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Designer secrets and… “tricks of the trade”

Elvis Elvis

Does it ever seem like Designers and Decorators have some sort of magic touch? They aren’t intimidated by even the ugliest of interiors, and make them over to look unrecognizable. Is it just natural talent? Or do they have secrets that the rest of us can use? We’ll give you a hint…

They have secrets!

So…let’s skip past the four years of design school, the exhausting internships and late nights in the office preparing for yet another presentation to a demanding client!

You don’t need years of experience to create amazing interiors…just our top secret tricks for beautiful, professional looking results.

  • Trick the Eye:

    Designers are tricky people. They use sly, secretive tricks of eye to fool you into perceiving certain facts about a space that just aren’t true! Through the creative use of mirrors, color and artful placement of objects they can completely transform a room.

    Low ceilings? Use wallcovering with vertical stripes to fool the eye.

    Small windows? Hang window treatments closer to the ceiling to elongate and make the window appear larger.

    Crampt dining room? Line one wall with mirrors to make it reflect light and seem to go on forever.

    Living room like a bowling alley? Paint the back wall a dark color to draw the eye forward.

  • Customize It:

    While the rest of us spend three years pounding the pavement looking for just-the-right bookcase for the living room, a designer cuts corners. They have it built! Custom millwork can be a surprisingly affordable and ideal option for many people.

    In addition, a good designer will customize everything from flooring to sofas…adding insets, changing an arm style or simply beefing up or adding trim work and crown moldings to make a room feel richer.

  • Quality Counts:

    Designers KNOW quality. They know when it’s important and when it can be sacrificed to save a budget. Having a few high quality objects in a home can set the tone and distract the eye from lesser pieces.

    Quality items will last longer and look better, because they are built to last and even be passed down to future generations.

  • Ruthless Editing:

    When in doubt, leave it out! Editing is the key hallmark of a design professional, whether their medium is graphic, fashion or interior design. They know what to leave in and what to leave out. Great interiors are never cluttered or oppressively accessorized.

    Compare your rooms to the quintessential “little black dress”. Picture it with pearls, heels, and a purse. Nice. Now add leg warmers, bangle bracelets, a straw hat, umbrella and ski poles. Ughh! Be diligent: don’t let this happen to your home!

  • Luxurious Lifestyle:

    Designers always create an underlying lifestyle statement in their interiors. All rooms send messages that tell you how to feel in a space. Designers take advantage of this and use visual cues to express this voice.

    The vase of flowers next to the bed…the glossy travel books stacked elegantly on the coffee table… the cashmere throw, artfully tossed on the overstuffed chair. Don’t forget these smallest of elements; they will go a long way in expressing your vision.

  • Don’t Match.

    Good designers tend to avoid “matching”, whether with color, pattern or furniture. They coordinate.

    The difference is interest: a sofa, loveseat and chair all upholstered in the same blue chenille can be pretty boring. So can the classic dining room “set” with matching table, chairs and hutch. Dynamic interiors mix things up a bit, and look richer!

  • Basic Understanding:

    The design Basics are the foundation of any project…get any of them wrong and your project will be doomed from the start. Designers know these basics instinctively, through a good eye and years of practice.

    You can learn them too, by doing your homework and trial and error. What do you need to know? Scale is crucial and color theory is helpful. A basic understanding of design history will take you far, as well as an engrained “appropriateness” factor against which all ideas will be judged.

  • Harness Light:

    Interior lighting can make or break a space. Both the fixture designs themselves and the effects they create: contrast and shadowing from spotlights create drama, picture lights and wall washers emphasize, and dimmer switches add mood. Creating lighting “scenes” for parties, romance, evening, work, play and away.

    Go beyond using just basic overhead fixtures and start creating beautiful interiors by simply using the power of light to your advantage!

  • Material Messages:

    Materials themselves convey feelings that will be reflected in your home…a sense of casual relaxation or formal richness, cozy warmth or refreshing cool. Designers keep these material messages in the forefront of their minds when making appropriate material choices.

    In addition, they use variety of finish to create interest and emphasize. Compare the classic combinations of slick stainless steel with rich, matte limestone…rough hewn wood cabinetry with shiny granite counters. These characteristic and textural differences play up and highlight BOTH materials’ best features.

    Designer secrets and... tricks of the trade

  • Bring to Life:

    A room is never finished until you’ve included something natural. Whether living or preserved, natural objects enhance our modern, hi-tech lifestyles. Try a beautiful, large floor plant or pots of herbs on your windowsill.

    No green thumb? Preserved plants are amazingly beautiful (no artificial please!), cut bamboo stalks will live happily for many, many months in a little water and a beautiful bowl of apples or lemons will coexist happily with your décor. Change these seasonally to reflect mood and climate changes.

  • Celebrate Uniqueness

    In an era when everyone on the planet seems to shop at the same stores and showrooms, designers still create unique rooms over and over again. How? They know there’s a time and place for chain stores, and they use them for what they’re worth. The key is to not become handicapped.

    Search the mom and pop stores, antique stores and the adorable hole-in-the wall you found on vacation. Look for unique signature pieces and one of a kind collectables. These additions will make your home rich, inspiring and unlike any other.

  • Create Impact

    Designers know the value and importance of creating impact. Just like a movie, every good interior has “main characters” and “supporting roles”. A beautiful interior balances these roles. Excessive, visually overwhelming spaces are filled with signature elements that cry out for attention. Bland spaces are weak with underwhelming objects that were designed for supporting roles.

    The ever popular design method “Fill your home with ONLY objects you adore” leaves you dangerously unprotected against imbalance…as we usually gravitate towards pieces of similar style and tone. Select your key pieces first, and then balance them…a lovely interior will be your reward.