Thursday, July 29, 2010

When a good thing is too much ... Or, less is more.

There are enough design “do’s” and “don’ts” out there to make ones head spin ... you’ve got a lot to think about if you want to achieve good design in your home.

There’s the basic key elements of design, the key principles of design, and then when it comes to implementing, it gets more granular: from ‘rules’ for selecting the right paint colour for your home to all the things you should keep in mind when selecting furniture and designing layout. And let’s not talk about lighting (not now anyway...).

Is all this design “advice” too much of a good thing? Can you ever ‘throw it out the window’ and just do what you appeals to your visual senses or what’s going to work the best functionally for you/your family?

I’ve read in many design magazines that if you buy what you love, “you can’t go wrong”. Oh yes you can.

Whether the design and decor of your home is appealing to all senses, including pleasing to the eye, is very subjective – all the rules and theory aside, ultimately it is a matter of personal taste and opinion.

How many pictures of the inside of a rich person’s home have you seen in magazines that made you wish you hadn’t had that extra helping of potato salad at dinner? Ultimately, if you love your home, that really is all that matters.

But if it also matters to you that your friends and family love your home, and that it is considered a well-designed home on a more universal level, applying the rules and principles of design along with the ‘what you love’ method is what will get you there – along with a good, design-savvy friend to help you 'edit' how much of 'what you love' is in the space.

I do personally subscribe to the “less is more” design mantra, and feel that harmony -- when it comes to a colour palette -- is best achieved with some 'neutral space' to give the eye a break.

For example, on a home design show lead by an all-male design duo (whom I do without question think are top talents), they revealed a living room/eating area/kitchen which had been re-done in a milk-chocolate brown, turquoise-y and creamy/gold colour palette.

I loved the palette but it was used so much in the space that, as it was revealed, I felt like I was walking (visualizing) into a spray-painted fairyland of sorts. That kind of design statement can yield a ‘wow’ initially and perhaps for a time, but to stand the test of time, I feel the palette would have been even more impressive if it had been used less in the space.

Think about how you feel about the ‘less is more’ mantra and what it would mean in your space -- and maybe your life, too ...


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