Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

 

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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#4  TEXTURE

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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

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#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.

For more lighting design tips, read my posts here and here.

Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

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#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.

Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

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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.

Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork For Impact & Style

One of the things I enjoy most about writing this blog is sharing design tips and helping you solve your design dilemmas. Last year I started a series called Design Chat series where I answer your design questions and provide decorating tips and inspiration.  I’m excited to continue the series in 2017 and today I addressing a design challenge that Jennette has.

Here’s the comment and question Jennette sent to me…

“Shelly, I found your blog in spring 2016 while searching how to style a sectional sofa on Pinterest. I love your design tips! Right now my design dilemma is how to hang art on a long, odd wall when there is already one picture over a chair.”


Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

Artwork can be one of the most challenging aspects of decorating your home.  Once you’ve identified the type of artwork you want, you then need to come up with a plan for a dynamic wall statement.

As you can see in Jennette’s family room, she originally hung the artwork over the chair to anchor that seating area.  While this isn’t bad, the rest of the wall is left blank and feels somewhat disconnected.

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

Here are my suggestions to pull the room together…

My suggestion for Jennette would be to create a gallery wall arrangement on that wall using the piece of artwork she owns as the centerpiece.  A collection of framed pieces will create a focal point on that wall and anchor the space in total.

I also recommend a few other changes…

1) add a tall plant in the corner to add height and color. The small stool would move to the opposite side of the tv cabinet.

2)  replace the double arm floor lamp with a fun table lamp.

3) add a cushion to the top of the bench and maybe even lean a couple of pillows on top.

4) a larger cabinet under the TV to give that wall more impact and to feel more proportionate with the TV.

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

On the opposite side of the room where the sofa sits, here’s what I recommend…

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

Hang candle sconces on each side of the mirror to give the wall over the sofa more impact.  And remove the wall mounted light and position the double arm floor lamp next to the side table.

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

And my product picks for Jeanette’s room…

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

candle sconce // table lamp // fabric for cushion // black cabinet // plant basket

Overall, Jennette’s family room has a great foundation. With a  few tweaks and additions, I think she’ll have the space she desires.

Looking for tips on creating a gallery wall arrangement, read my blog post here.

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If you’ve got a design challenge, email me and we’ll chat!

Design Guide: Shopping For The Perfect Sofa

We started looking for a new sofa last year and I couldn’t find I liked.   We decided to put our sofa shopping on hold so it gives me the perfect opportunity to share sofa styling tips to help you (and me) find the ideal sofa.

 

The first and most critical step in picking a sofa is to determine the style of sofa that fits your needs and function as well as your design aesthetic.

Read the Post

Design Chat: What Size Area Rug Do You Need?

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Hi friends.  The focus of this Design Chat post is area rugs.  Quite often I get questions from readers who are challenged with what size area rug to get for their living/family room.

The most recent question came from Rocio who was having a hard time with a rug for her family room.  Here’s the question Rocio posed to me…

“Hi Shelly, I have a sectional it measure 9 feet by 7 feet for the chaise part of sofa. I have no clue on what size area rug I need to buy. I do have a rectangular coffee table/ottoman in front and just order 2 Moroccan poufs. Do I need to place the poufs on the rug? Please help!!!!  Thank you so much! Rocio”

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SELECTING THE RIGHT SIZE AREA RUG

Many times the shape and size of a room will dictate the size of rug the room needs.  Other times the size and scale of furniture will influence which rug is best for the space.  Selection the right size rug boils down to a few simple things:

  1.  The rug (size, placement and color) should like its part of the overall design plan of the room.  The rug will serve as one of the key focal points within a room.
  2. The rug should anchor the seating area and help create a sense of coziness.
  3. 3.  The rug should not overpower a room or the furniture that surround it but should enhance the space.

 

Here’s a visual graphic I created that with tips on selecting the right size rug.

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After providing a few tips and suggestions to Rocio, she purchased a rug and sent me a photo of the design and color she selected.  Given the small footprint of the room, this rug size works well to anchor the sectional and not impede into the dining area to the left or the area to the right.  And since design is all about the details,  here are some additional suggestions I have for Rocio to really pull this space together:

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♦  Add a couple of pillows to the sofa at will bring in more color and pattern work.

♦  Replace the grey throw with a lighter color to highlight the lighter color in the rug.

♦  Add a side table on the short end of the sectional. A table with a metallic finish would relate to the material on the metallic poufs.

♦  Hang curtain panels on the window to anchor the eating area and add additional softness to the room.

And I quickly pulled together an inspiration board to illustrate the ideas.

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SHOP THIS DESIGN:

Blue Ikat Pillow / Gold Metallic Leopard Pillow / Navy Velvet Pillow / Gold End Table / Woven Throw / Navy Curtain Panels 
Gold Metallic Pouf / Navy Velvet Ottoman

 

Until next time…

Shelly Signature

Design Lessons From The Pages Of Magazines (via Pinterest)

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Ever since Pinterest came on the social scene, I know many of you, myself included have all spent countless hours looking at design photos, saving the images that serve as inspiration for our current or future homes or that can be used as a source of inspiration in our jobs as designers, decor enthusiast and design bloggers.

