Designers don’t follow a secret rule book, but there are definitely some rough principles that guide us to ensure a great result every time. They are tried and true things that work, not necessarily tricks or skills that take years to master. Consider these tips a foundation for developing your own design ability:
Pick the paint color last
Homeowners commonly want to pick a paint color before they move in. This is not ideal as there are thousands of paint colors with various tints, tones and shades, and each one looks different from home to home. Light sources vary, meaning what looks good in your current home might not be perfect in your new one.
Give your furniture some breathing room
Resist overcrowding a room. You don’t need to fill up a space with lots of furniture for the room to look great. Spend more of your budget on fewer, better-quality pieces, and your room will look better than ever.
Hang artwork at the right height
Galleries and museums hang artwork so that the mid-line (center) of each piece is 57 inches to 60 inches from the floor. (The average human eye level is 57 inches.) You should do the same in your home.
Resist the urge to have a theme
Some people have a tendency to go overboard with one particular theme or style and it can come off all wrong. For example, the Cape Cod look is a very popular, but it has been done so many times, it lacks individuality.
Create a focal point
Choose your piece and make it the focal point to anchor a room, while other items take a secondary role. Your focal point might be a dramatic hood in the kitchen, a mantel and art piece in the living room or a headboard in the bedroom. Whatever it is, choose something that will draw the eye’s attention.
Add layers of lighting
In a well-designed kitchen, the backsplash is lit, the artwork is highlighted and the cabinet interiors are filled with light. One central lighting fixture would not have had nearly the same dramatic result. Professionals build layers of lighting to create interest, intrigue and variety. In a room where everything is lit evenly, nothing stands out. Pick a focal point and perhaps a secondary focal point and highlight those. Add general ambient lighting and some lower lighting, like table lamps, for interest.
Personality is what makes a space great. Make your own statement and have fun. The more you try, the more you will begin to see what works and what doesn’t. Incorporate unexpected elements for drama.