Top 4 Reasons Why People Who Have Great Taste Struggle with Designing Their Rooms (and How to Fix It)

I hear it all the time from my clients. Even though they’re stylish and they always pick beautiful things for their homes, they just can’t seem to put a room together from top to bottom and have it look like what they see in magazines.

The problem is designing beautiful rooms takes more than just choosing beautiful furnishings and accessories. There’s a lot – and I mean a lot! – to take into account if you’re going to end up with a space that looks cohesive and well-designed.

While I can’t give you all there is to know (they have entire degree programs for that!), I can give you a few of the biggest things to watch out for while choosing all those pretty things for your rooms.

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 1.Every item can’t be the star

You know how little girls pile on every shiny, bright, glittery, fancy item in their mother’s closet when they play dress up? Don’t take the same approach when designing your spaces.

Sure, you need to choose a few items to communicate your style with a ‘wow’ factor, but nothing shines when everything is over the top. Be deliberate about selecting some understated items, as well (for example, a dining table with clean lines to go under an elaborate chandelier; a neutral sofa on top of a rug in a bold print, etc.).

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        2.Consider scale

This one can be tricky, but it’s basically all about the dimensions your furnishings, lighting, artwork, etc should be relative to the size of your space.

When scale goes wrong, a sofa that seemed big in the store looks tiny in your cavernous great room; or the painting you fell in love with looks like a postage stamp floating in the middle of your big, blank wall.

But when handled well, scale makes your rooms look balanced and proportional. It leaves your space looking just right – neither over nor underfilled.

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       3.Mix up the textures

This is true of any space, but it’s especially true when you’re using a more neutral color palette. You can make a space much more interesting simply by choosing items that have contrasting textures.

Instead of giving your kitchen stained wood cabinetry and stained wood floors, give the cabinets a beautiful painted finish. Or if you use a heavily patterned wallcovering in your powder room, choose a marble countertop with veining that’s not quite so ‘busy.’

Even just adding a driftwood tray to a sleek lacquered coffee table or a nubby throw to a velvet upholstered chair can break things up, giving the eye and the hand something different to enjoy.

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4. Hire a professional to push you out of your comfort zone

I believe as a professional designer it’s my job to bring you options you may not have considered on your own, as well as items you simply may not run across in stores.  Designers are able to visit showrooms and cultivate relationships with vendors that give them access to beautiful and unique items that aren’t available in retail stores.  That access helps you when looking for something unique and different for your rooms.

It’s important to always be completely honest with your designer if you dislike something. Because they have many more options available to them than you have in stores, they will be able to find something that fits your taste and space.  

In addition, if you think you could use a ‘safety net’ to keep your style and creativity inside the lines of good design, you can partner with a designer who offers consultation-type services (you can read about my service packages – including my Designer on Call and Color Consultation services – here). That way, you still get to have real hands-on involvement in designing your space, but you’ll have a professional’s second opinion, as well as someone who has access to products and resources you don’t even know about.

When you use all of these tips, you’ve got a good foundation to put together stylish, well-designed spaces in your home!

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