Home Design 101
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Some people have all the design ability in the world. They can zero in on a piece of furniture at fifty metres and immediately know exactly where to place it in such a way that it brings an entire room together. They can track down bargains that put the cloneware from the well-known franchises to shame.
They can walk into an empty space and somehow know exactly how to transform it into a room straight out of a Visi photo-spread. They have an instinctual understanding of how colours, shapes, dimensions and spaces work. They just make everything look so effortless.
If you’re not one of these people, don’t despair. Mastering the art of good design isn’t a matter of having some genetic predisposition towards colour-coding and décor-shopping. It’s all in what you know and how you use it and we’re here to guide you through the must-do’s and the most-definitely-absolutely-must-not-do’s.
First thing’s first: remember what we said about always having a plan? Most of us need to visualise and organise, tinker and test before getting something with which we are happy. So before you even think about popping over to Builder’s Warehouse, it’s time to do some good old-fashioned prep work.
While there’s a certain amount of creativity and instinct involved in good design, it’s nothing that most of us don’t already have. We might not have encyclopaedic knowledge of the latest design trends or know the technical terms, but we already use fundamental design principles in everyday life without even realising it. Ever just hated a room for no reason at all, or loathe a certain colour of paint? See you do have it! Whether it’s dressing for work, an evening out, or casually for the weekend, we know how to put together individual items of clothing to achieve the right look. If we take those same thoughts and processes and apply them to our home, it’s easy to get a living space that is both well-designed and suits our tastes.
With those principles in mind, it’s time to pre-plan. Step into a room and think about it like you would an outfit. Instead of thinking about dressing for the weather or achieving a corporate look, consider the following questions:
- What’s my design style?
- What do I need in terms of storage?
- Who will be using this room?
- How often will this room be used?
- What is the overall function of the room?
- Does the room reflect my true personality?
- Does the room form follow function, or does function follow form?
You might already have a vague idea of all of these aspects, but in thoroughly answering these fundamental questions, you are laying the foundation for a detailed and comprehensive plan that will allow you to avoid common mistakes. Many rooms fail at a surprisingly basic level. It’s all too easy to forget about something that should be obvious and end up with cluttered rooms that lack storage space or easily-dirtied flooring in areas that sees a lot of traffic
That’s the, to use a far-too-on-the-nose metaphor, brickwork laid. Coming up, we’ll be looking at some basic design principles and how to apply them, as well as the top design mistakes to avoid, because knowing what not to do, is almost as important as knowing what to do.