While I’m not really a person who loves or does well with rules in general, there are a few rules that I cling to with interiors:
1. Floor plans, floor plans and more floor plans!
I’ve now written three articles about interior decorating and design, and in each one I’ve mentioned the need of floor plans. There is definitely a pattern here and you now know the crux of my work. I am keen on coordinating colors, patterns, textures and everything else to do with interiors but I think you can truly get away with a million sins if the flow and proportions are right. I can tell instantly whether a person has worked with a floor plan or not and it’s evident through the furnishings of an older house or the construction of a new one. It’s so easy to mess up the flow of a space with furnishings. There are those with commitment phobias who tend to buy loads of little pieces for a large space or those at the other end of the spectrum who purchase massive sofas and tables for tiny spaces. I also see it with new construction and the trend where bigger is supposed to be better, well it’s not. A ballroom for a kitchen with a tiny afterthought for a dining room can make for an awkward house. It’s only the people who have taken the time to draw up floor plans get it right and save a bundle on such costly mistakes.
2. Focal points and the power of 3’s
While you are working on your floor plans, do keep in mind the need for a focal point to a space. Your eyes are always searching out for somewhere to rest with a focal point. This is generally the front door to an exterior, a fireplace to a living room, the hob for the kitchen or a headboard in a bedroom. While you can simply focus furnishings towards this focal point, but by accentuating that focal point by creating a triangle around it, is even better. Your eyes love odd numbers especially the number three. Mix 3 items with a focal point and you create a triangle which in turn creates symmetry. Bliss for your eyes and the room.
For example: a front door painted in a welcoming color with potted plants on either side is such a welcome sight. Two side tables with lights slightly lower than the headboard is ideal. A fireplace with a properly sized painting above instantly creates this triangle and can be made even better with similar weight furnishings or artwork on either side.
This concept works also with smaller vignettes such as table décor. I love setting the dining room for a dinner party and once the necessities are out then it’s time to get creative with the decorative details. One large centerpiece always looks clumsy especially on a rectangular table, but a line of 3 or more odd-numbered bud vases tapered in height is most appealing.
3. You can’t paint a dark room light
My last little nugget has to do with paint and selecting the best depth of color for a space. So often I hear people saying that “the room is very dark so I’m going to paint it white to brighten it up”. Ladies and gentlemen, please hear me now; this does not work. The best thing you can do with a naturally dark room is embrace it and go for drama. A dark room will look dingy and lost painted white. However a dimly lit room painted in a rich color such as brick red like our soil, slate grey like the aged Bermuda limestone or a deep blue like the night sky will magically transform your room into your new favorite space and ironically it will magically appear larger. But please, don’t forget your ceilings! Ceilings are so much fun and adding a gold tone with a bit of shimmer up above one of these rich colors is the icing on the cake for a room with no natural light.
There you have it, my top three rules to always employ when it comes to interior décor and design. If you keep these in mind whether renovating your house or just refreshing one room, I promise you will be happy with the end result. Keep your goal in sight and aim to transform your space into not only an aesthetically-pleasing space, but one that is also functional, suitable for your lifestyle and showcases your personality.
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