We have all had the experience of walking into a room or space and feeling immediately captivated and awed. We think to ourselves, "I would love to live here" and wonder if it's possible to recreate the look in our own homes.
Of course it's possible, but bear in mind that not every look you fall in love with may be suitable for your home.
Here are my seven expert tricks for creating a space you will love.
#1 A thoughtful, functional plan for your space. "Beautiful" is lovely, but if your room is filled to the max with furniture and harder to navigate than an obstacle course, your aim of creating a comfortable, welcoming and delightful space has missed the mark. Your first focus should be on defining your needs. What are you going to use the space for and what items do you need to include so that the space functions well. For example, if you only need to seat ten people twice a year, don't make that your priority. Design instead for everyday use.
#2 Include a collection of art or family portraits arranged asymmetrically somewhere in the space. There's a common misconception that art should match the colours in your space/home, personally I am opposed to this theory and prefer that the homeowner purchase art that has meaning to them, pieces that they will love forever. Keep it interesting by introducing some unexpect-ed elements into the mix. Be creative and have fun!
#3 Light up your life. My rule of thumb is to install at least three times more lighting than you think you'll need. Mix it up. Add pot lights and a magnificent centre fixture that can be operated by various switches. I like to install dimmers to help control lighting levels and create some ambiance. Don't forget to include beautiful lamps and if possible, decorative sconces.
#4 Mix it up – When selecting furnishings choose a variety of styles, materials and finishes. Don't be "matchy, matchy". People often make the mistake of buying the entire collection from a showroom vignette and recreating the display in their living room. The end result is a room that feels like a retail outlet instead of a lovely compelling and unique living space. Which would you prefer?
#5 Embrace your need for storage. Yes, storage can be beautiful. We fill our homes with more "stuff" than ever before, so, if purging or keeping fewer items is not feasible, celebrate storage and make it a priority in your design concept. There are so many amazing options available to explore.
#6 Try, try, try again. Do not live in "Design Fear". Experiment and use your existing furnishings to try out new floor plan possibilities. Tape up paper templates of art groupings to give you an idea of the size and scale of pieces to purchase or re-purpose. Bring home a wide variety of accessories to see what works in the space. Return any items (if possible) that don't fit your design concept.
#7 Last, but certainly not least, do not suffer alone. If this designing/decorating stuff is simply not your thing, call a professional. The DIY movement has somehow sent a message that anyone can design. Unfortunately, that is not the case. We are all wired quite differently and we all have different talents and interests. There are many things I cannot do and when something is beyond my abilities and comfort level, I pick up the phone and ask for help. Getting the job done right the first time will ultimately save you time, energy and money.