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Updated on January 17, 2011


Everyone seems to want the same "feeling" for their home...and the criteria is usually "I want my home to be comfortable most of all but beautiful". No matter who you ask; whether you're designing a small condo or a large palatial estate, the answer to one of my questions I ask regarding what the client is striving for in their desired home surroundings , when we have our first meeting, is usually always the same...comfort first then beauty. Now comes the challenge. How do you make a space comfortable without jeopardizing the "beautiful" because usually comfort to most people isn't necessarily "beautiful" but more casual, laid back and relaxed. After determining the color scheme that best fits the family lifestyle, then follows the work schedule, space planning, furniture requirements, fabrics, accessories, artwork and all the small finishing touches to "create" the perfect balance of comfort and beauty.

Because decorating your home should be a joint endeavour and culminate with the ultimate dream design you have in your mind; the designer helping you has to be a little bit of a psychologist and a lot of a magician sometimes. By that I mean, that usually the space is defined by perimeters but you literally have to wave your magic wand (in this case technical skills, knowledge and creativity) to create the ultimate environment which both satisfies the client's needs and requirements while still being within the budget amount. Seriously though, you determine the best plan to accomplish the ultimate desired "look". Now how to go about this: After taking a good hard look at the area your dealing with and quickly in your mind determining the style and paint color range you feel would be best; the next step would be to do a proper layout plan for each area you are going to tackle; just to make sure you meet the welcoming, comfort aspect of the overall design, while not crowding in too many pieces of furniture. Of course, a professional has already determined the color palette based upon the preferences of the client (in some cases this is not really known by the client) and in which case you make suggestions of combinations. I definitely like and encourage input from my clients as far as color range preferences. Lets tackle one of the largest areas first...the Great Room. For those of you who aren't familiar with this terminology; the Great Room is the 'new' combination of Living Room, Dining Area, Family Room. It encompasses the complete ideology of being the centre and hub if you like of all family activity, while still having to maintain the status of the "elegant" company entertaining area of the home...hence it has to be "Great".

Just as a master artist goes about creating an original...we'll do the same. First the background, the paint color and painting. In this case because through pre-determination we are using a beautiful putty shade on the walls, which compliments our medium stained wood floor; and because the Great Room is open to all other main areas of the house this same paint color will be carried throughout all visible areas making it "appear" larger.

Next the area carpet is chosen for this "active" space. Because we don't want it to appear too formal the area carpet is a beautiful tone on tone of taupe, cream (to pick up the wall putty color) and touches of chocolate brown. This draws in the wall color while appearing a little more weighted for the floor. Next the furniture layout determines we require a sectional, and four chairs. The Sectional we'll do in the taupe shade drawn from the carpet and the four chairs (2 different styles we're going to do in chocolate brown to add both visual weight and balance to our color scheme. Next the sectional will have cushions of chocolate brown, putty color and we need a color that will "lift" the whole look we're creating so we'll choose aqua because that is one of the preferred color combinations that was presented to the clients. Next color balance throughout the living space is consisting of paintings (pre-determined subject matter chosen by the clients) with shades of cream, chocolate, taupe and touches of aqua. In some areas just a plain vase of aqua is used, in others chocolate brown and taupe. Imagine there is a string pulling everything together. We have to "balance the room" Our accent color "Aqua" has to be distributed around the room so it anchors and balances the color scheme. You can't just put in a couple to accessories in Aqua and feel this will suffice...because it won't. It looks more like a postage stamp on a map.

The whole idea of creating a wonderful comfortable living space is firstly, the furniture style should be comfortable to sit on and a style that isn't too formal but is inviting and a fabric that is perhaps for the sectional soft (like chenille); 2 chairs in chocolate brown ultra suede; and 2 comfortable chairs with a linen type fabric in chocolate brown tone on tone fabric. The overall feeling after balancing your room should be one that says "wow" I could sit here for hours and just admire and enjoy my surroundings. Of course, the aqua is dispersed as mentioned above throughout the room to add not only color but vibrancy to the room.

I've only given you a glimpse into how you can achieve a comfortable, beautiful, room (and it applies whether your room in small or spacious). The main thing is - that your room is done in a color scheme "YOU" enjoy and can live with for a long time and that the shades and fabrics chosen aren't something that next year you'll hate. The fabrics should be carefully chosen to not only be beautiful, but practical for wearability also, so they will stand the test of time. The accent color (in this case aqua) can change...because this color is of the least value amount in your overall color scheme and can be easily replaced.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for another "design challenge".


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