June 28, 2013
A family's favorite colors and style preferences, including features like hardwood floors from Anderson's Monroe collection, shouldn't be unduly influenced by current trends. Reflecting one's personality is more important than allowing the "latest thing" to take over a design scheme.
"Great style isn't necessarily a finished product so much as it is an ongoing process," said designer Christiane Lemieux, author of "Undecorate: The No-rule Approach to Interior Design."
Browsing decorating magazines is a great way to keep up on the latest styles. But to have a standout room design, homeowners should give themselves credit. The innate sense of what looks and feels right in furnishings may be the best decorating guide of all.
Style and function
As Lemieux profiled home decorators across the country for her book, she found that homeowners with the most unique home designs showed a mix of eye-catching features and everyday function in their furniture.
The projects ranged from a suburban home that managed to maintain a down-to-earth look while incorporating the homeowners' taste for marble-topped occasional tables to a nature-inspired retreat that highlighted the high ceilings and natural light that flowed into a Brooklyn apartment.
Lemieux's own home goods company, Dwell Studio, offers home decor and children's furnishings that are known for brightly colored, graphic textile designs.
Break the showroom mold
Another approach for homeowners to break the showroom mold is to search through every nook and cranny of their homes to "unearth" older furniture that can be repurposed into one-of-a-kind furniture and accessories.
SheKnows.com's advises people to keep an open mind about what home features look good together in a room design. On the surface, an old iron gate may seem like it doesn't have much aesthetic potential, but when it's used as a vertical planter on a patio or as wall art in a basement family room, it takes on a life of its own.
Taking a cue from professional designers, homeowners should create furniture arrangements on graph paper that allow them to see everything to scale with the size of the room. They don't have to be great artists - a simple series of squares, rectangles and circles can represent different pieces.
For example, a 4-by-2-foot table would be four blocks by two blocks on the graph paper. Each piece should be labeled and cut out. On a master sheet, the pieces can be placed within the scaled-down room dimensions. It's an easy way to try different arrangements without moving around real furniture.
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