Every designer has their own formula when it comes to interiors. It’s something we develop over time and it often becomes somewhat of a signature. Here are five things I feel every well-designed space should have:
Whether natural or artificial, lighting can make or break your design. The ideal room has a good amount of both. If you lack natural light paint your space a light, bright colour. Chantilly Lace is my all time favourite white by Benjamin Moore, its crisp and sure to brighten up any space. If you’re not a fan white, light greys and soft pastels are extremely popular and have a similar effect.
People love pot lights so much they’ve become a bit of an epidemic. Artificial lighting should be layered and used in combination - think ceilings, walls, floor lamps, table lamps – perhaps even up lighting. These different heights of light scattered throughout a room help create interest, highlight details and define specific activity zones.
Dimmers are a designers best friend and something you can never have too many of. Use them excessively and you can create multiple scenarios or play with the ambience depending on how you use your home at any given time.
Even the most minimalist space should incorporate texture to ensure visual interest and warmth. When done correctly both make a space more inviting no matter what your decor.
Whether visual or tactile, texture is enhanced by mixing different materials and surfaces together. The more they contrast the better.
If you have a lot of wood in your home try adding a few cooler elements like glass, lacquer, concrete or marble and vice versa. Area rugs, textiles, drapery, throw pillows and wallpaper in different piles or patterns should also be used in combination.
One of my favourite ways to layer texture in a more subtle way is by mixing metals. Think of contrasting stainless steel with antique brass or copper finishes. I promise the two work beautifully together no matter how or where you combine them. Matte finishes are also popular and a personal favourite this year. I can’t seem to get enough of matte black in particular. It’s sophisticated, contemporary and a great addition to any room.
When in doubt, choose opposites or a finish that doesn’t already exist in the space and you can’t go wrong.
Antiques & Collectibles
No room is complete without personality and the age of an item can’t help but add character. I love incorporating a few antiques my clients already own or ones we’ve found together. Whether they have sentimental value or you’ve fallen in love with them on the spot, they are sure to give a curated look to your home. They also add a “perfectly imperfect” or pre-loved component that’s hard to replicate.
If you’re a collector, brainstorm how to group and present your collection in a unique way. Antique artwork or frames are an inexpensive means to add character on a budget. In my home I’ve incorporated antique light fixtures in an otherwise contemporary space. They are among my most prized possessions and something I can take with me from one home to the next.
Unlike a lot of designers in this city I love and pride myself on incorporating colour. Whether it’s bold or subtle, I believe every room should have a distinct palette that reflects its homeowners.
Often one unexpected contrasting colour is all a room needs to take it to a new level. Consider adding a brightly coloured chair you’ve reupholstered in a bold complimentary colour or pattern. Inexpensive artwork or accessories are another great way to incorporate colour – especially if you’re afraid to commit long term. One or two unexpected elements go a very long way in making a house a home.
No one does pattern quite like Kelly Werstler, one of my all time favourite designers (see image above and below). She’s unapologetic about incorporating bold patterns into her designs and it’s definitely become her signature.
This level of fearlessness is another key element to a well designed home. Taking risks in life and design is what sets us apart and rejuvenates us. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of doing something a bit unexpected or bold enlist a designer who can push you outside your comfort zone and ensure big impact from your decor.