Every designer you ask will have a list of key components they think are essential to the design and function of a beautiful home. And while my list may differ from others, I think all designers would agree that each of the items on my list contributes in one way or another to how a home looks and feels.
#1 A STYLE BLUEPRINT
I meet clients all the time that don’t have a good handle (or vision) of their design style. They know if they like an item or not but they can articulate clearly the overall look for a room or the mood they want a room to have. Once you define your design style you’ll be able to envision the decor of your home, down to the details.
Defining your style encompasses many different elements, from the colors and materials you like to the style of furniture and accessories that appeal to you. And don’t worry, defining your style doesn’t happen over night. Your style can change throughout the years just like you do.
One of the ways that I have my clients convey their style to me is by going through design magazines and tagging anything that appeals to them. Then I have them jot down a word or two telling me what they like about the image they tagged. The word ‘cozy’ on a room photo with warm colors may convey the colors they like. The word ‘clean’ may be associated with a room that is streamline and clutter free which tells me a lot about how they want to a room to look and feel. Once you have a stack of tagged images you can look through them and begin to see the common threads in the design style that appeals to you.
#2 A FOCAL POINT
The focal point of a room is a lot like a statement piece of jewelry. It’s an element that captures your attention, serves as a dominant statement and in some cases sets the tone for the rest of the entire room.
The focal point in some rooms may be an architectural element like the windows or a fireplace. In other rooms it my be a wall decor arrangement, a rug, artwork or even a sofa.
Identifying or creating the focal point within each room of your home will give you the starting point upon which to build your overall design theme.
#3 SPACE PLAN
We all know that the way furniture is positioned in a room can impact the way a room feels and functions. Arranging furniture so that movement can happen easily in, out and within a room is critical to the overall design of a space.
When decorating a room think about the scale of the furniture and accessories to ensure they won’t swallow up space and make the room look visually cluttered. For the Key Measurements You Need To Know When Decorating Your Home, check out my post here.
In my book texture is one of the most important elements to design. Texture provides visual interest, depth and dimension and its also one of the elements that makes a room feel inviting. As it applies to design, texture is defined as ‘the sensations caused by the external surface of objects received through the sense of touch’. But it can also be a ‘perceived sense of touch’–you can experience texture visually without having to actually touch something.
Texture can be introduced into your decor through the fabrics you choose, the materials accessories are made of as well as the style of your doors, windows and walls.
#5 MIXED METALS & MATERIALS
Variety is definitely the spice of life when it comes to decorating a room. You don’t want one-dimensional decor…you want a home that explodes with interest and personality.
While your style blueprint may dictate a particular type of furniture and accessory style, you want to decorate with a mix of materials and finishes in order to bring your decor to life. Don’t be afraid to mix gold with silver, leather with velvet or glass with metal.
#6 A MIX OF OLD & NEW
Years ago the trend was to shop your favorite furniture store or catalog to decorate your home. While it was easy, many homes ended up with decor that was cookie-cutter and uninteresting. Just like mixing metals and materials, it’s a good idea to mix the age of items you decorate with. Pair vintage and antique pieces with newer items to build the character within your style blueprint.
#7 PERSONAL TOUCHES
If nothing else, your home should feel personal and reflect you and your family. Personal touches like family photos, books, artwork and collected pieces should be used in every room in your home.
As you decorate, be thoughtful in the placement of accessories and keep these tips in mind:
♦ Arrange accessories in odd numbers in different sizes. It’s been proven that grouping objects in odd numbers is more pleasing to the eye than even numbers.
♦ Objects that you place together when creating arrangements should have something in common: color, shape, theme, texture, vintage.
♦ Balance the art and accessories throughout a room. Don’t place everything on one side of a room.
♦ Scatter your accent color in at least three places around a room to create visual movement.
♦ Keep scale in mind with pairing accessories. Small accessories clustered together or scattered throughout a room will look like clutter from a distance. Use medium to large-sized accessories which will be noticed and seem more important as you enter a room.
#8 STATEMENT WALL DECOR
I think every room would have a wall decor statement that stands out. That could mean a single piece of art or a grouping of pieces that create a dominant visual impact. Based on the layout of your room and the architectural elements within the space, your wall decor can serve as the focal point. For creative wall decor inspiration, check out this post.
#9 SUFFICIENT LIGHTING
Most homes I go into lack sufficient lighting and without the right lighting and the correct amount of lighting, your home won’t look as good as it could. There are three types of lighting every room needs:
AMBIENT LIGHTING: Ambient lighting includes chandeliers, recessed lighting, or sconces, all of which provide overall illumination to a room. And the use of dimmers with your ambient lighting will give you control over the light levels allowing you to easily change the mood of a space.
tip: When wiring your rooms, include multiple circuits. This will allow you to dim some lights while keeping others brighter.
TASK LIGHTING: This lighting is particularly important when performing specific tasks like cooking, doing office work, or getting ready in the bathroom. In the kitchen, pendant and under-cabinet lighting can illuminate food prep areas. In a living room or bedroom, table lamps and floor lamps will provide task lighting.
tip: Even illumination is essential when planning your bathroom lighting plan. Make sure the same amount of light comes from the sides of the room as the top of the room. This will help prevent shadows and create the ideal bathroom lighting for applying make-up or shaving.
ACCENT LIGHTING: Accent lighting can be used to highlight objects like art, sculptures, and architectural details within a room. Classic track lighting and picture lights are the most common types of accent lighting, but candles also fall into this category.
#10 SOMETHING NATURAL
Something natural is a little detail that can make a big impact. A plant in a corner or a vase full of flowers or stems will give life and energy to your decor.
If you’re starting a new decorating project or looking to refresh your decor, keep these 10 components in mind and create the home of your dreams.