Moving into a new home or condo can sometimes be a daunting task, especially when deciding how to put each room together. In a new space, there is no previous floorplan to draw upon and although some may love the blank canvas, that is not always the case.
Clients often ask, “How do you know what to do to make a room work?” I wish I could say it’s all natural talent, intuition and great taste but it’s a little more than that. I’ve practiced design for more than 20 years and in that time I’ve learned a thing or two and I’m always happy to share what I know.
Here are my top five secrets for creating well-designed rooms.
1. Scale: The size of your furnishings matter
Purchase sofas and chairs that not only properly fit you and your family’s needs but also fit the room. If your space has two-storey high ceilings it doesn’t mean that furniture should be taller than usual, large or over-powering. The actual floor space remains the same regardless of the ceiling height.
Choose pieces that are comfortable and work proportionally with the floor area you have. Oversized or overstuffed furniture won’t look right in a small room, even if it is the main living space.
2. Details: Play up the positives
Although you may have a small room, highlight the strongest feature in it. For instance, if your dining room isn’t too large but it has ceiling detail, highlight it by adding a color contrast and a dramatic chandelier. The eye will be pulled to these features rather than the size of the room.
For another example, if the strongest feature in your new home is high ceilings, emphasize this with drapery featuring dramatic vertical detail to really play up the wonderful height element.
3. Contrast: Add energy to a room
Even if you love neutral colours, it doesn’t mean that a room has to be bland. Often when homeowners use too many neutrals that are the same contrast or brightness, a room can feel flat. By including a range of neutral tones from light to dark within one space, a room will feel more energized. The more contrast you add the more dramatic a space will feel.
4. Focal point: Create harmony and balance
New homeowners often struggle with what a focal point should be and why they need one at all. Basically a focal point directs a viewer to where they should look first, which helps create harmony and balance within a space. Traditionally, focal points were thought to be fireplaces or significant pieces of architecture but really anything can be a focal point if it is worthy of looking at.
5. Variety: Textures, patterns and shine create interest
People in general are the most comfortable when everything matches, but that can leave a space looking a bit underwhelming. To make a room feel personal and interesting, look for a range of pattern, texture and shine spread throughout.
For instance, shiny surfaces attract attention and can make a room feel more dramatic or formal, while matte surfaces feel more modern or understated.
Texture makes a room feel warmer, while pattern adds personality. If you have trouble mixing these all together skillfully, then just add texture to the carpet and keep pattern for the pillows.
Accessories like vases, candles and books can be a combination of shiny and matte so that you have a little bit of everything in your room.
Make your room amazing
Hopefully these tips have given some idea when working with your new home. Remember, every space is unique and poses different challenges, so try and work with what you have and if you need a little extra help, call a designer!