chairs in your living room to match the seats of your dining room chairs is a simple, understated way, of connecting the two rooms.
The best part of incorporation is that it can be as understated as you want, using a pop of the same colour throughout your entire house. This is a really cheap and cost-effective way of creating symmetry throughout your house; a red coffee maker in your kitchen, some red frames in your dining room and some red pillows in your living room. These small pops of colour is an excellent example of incorporation, only when you feel more adept at design should you begin experimenting with actual pieces, such as, lighthouses, teddy bears and antique cars.
No matter what you do to your home, promise me you'll allow for a theme and not allow yourself to paint your imagination into a corner; like any good song, a house needs rhythm, as well.
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