Most of us have had the experience of going to the residence of a friend or acquaintance that is livable but cold and lacking personality. Within our personal spaces, we all know what we like and what we dislike when it comes to interior decor. Unfortunately, most of us miss the mark when it comes to successfully blending form, function and warmth.
There are many reasons why even a carefully considered interior design plan can go wrong and result in a single room or an entire home that is cold; lacking warmth and charm. If you know the potential pitfalls ahead of time, you can use your new knowledge to make sure your newly decorated home is overflowing with function, personality and a family home you will be proud to entertain family and friends.
Color in your Home
The most common error that beginning decorators make that results in a cold room is selecting the wrong color, or avoiding color altogether. When you move into a new house, the walls are unpainted because they are neutral which allows the potential homeowner to see themselves living in the property. White builders paint is also the most economical choice for homebuilders. It is not supposed to stay in your new house long term.
You must be extra careful with the ‘shades’ of white that you choose for your space (and yes, white does have many shades). There are warm hues and cool hues. Warmer white hues can make a space look inviting and comfortable (think cozy cottage) and cool hues make a room look severe and dark. White hues should be used sparingly.
Warm paint colors are more effective to increase the warmth in a home and add vibrancy and personality. Which colors you decide on will highly depend on your unique preferences, your home furnishings and decorating accessories and the amount of light that the room receives. A home with minimal light is better suited for lighter shades that will absorb whatever light does fill the room and disperse it around the room. A space with plenty of windows, skylights and other sources of light can manage deeper, darker and richer colors such as eggplant, mustard, midnight blue and merlot red.
Essentially, your furnishings and accents are the ‘stars’ for your home. These pieces set the overall tone for the room, from laid back or Tuscan to classic or Georgian. Choosing pieces that work well with your room is vital. For example, Art Deco or other antique pieces that are fussy and ornately upholstered can stick out uncomfortably in a modern loft. The same can be said for trying to make Eames style furniture work in a Georgian traditional bungalow.
If you want to turn your place from house to family home, select pieces that you love and ensure they work well within the room they are being situated. Feel free to mix and match; unusual furniture arrangements often result in a personalized and energetic setting that you, your family and visitors will love spending time.
Scale is Critical
The #1 rule to consider: everything appears smaller in the showroom. When you get it to your house, that nine foot sofa set may dominate your room and look obviously out of place. Before you begin your interior decor project, get to know your home and the rooms you are redesigning. Take measurements of the whole room including ceiling height, length and width. Rooms with low ceiling height (such as a basement) need lower to the ground furniture than a family room that may have high 12 foot ceilings.
If you have furnishings in the space now, take full measurements and write everything down. Then really assess what you have now and determine if the scale (the size of the furniture compared to the size of the room) is too small, too big or perfect. This will help you tremendously when you venture off shop for new furniture.
Kim Vedros is a professional woodworker and the owner of Architectural Turnings an ecommerce store specializing in hand carved wooden components for home.