Tips & Tricks Thursday – Rule Breaker
I’m in love with Lonny.com (…and I’m beginning to feel like flirty mistress with the number of other “loves” I have – Pinterest… gray… fur…)
I love Lonny because they always have great interior inspiration, design ideas, and tips.
I’m stealing one of their tips today.
It’s the new year. 2013. A fresh start. If you’re like me, you don’t really make resolutions, but you DO have a desire to break out of the mold, so to speak. My husband calls this “broadening your horizons” (although he usually uses it in reference for me trying something that isn’t really appealing. Like seafood.)
So, in keeping with that line of thinking, I’m bringing you Lonny’s list of
1. “DON’T MIX OLD AND NEW”
As a proponent of mixing vintage pieces with new ones, this rule has never been a problem for me to break. Only one word describes a room that keeps within one period style – Boring (…and stale. I know, that ‘s two words, but it’s true). I think it’s great to incorporate period pieces (say, ones that match the interior style of your home), but add a punch of something different. If your interior is very traditional, don’t be afraid to add some more modern pieces with clean lines and simple shapes. Does your interior lean more toward the contemporary side? Mix in a few pieces with some character – like a weathered wood chest or set of antique side chairs. The point is – let your personality shine through. You CAN like different styles (old and new) and incorporate them into your interior. What a great way to make your space a reflection of YOU!
2. ”PAINT A SMALL SPACE IN A LIGHT COLOR”
I’ve mentioned this before, but my house is only 1616 sf. Which means that space is at a premium, and any tricks to make a room look and feel larger are appreciated. In fact, my TV room (the only room in the house that hasn’t been repainted at least 3 times) is a deep gray/navy. I loved it 4 years ago when we moved in, and I love it now. The dark color helps to disguise where the walls end gives the room great overall depth. I balanced the darker color with a lighter rug and sofa (as soon as I get my act together, I’ll take some pics.) It really is my favorite room in the house!
3. ”EVERY ROOM NEEDS A POP OF COLOR”
I love how Lonny describes the phrase ‘pop of color’ as “one of the most overused clichés in the design lexicon”. It’s completely true. And I’m guilty. But I do agree that not every room needs one. Bold, bright color has been very trendy over the past few years. But it isn’t always the answer to making a boring room interesting. I’ve always leaned toward adding varying textures (hello, fur!) and natural elements to create impact. Think jute, stone, knit, glass, metal, and wood.
4. ”DON’T MIX METALS”
Again, another rule I’ve never had a problem breaking. I love the idea of using different metals to warm up a space and add one of the most important things in design – INTEREST. If gold tones warm up gray walls, what do you think metals like brass, gold, and bronze will do for nickel and silver? Love it!
5. ”MATCH YOUR WOOD FINISHES”
You may accept the idea of mixing metals a lot more easily than mixing wood finishes. But the idea is the same. ”Matchy-Matchy” looks are dated, and Lonny says it best that, “varying wood tones creates a layered look”. The idea is also the same when you think in terms of contrast. Let your lighter wood furniture stand out against a darker wood floor (much like paring gold tones with silver tones = the highest impact). However, don’t get carried away with this one – limit your wood tones to two or three different shades (to avoid looking hodgepodge). Then repeat the tones throughout the space.
6. “DON’T MIX PATTERNS”
Another rule I love to break (I’m starting to feel like a very naughty girl…)! Mixing patterns is very on-trend right now. If the idea make you nervous, try starting out with a limited color palette (2-3 colors), just so that the patterns have a common thread. Think about repeating the colors you use elsewhere in the space. Also, play around with scale – large patterns and small patterns. Keeping a neutral background (whether its a sofa, bedspread, or wall color) will help to ground the busyness of the varying patterns.
7. “MATCH YOUR COLORS”
I love the idea of “coordinating” as opposed to matching. We’ve already established that “matchy matchy” is the quickest way to look dated (whether in fashion or interiors!). So you do not, I repeat for emphasis, do NOT have to match your drapes to your pillows to your rug. Really. Try working within contrasting color palettes. If that’s just too off the wall for you, think about coordinating within the same color tones (white, ivory, cream) with varying textures (silk, linen, cotton). Again, it’s all about layering our space and creating interest!
8. “A LIVING ROOM NEEDS A SOFA, A KITCHEN NEEDS A MICROWAVE”… AND OTHER MYTHS
This one’s all about realizing that we don’t have to adhere to the general standards regarding our spacial needs. In other words, let your space serve the function YOU need it to serve, not what you THINK it should serve. For example, if you have a formal dining room, but always go out to eat, what’s the point? Why not transform that room into a space that you would actually use? Once we get rid of the stigma that we must always have a formal living room (remember the room you could NEVER go into as a child?), a formal dining room, or even the idea that we must have a sofa instead of, say, a few arm chairs – only then can we really begin to treat our homes as the refuges they should be – tailored to your needs!
I will now step down from my soapbox. Thank you.
9. ”EVERY WINDOW NEEDS A WINDOW TREATMENT”
I’m all for privacy… and camouflaging an eyesore. But if those aren’t an issue, why would you feel obligated to block a wonderful view. Now I’m not saying that window treatments are bad. In fact, I love them. But I just want to make the point that, as Lonny said, “there’s no shame in a naked window”.
10. ”USE SMALL FURNITURE IN A SMALL ROOM”
A few months ago, I gave some tips for designing in small spaces. I want to emphasize that scale and proportion are very important – you don’t want to stuff a ton of furniture into a small space. However, a few larger scale pieces (think artwork or an oversized headboard) will often give the illusion of a larger room. Just remember it’s all about balance. If your headboard is large to add visual height, compensate with nightstands that are more appropriate in scale to the room.
11. ”EVERY ROOM NEEDS AN OVERHEAD LIGHT”
Overhead lights have split personalities. They can be a great focal point to a room (think an amazing chandelier), or they can cast unflattering shadows and make a space feel severe and over lit. Much like textiles, I love the idea of layering light. This is best done with varying light sources (like sconces, lamps, and overhead lights) to create depth and mood.
Are you ready to break some design rules this year?