Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bring on the patterns!

Pattern is a design element (but not one of the standard elements of design) which is a must for any interior design, and can be easily be accomplished.

While pattern not one of the standard elements of design, it is a part of a very important design principle - repetition. Pattern also can play a key factor in other arenas - texture at times, as well as line, and color - all of which definitely ARE standard elements of design. The only challenge with utilizing pattern in an interior design - is not to overdo it, or mix patterns inappropriately. We'll talk about that later.

Here's some do's and don'ts for implementing pattern into your space - with style.

DO a preliminary check on your colors.

Don't go out and buy patterned pillows because you're 'drawn to them'. Then you'll be stuck trying to design a room around a pillow - and while it's CERTAINLY possible for me to do this if you want me to (I am a very confident interior designer - it only depends on your budget!) - I can tell you as an interior designer - it's not optimal to plan your design around an object. Take objects as inspiration - sure, but try not to base an entire space's design around a cool table runner you found at market. It'll be more expensive for you - trust me.

So - Before you select your pattern, and what/how/where you will use it in your design - keep in mind that a lot will depend on your overall color scheme. Strong solids on walls or furniture, wall hangings, window treatments - would dictate utilizing smaller elements of pattern and perhaps in a lighter value (for monochromatic colors already being used in your design) as well as complimentary hues to your main color. They should always blend nicely and complement your design. If you have strong navy blue walls, for example - you don't want to go get a matching navy curtains with tiny cream colored dots. They'll be lost in the wall color; and you won't be able to see or feel anything from them except MORE NAVY. Rather - you want to accentuate the beautiful DEPTH of your navy walls - so, you might find cream colored curtains with a cool navy toile pattern - to really make the windows pop; and add a nice sense of texture to the space.

DO know when to tone it down.

We're going to talk a moment about mixing patterns, and over-doing patterns. With mixing patterns - just try to remember to keep it SIMPLE+EXTRAVAGANT! Simple - meaning keep it simple. We're talking stripes, dots - a SIMPLE pattern. Couple it with a beautiful, more extravagant pattern such as paisley, damask, or toile - as long as there's not tons of damask + paisley + toile + big ole' stripes - (which could make even young people go into cardiac arrest - be warned) you'll be doing nicely.

Checks and stripes can easily be coupled with florals or other patterns, and are a very simple way to mix patterns to add a bit more interest to the design.

And here's a tip: if you're looking to add pattern, but do not want to overdo it, simply look for a small weaved fabric, GENTLY monochromatic or solid in color - the weave will add a bit of dimension and is a pattern to boot. You'll be killing two birds with one stone - adding dimension and pattern - without adding anything that will distract from your already exquisite design.

On overdoing it - certainly the previously described pattern combination would definitely fall under this category as well - but for example, if you already have pattern on your walls - and pattern on your sofa - then your goal should not be to try and add MORE pattern. It should be to complement the patterns you already have - by toning then down a bit.

So whether you're adding new patterns or complementing the ones you have - think about what your goals are for your design; and layer in the right colors and patterns to bring out the very best in your interior.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quick Change STYLE

Summer is upon us (officially!) and Fall is just around the corner. Many remodel or redesign in cooler weather, but sometimes it's easy to feel a little stagnant mid-season with regard to the look and feel of our interior space. A quick decorating change in order to lift our spirits!

There are unlimited QUICK AND EASY design or accessory changes you can make to truly refresh your design or even transform it into something totally different. You don't have to be an interior designer to make a quick change - in fact, it's a great way to spruce up your home between remodels or redesigns.

It's all about the layering of the space - between the base (space, layout, walls, floors) and the necessities (furniture pieces and their arrangement) and accessories (rugs, paintings, etc).

Paint your room! A quick paint job is an inexpensive way to transform the actual perception of a room - you can make an area appear larger, brighten up a windowless space or just change the way it appears by an inexpensive (flat) paint job.

Maybe you need to bring money and luck into your life - rearrange the furniture and choose a color to shift the energy through Feng Shui. The ancients used color for wellness in all areas of their life - and it's amazing what a quick color change in your living areas can do to freshen up a design, or totally transform it.

