5 design tips to create an amazing room

Clients often ask me how I know what to do to make a room work. I wish I could say it’s all natural talent, intuition and great taste. But over the more than 20 years I’ve been practicing design, I’ve learned a thing or two – and I’m always happy to share. Here are my top five design tips to create an amazing room.

1. Scale: The size of your furnishings matters

Purchase sofas and chairs that not only properly fit your 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 overpowering. The actual floor space remains the same, regardless of the ceiling height.

The Great Room at Kylemore Communities' Peyton model home in Markham. Photo: Gillian Jackson (gillianjackson.ca)

The Great Room at Kylemore Communities’ Peyton model home in Markham. Photo: Gillian Jackson (gillianjackson.ca)

Choose pieces that are comfortable and work proportionally with the floor area you have. Over-sized or over-stuffed 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 you have a dining room that isn’t very big but has great ceiling detail, create a focal point by adding a color contrast on the ceiling along with a dramatic chandelier. The eye will be pulled to these features, rather than the size of the room.

3. Contrast: Add energy to a room

Even if you love neutral colours, it doesn’t mean that a room has to be bland. If you use too many neutrals that are the same contrast or brightness, a room can feel flat.

The sitting room at Kylemore Communities' Peyton model home in Markham. Photo: Wayne Karl

The sitting room at Kylemore Communities’ Peyton model home in Markham. Photo: Wayne Karl

By including a range of neutral tones and using a couple pops of colour within the 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

Clients 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 anything can be a focal point if it’s worthy of looking at.

Front room at Kylemore Communities' Peyton model home in Markham. Photo: Wayne Karl

Front room at Kylemore Communities’ Peyton model home in Markham. Photo: Wayne Karl

Today, a media centre, a beautiful window or even a great piece of furniture can be the focus of a room. For example, in a living room with beautiful large-scale art above the fireplace, the dramatic art is the focal point even though the room has a fireplace. The fireplace becomes a secondary focal point because it complements the art leaving the art the main draw in the space.

5. Variety: Textures, patterns and shine create interest

Clients are often the most comfortable when everything matches, but that can leave a space looking underwhelming. To make a room feel personal and interesting, you need a range of pattern, texture and shine spread throughout.

Bedroom at Kylemore Communities' Peyton model home in Markham. Photo: Wayne Karl

Bedroom at Kylemore Communities’ Peyton model home in Markham. Photo: Wayne Karl

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 together skillfully, add texture to the carpet and keep pattern for the pillows.Accessories such as vases, candles and books can be a combination of shiny and matte, so that you have a little of everything in your room.Remember – every space is unique and poses different challenges. Try using these design tips to make your room amazing!

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Design advice with Jane Lockhart

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