I often use images found on Pinterest to share an idea with a client,  highlight an accessorizing concept or to help me pull together a color plan.  Whether you like Pinterest or not, analyzing room photos is a great way for anyone to up their design game and learn what makes a well-design space just that, well-designed!

Today I’m going to share a few rooms from some of my favorite design publications and point out the design details that came together to make these spaces what they are.  Consider this a mini design lesson using visual aids.

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If you want more insight into how Pinterest is changing the world of interior design and how we decorate our homes, check out this article

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Thanks for stopping by today and thank you to everyone who left wonderful comments on my Swap It Like It’s Hot Post earlier this week.  If you haven’t had a chance to check out all of the blogger projects, please do.  There’s lots of great inspiration to be found.

Happy Weekend!

Shelly Signature

image source: 1) My Domaine 2) House Beautiful 3) House Beautiful  4) Country Living  5) Domaine Home

Small Space Decorating Tips

Last year I wrote about the Tiny House Movement and how it is gaining in popularity.  Well, a year later and the movement is just picking up steam.

I recently finished an article for a friend of mine who started and published Welcome Magazine here in Atlanta years ago.  She has since moved to New York and is in the process of re-establishing the magazine there.  She asked me to write an article for it with tips for decorating small spaces and I thought I’d share a few of those tips with you here in the blog.

Decorating small spaces can be challenging.  The layout of a room, the style of furniture, the paint color and how to keep the space organized are just a few of the design elements you have to consider.  The tips I’m sharing will help you do all of that without sacrificing style and personality.

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Finding The Starting Point For Your Room Design

One question I get asked a lot is “where should you start when it comes to developing a room design plan ?”

If you read design magazines or books, you’ve probably read lots of different answers to this question and all of them are probably right to some degree.  Finding the starting point for your design plan really starts when you determine the end result that you want for a room.

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Think of decorating a room in the same way you would a road trip.  You know where and what you’re starting with and you know where you want to end up.  The steps that happen between the beginning and end point define the trip or in the case of decorating, they define your decorating plan.  And just like a road trip, you might venture off your planned route or change course all together, so know that the same thing can happen when decorating your home.  As long as you keep focused on where you want to end up, you’ll get to your design destination.

Here are a few tips to help you create your decorating journey from start to finish.

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Design Guide: Key Measurements You Need to Know When Decorating Your Home

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On Monday I’ll be outlining my full list of blog goals for 2016 and one of  them is to develop a series called Design Guide. I wrote the first Design Guide series last year, all about sectional sofas.  I’ve been so surprised at the response this blog post and pin has gotten and just how many people are struggling with sectional sofa decorating.  I receive emails weekly (4 this week alone) from people who’ve found the blog post and want additional decorating tips for their sectional.

The Design Guide series will fulfill my desire to share my design knowledge with you so that you can decorate your home with confidence.  If there is a design topic you’d like me to write about just leave me a comment below.

Today’s post is the first installment of  the Design Guide series for 2016 and it’s all about the key measurements you need to know when decorating.  Before you jump into the guide, let me say that while these measurements are ideal in most situations, they won’t work in others.  Every home is different and every design layout and plan requires some adjustments so keep that in mind as you read through the guide.  Your home needs to work for you and your family so make adjustments where they are needed, so they will work for your decor.

FURNITURE PLACEMENT

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DINING ROOM FURNITURE:

♦ Allow 36″ – 48″ of space between the back of each dining chair and the wall or furniture behind it to so chairs can be pulled in and out with ease.

♦  The distance between the top of the table and the chair seat should be about 12″. To determine the best seat height for your table, take the height of your table and subtract 12 inches.  Example: A 30″ high dining table (standard height) works best with chairs with a seat height of 18″ (30″-12=18″).

♦  For comfortable dining chairs, look for chairs with a seat depth of between 16″ and 18″.

♦  For rectangular dining tables, allow a minimum of 24″-28″ of table length per person and keep in mind the  width of the chair seat may impact the space needed for each place setting at a table.

LIVING ROOM FURNITURE:

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♦  18″ is the ideal distance you want between the couch and the coffee table.

♦  Walkways between furniture and walls should be at minimum 36″ to allow for easy movement in all directions.

♦  The ideal amount of space you should allow between two chairs placed side by side in the living room is 42″.  A standard size side table will easily fit between the two chair.

♦  The height difference between an end of table and the top of a sofa arm should be 1-2″.

ARTWORK

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♦ When hanging artwork over a sofa or another piece of furniture, leave 5″- 9″ of space between the top of the sofa/furniture and the bottom of the art. You want to have some separation between the two elements.

♦  When hanging an art grouping above a sofa or piece of furniture, the grouping should be approximately 2/3 the width of the furniture below it. Your goal is for the artwork to be balanced (not too large or too small) with the element below it.