Certainly, there are wonderful faux finishes you could implement if you're looking to add some 'texture' and 'dimension' to the walls specifically, but we can add texture and dimension to a space in other ways - much more quickly.

Don't have time to paint the whole house or room? Here's a cool idea - paint a mural, or apply a design treatment to the CEILING (as long as you don't have the dreaded popcorn ceiling - which is never fun to try and remove.) - it'll quick-change the entire room in an ultra-hip way.

ACCESSORIZE, ACCESSORIZE, ACCESSORIZE: Add a rug or change out the lamps. Adding a rug is so easy - and you can find a rug that will bring a whole new style to your space.

For example, to add a touch of 'Africa' - opt for a faux Zebra print rug - it will add both pattern and texture to your room in one instant - and a touch of the exotic.

If your home is more traditional - add a more traditional style rug. You'll still gain additional color, pattern and texture to your room.

If you have patterned wallpaper, or patterned furniture - opt for a solid color rug so that the space doesn't get too busy.

Add new pillows to your sofa. Check and update your window treatments (this is a BIG ONE!) You wouldn't believe how many homes keep the same draperies or window treatments for (seems like) centuries. Try to stay with the times on this one - and don't overlook them just because they don't do much!

And accessorize with plants - they're a great way to bring nature INSIDE, and they add color and texture immediately. A well placed plant can truly bring the outdoors in - and brighten up the whole room.

TURN ON THE LIGHTS: Swap out the lamps with something more simple, or more ornate - depending on your goals for the design. Or add some lighting behind your larger pieces - such as a nice stand alone lamp to gently hover over your couch or sofa.

ADD SOME ART: Maybe it's a painting, maybe it's a piece of sculpture or some sort of installation piece; either way - there's tons of great local artists and galleries to choose that perfect piece for your home. Browse our furniture showroom for some beautiful pieces - whatever your design style! We like to think of our showroom as an art gallery - of furniture and home accessories!

There are tons of things you can do to spruce up your home without breaking the bank. Think of it as an in-between refresher to keep your design fresh.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Entertaining Exteriors

Custom designed outdoor living spaces are not just a hit in Texas, they're growing in popularity all over the country.

Exterior design trends over the last few years include outdoor kitchens and eating areas, luxurious sitting areas with fireplaces or fire pits, stand-alone bars and other arrangements, too that are perfect for outdoor entertaining or just enjoying fresh outdoor air.

Patios lined with lush foliage, floored with beautiful tile or durable, hip stained concrete and arranged with weather-safe furniture and accessories are being enjoyed coast-to-coast.

Certainly, a custom designed exterior space means increased home value for any residence that has an exquisite outdoor space.

Interestingly, there is a trend of large companies providing comfortable, outdoor areas for employees and visitors as well. Businesses are providing a relaxing, outdoor 'oasis' of sorts for meetings, entertaining and recreation.

Common materials used in outdoor furniture include redwood, cedar, teak, plastic, steel and aluminum. It's important to make sure your design includes the best quality furniture, and that it's up to the task of standing up to the weather - wherever you are.

Exterior design in Texas might require a bit of special planning, since Texas is one of the hottest states in the union. Depending on the location of your outdoor space (is it on a rooftop? a third or fourth story? which direction does it face?) you might need to consider the comfort of those enjoying your space with regard to the heat. Perhaps you will want to consider a misting system to cool off those relaxing outdoors. Another thing to consider are shade options: consider custom built awnings or overhead canopies, as well as the possibility of utilizing exterior fabric and curtains to bring a sense of 'breezy style' to your patio, and also to cool your guests.

Stay cool - and enjoy your summer!

Faux Finishes and Traditional Style

Dallas Interior Designer Douglas Bradford, owner of J. Douglas Design, Inc, was featured in Texas Home and Living for integrating the elegant traditional style the client requested, and artistic touches with faux finishes and upscale accessories.

The client was worried that the color and finish of the walls would be too dark - but allowed Douglas artistic freedom - and it resulted in the perfect fusion of tradition, elegance and artistic flair. See how it all turned out - read the whole article here.