Design Tip | A Lesson In Styling

There are many aspects to design but one skill a good designer has is the ability to style a space. Beautiful fabrics and finishes and architectural details are the backbone of a well-designed space but the styling is what really completes the ensemble and makes it feel livable. While a pristine, model-home type room is beautiful to look at in pictures, it doesn’t evoke the I-want-to-live-there feeling that a well-styled space does.

Styling is hard to teach because it has a lot to do with eye and trusting your gut but there are some guidelines that can be help in styling a space well.

The first good guideline is considering the impact of color. Some pieces used in styling are really just filler —the fill a void and are “background” decor. They keep the space from feeling empty or unfinished. However, there are pieces that add warmth too. Greenery is great warmth-giving decorative element. There is also something to be said for incorporating little pops of color in styling. A fun pillow(s) or blanket. Maybe a sculpture or small piece of art that’s unexpected and plays well off of the other colors in the room. The little surprise pieces should just make you feel satisfied when you see the space because it looks complete.

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Don’t be afraid to mix a little old with new. Many people get a few new things and then want everything to be brand new because the old items look dingy or dated. This is true sometimes but when done right, meaning, a lot of editing, it can be really impactful. You can make an antique piece that has a lot going for it into a focal point. Mixing seems to work well when using antiques next to more modern items— the clean lines juxtapose the vintage piece nicely and often create just enough tension to bring a room to life.

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The final, most important guideline is not to be afraid of imperfections. Everything has a birthmark…whether it’s a piece of furniture or a wall, almost nothing is absolutely perfect. This can be maddening for some but it really can add character to a space. You can choose whether or not you want to highlight these imperfections or just let them be a layer. Either way, don’t stress about it, it makes it unique!

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Design News | Pantone's Color of the Year 2018

So we're over here scratching our heads because we've been designing our little hearts out and just realized that we haven't been using Panetone's Color of the Year.  What do you think that means?  

For the last couple of years the hot color was millennial pink.  It's subtle and mature and perfect for an adult but also works great in a little girl's room.  It's a very versatile color for what it is and we really love it.  Pantone's pick was Greenery for 2017-- a bright green that felt very modern.  It worked for certain applications but definitely wasn't our go-to color.

This year, however, the pick is Ultra Violet- an intense, grape-crayon purple.  What?!  We don't mind a subtle lavender or even a grey-ish purple like this:

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...but a bright, in-your-face purple called Ultra Violet is a little confusing for us.  We'd even say that we don't mind a little bit of this purple mixed in the right pattern with some other calm colors to balance it out, but we're not quite ready for an entire room of it.

What are your thoughts?

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Have you been seeing a lot of purple furniture in stores and wondered why?  Here's your explanation!  Hopefully the 2019 color is a little more useable.  For now, we'll stick with Millennial Pink and by pass Ultra Violet.

Pinpointing Your Home's Style Direction | The Question To Ask

Many people get confused about what style they like best.  They are conflicted because they like a variety of looks and can't seem to pinpoint the one that they want to commit to.  Because of that, it is common for homeowners to feel like their homes don't look finished or pulled together and it's frustrating.  The beauty of design is that it's ok if it incorporates a mix of styles.  Homes that aren't cookie-cutter or too "model-home ish" are comfortable and unique.  A home that's too perfect doesn't feel like a home.  And when your home has  it's own special mix of styles, you know there's no other home quite like it.  Homes should also be a reflection of people who live in them. It's not a design faux paux to have a home that reflects your personal taste, no matter what the design magazines say.  If you love it, that's all that matters.  You live in it!  Styles and tastes can bed edited, or refined, though, so don't think we're just saying that it's ok to put whatever wherever.  

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However, we think that the best place to start when trying to pinpoint your home's style direction is by asking yourself how you want your home to feel.  Feelings can be different from person to person but this simple question gives you a very clear starting point.  If you want your home to feel comfortable and cozy, you probably won't decorate with super modern furniture that has hard lines and is somewhat sterile feeling, even if you love that look in a magazine.

Aside from how you want your home to feel to you, there's also the question of how you want others to feel in your home.  Some people are super concerned about their guests being relaxed in their homes.  They might have house guests a lot and accessibility and comfort are the most important things to them.  While others might entertain a lot and while they want their home to look and feel finished, flow and ease of passage throughout the common areas is super important to them.