♦  For a single piece of art, the center of the image should be at 56″ – 60″ from the floor, which places the middle of art at eye level. Naturally if the entire family is extra tall or short, you can and should adjust the art so it feels comfortable for viewing.

♦  When hanging multiple pieces of artwork in a stacked layout above a piece of furniture, handle the art as if it was a single, larger piece. The space between the top and bottom piece of artwork should fall at 56″ to 60″.

♦  For symmetrical gallery wall displays, hang wall decor pieces about 2-3″ apart.  For asymmetrical and artistic layouts, arrange the wall decor so it’s pleasing to you.  Keep in mind you want the overall arrangement to feel balanced top to bottom and left to right.

WINDOW TREATMENTS

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♦  It’s always a good idea to hang drapery rods as high as possible above window casing/trim which will make your room and windows feel taller and more expansive. A good rule of thumb for the average window is to mount the rods 5″ to 10″ above the trim.

♦  The trend today is for window treatments to skim the floor.  Letting your drapes puddle on the floor is matter of preference and tends to look best in more formal environments.

♦  To give the impression of wider windows extend the drapery rod 6″ to 12″  beyond the window casing not counting the length of a finial is you are using one.

♦  Many people hang curtain panels for decorative purposes only.  If you want your drapes to be functional, your panels should be 2 to 3 times the width of the window.  You can have custom drapes made in the appropriate width or you can hang multiple off the shelf panels together to achieve your desired width.

LIGHTING & CEILING FANS

LIGHTING OVER A TABLE:

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♦   The bottom of the chandelier should hang between 30″ – 34″ above the surface of the table for ceilings that are between 8′ and 9′ high. Higher ceilings will require the light fixture to be hung higher, approximately 3″ for every additional foot of ceiling height.

♦  Height–the higher the ceiling, the taller the chandelier. The rule of thumb is 2.5-3 inches for each foot of ceiling height. A standard 8-foot ceiling will accommodate a chandelier that is 20-24 inches in height.

♦  Diameter–add the height and the width of the room space together. Treat that sum as inches, and you have the suggested diameter of the chandelier for that room. For example, if the room is 20-feet by 18-feet, the sum is 38 feet. The approximate diameter of the chandelier should be 38 inches.

LIGHTING IN AN OPEN AREA:

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♦A chandelier should be hung in the center of a foyer or entryway.

♦If your foyer has a window above the door, the chandelier should be centered in the window so that it can be seen from the outside of the home.

♦If an entryway is two stories tall, the chandelier shouldn’t hang below the second floor.

♦ A fixture hung in an open space like a foyer should hang approximately 7′ above the floor.

LIGHTING IN THE KITCHEN:  

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♦  The standard distance between a kitchen island and a pendant light (top of counter to bottom of light fixture) is 30 to 36 inches.   Adjust the height to ensure the view across the island is not obstructed.

CEILING FANS:

♦  To determine the fan size that’s most appropriate for your space (fans are sized by the number of inches that their blades span), first determine the square feet of your room by multiplying the room’s length by its width. Then use these suggested guidelines:

For rooms up to 75 sq ft, choose a 29″ – 36″ fan
For room 76 to 144 sq ft, choose a 36″ – 42″ fan
For rooms 145 to 225 sq ft, choose a 44″- 48″ fan
For rooms 225 to 400 sq ft, choose a 48″- 54″ fan
For rooms over 400 sq ft, choose a fan that is 54″ or larger
For large great rooms, a fan as large as 72″ may be appropriate
If the room is over 400 sq ft, consider using two fans

RUGS

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♦  Rugs under a dining room table should be at least 24-30″ wider and longer than the table, allowing the back legs of the chairs to stay on the rug even when the chairs are pushed out.

Here’s an easy guide to follow:  

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♦  Area rugs under a bed should extend at least 18-24″ beyond each side of the bed.  Also note you can place runners at each side of the bed as an alternative to a full area rug and runners can be placed along the side or at the foot of the bed.

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♦  For standard size living, family there should be between  12″ – 24″ of bare floor between the edges of the area rug and the walls of the room. Smaller rooms should have between 6″-10″ of bare floor exposed.

♦  In living and family rooms, the rug should be larger enough so that the front legs of furniture sit on the rug.

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OTHER MEASUREMENTS YOU NEED TO KNOW:

♦  Allow 20″ to 28″ inches for leg clearance below a desk and the seat height of the chair should be 14″-18″ with your feet flat on the floor.

♦  Bookshelves that are used to hold books, including oversized art books should have depth of at least 15″.

♦  For optimal viewing, size your TV based on its distance from the sofa. To get the minimum screen size in inches, divide the viewing distance by 3; for the maximum, divide by 1.5. Already have a TV? Use these guidelines to position your couch. Aim for a 15- to 20-degree viewing angle to the center of the screen.

♦  Always measure your rooms, ceiling height and doorways before you go shopping for furniture to ensure pieces will fit through doors and in their planned space.

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These measurements will get your started on a solid design plan for your home.

Shelly

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