The Essential Elements of Design

There are plenty of resources for home décor advice, and sometimes the available information can be overwhelming. In the age of constantly shifting trends, it is difficult to discern what makes an undeniably attractive interior. From wall art to sofas, the décor decisions you have to make when redesigning a home can seem almost endless. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of essential decorative items for a foolproof designer home.

Scale, Size, and Space

Even if you’re stuck with your current floor plan, there are plenty of ways to lay out your interior to maximize the balance and flow. Space is categorized as either positive or negative space. Positive space is an area that contains objects, whereas negative space is empty. Ideally, you want to have an equal balance of positive and negative space in your interior. It’s important to prevent your home from looking barren or overcrowded.

Scale and size of furniture is also essential to consider when designing a room. If your room has high ceilings, consider taller, elongated furniture pieces to match. If your ceilings are lower, choose furniture that is lower to the ground to make your room appear bigger.

The more windows a room contains, the less furniture can be placed inside. Blocking windows will immediately give the appearance of overcrowding. Selecting your essential pieces of furniture first will make sure you don’t purchase unnecessary decorative furnishings that won’t fit in your space. Once you have your basics down, you can move on to the fun part!

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Essential Decor Elements

The Correct Color Palette

Committing to a color palette may seem daunting, but its simpler than you think. First, consider the style of your home to get a solid starting point. For instance, if your home was built in a Spanish architectural style, stick to warm tones and shades like tan, rust, and terracotta. If you’re living in a newly constructed modern abode, use cool tones like grey-blue, charcoal, and pure white. Pull colors from the surrounding finishes like flooring, appliances, cabinets, and hardware.

Starting from scratch or unsure of your home’s architectural style? Use the area you reside as inspiration. If you live in a rural area, incorporate shades that reflect a rustic setting like dusty rose, brown, and maroon. If you reside in the desert, pull colors like peach, blush, and beige.

Once you have a few colors to use as a base, you can add a few pops of your personal selection. Think about what shades bring you joy, and weave your favorite tones throughout the room. From teal to raspberry, pops of color are timeless, and breathe life into an interior.

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Trust in Texture

The power of texture is often underestimated. Mixing textures can turn a bland interior into a dynamic space. Although you want to stay cohesive with your overall aesthetic, textures are a great way to add a subtle touch of eclecticism. After all, it’s the little (room decoration) things in life.

Consider the era of your home when you’re picking textures. A modern home can combine leather, brushed metals, and concrete-style furnishings. A vintage home is well-suited for silk, velvet, and faux fur.

The overall appearance of your space should make you want to reach out and touch the wide array of fabrics, textures, and finishes. Texture is also a great alternative to color if you want to keep things neutral albeit exciting.

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Find Your Light

Lighting is crucial in interior design. Good lighting can take your space from basic to cozy in the blink of an eye.  Even contemporary interiors can benefit from warm lighting that mimics natural sunlight, rather than cool, overhead fluorescents. Recessed lighting is constantly coveted, but you still need to balance out your light sources for a soft, even appearance.

If you only have overhead lighting, add several lamps near the corners of your room for a more equal glow. If you’re completely reliant on lamps for your light, hang a single overhead fixture or chandelier for extra illumination. Unless you’re choosing lighting for your bathroom, stick to several low wattage bulbs rather than a single, ultra-bright light. Warm bulbs are almost always preferred to give your room a subtle shine.

Maximize natural light as much as possible by hanging a second set of sheer curtains that allow the light to stream in during the day. Hang mirrors to reflect the daily sunlight, and try to keep the area around each window free from clutter. A nature-inspired wall print can also give the illusion of more natural light.

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Everyone Loves Art

Once you’ve established your layout, color palette, and lighting, it’s time to add decorative items for your home! Explore everything from wall art, to tabletop sculptures and decorative vases. There are plenty of knick-knacks and art pieces to add some personality to your interior, and this part is all up to you!

Take your color palette into consideration, but don’t be afraid to get a little funky with your artistic choices. Find decorative items for shelves and display your antiques and personal treasures. Thrift stores were created for this part of the decorating process, so hit your local flea market to find one-of-a-kind décor!

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The Elements of Interior Design

Although there are no strict rules to interior design, there is a theory. First consider quality and cohesion, and then let yourself relax! Decorating your home should be fun, so get the technical process out of the way first to allow yourself more freedom in the end.

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Annette Schmucker