A lot of times, the way you desire your home to feel will affect color choices as well.  If you want it to feel cozy, you may go with warmer color choices.  Whereas, if you want it to feel breezy and open, you may select brighter whites and cool color choices.

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Oftentimes, the way people determine that they want their home to "feel" is an immediate reflection of their general style so once they determine their home's feeling, taking the style direction que while also incorporating their own personal likes is much easier and comes more naturally.

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We think the most important thing is that you love your home, though!  A home is a monetary investment and a time investment but it also plays a large part in whatever journey you are on.  Once you are happy with the way your home looks and feel relaxed in it, it can quickly become your retreat from the world...which is something we think everyone needs!  So don't neglect it or yourself!

Design Discussion | Negative Space

Negative space can be a powerful design tool.  When used correctly, it brings a sense of calm to a space and actually puts the objects that are in the space into focus by drawing the eye toward it.  The act of well-done negative space is accomplished when someone understands the importance of editing.  In design, not every space always needs to be filled in order for the room to feel finished but understanding when there's something missing and when enough is enough is a delicate balance.

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Negative space works well when done right because it eliminates all of the distractions.  Oftentimes, it is a much more simplified version of layering and requires the viewer to step back and look at the space as a whole...even though, ironically, it brings items into focus.

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Negative space oftentimes thrives where asymmetry is present because whomever has accomplished the use of negative space has looked at the space as a big picture.  It sees the room as one pictures instead of becoming hyper focus on filling things up.  Wall space and ceiling space is seen as the backdrop for everything in the room so the way pieces of furniture in the middle of the room stand off the back wall affect what else is hung on the wall and where.

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Negative can often be used to emphasize architectural details like windows and stairs but be careful because sometimes it can also highlight things you might not want in focus.  Just be sure your furniture doesn't detract from architectural details you might want to highlight...it's ok not to crowd a room with furniture if it keeps the cool architectural details in focus.

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If you're still unsure about the benefits of negative space, just think about a bold black and white patterned tile or wallpaper or even fabric.  The black portion is the negative space and without it, there is no pattern!  Negative space is important!  Be sure that you're stepping back to look at the big picture each time to re-design your space.

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Too Many Pillows | The Bed Making Post

When we install model homes, ones the biggest things that we spend our time and money on is bedding.  Since model homes are supposed to showcase a comfortable living space, it's important that all of the bedrooms have comfortable-looking, well-styled beds.  And part of accomplishing this is with....pillows!  I know, I know.  Some of you hate pillows.  They're annoying or take up unnecessary space...they're just something you have to move before you sleep.   But there really is something to be said about bed pillows and how they dress a bed that makes it look inviting.  This is also important because the bed is usually the focal point of a bedroom, so a bed that looks comfortable makes the room feel inviting.  Yes, it's a little extra work when you're making the bed, but it's worth it for your guests.

So how many pillow are really necessary for a bed?  Let's start with the functional side...sleeping pillows.  We usually say that sleeping pillows are the foundation.  If you're making a twin, full, or queen bed, one sleeping pillow per side is usually fine for styling.  If you're making a king bed, use king-size sleeping pillows that are a little longer.  However, if the bed will actually be slept in, put 2 on each side so that guests have the option of a second pillow if they want it.

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The second step and pillow layer are the shams.  Shams are decorative pillows that typically aren't slept on but they add that extra fluff to the bed.  For anything smaller than a king, standard shams are fine, but if you're making a king bed it's important to either use 2 king shams or 3 euro shams (square 26" pillows).

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After shams, the final layer is some sort of smaller decorative pillow (or pillows), depending on the size of a the bed.  A twin or full bed may be able to get away with one decorative pillow, although it will most likely look best if it's some sort of lumbar pillow to really balance out the bed.  Other than that, queen beds or king-sized beds will need at least 2 or more decorative pillows and sometimes more (ie. 2 medium-sized decorative pillows and a smaller accent pillow).  

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All of these layers of pillow provide different heights and textures that help your eye move over the bed and across the rest of the room while also appealing to your senses and giving the bed a look of softness.

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So the next time someone tries to tell you how useless pillows are, remind them that pillows actually sell beds and make bedrooms look comfortable so that must be worth something!