#8 Good Design Is Always Classic.
Shelter magazines are filled with the newest this or that and often the only value is pretty pictures of pretty rooms showcasing cluttered niches, overflowing plant shelves with artificial plants and sofas and chairs loaded with more than one too many pillows.
What’s the deal? Well, its usually not good design no matter the “deal.”
So whether starting from scratch or remodeling the old, the time tested value of classic design remains the best investment. Design trends + decorating fashion statements are fleeting at best and at the worst are a waste of your dollars, and only serve those in the business of selling “stuff.”
Good design comes from thoughtful planning, often identifying how you wish to work and live in a space. Good design comes from buying furnishings and fixtures that are quality and ones that will last a long time. And finally good design comes with realistic expectations. For example, you can’t turn a 50’s ranch style home into a the style of a European palace so don’t try. Doing so means creating an environment out of scale and balance, but also out of context.
But what if time and dollars don’t permit a complete makeover? Here are some considerations:
≈ If the there is a need to update, consider painting walls a different color. So much impact can be made with paint and a few dollars. Painting contractors are hungry and looking for small and large jobs.
≈ If there is a desire for a new look because family is coming, re-hang art and rearrange accessories in tighter groups leaving wider open spaces on shelves and in cabinetry as “subtracted contrast.”
≈ If there is a need to make a room work better for its intended purposes, don’t buy another piece until you have culled out all the items that are no longer useful nor functional….then move the rest around in unexpected arrangements, perhaps moving pieces from one room to the other.
≈ Now with money and efforts saved, purchase something that has timeless value and echos the style and statement you wish to make. Replacing trendy purchases repeatedly adds up to big dollars that might have well spent on updating built-in cabinetry or new window or wall coverings, or replacing items that have seen better days.
#7 Green Design Sustains Life.
At least two decades ago, a good friend and interior designer, Bernadette Upton, ASID, LEED spoke about the importance of creating sustainable environments. Today green design is becoming more popular but also more important to the world. With only a limited amount of available resources on the planet and more and more people on the earth, choosing building products, furnishings and fixtures that meet a standard of excellence and performance as well as the ability to incorporate recycled materials or be recycled when their life cycle is over suggests responsible decisions that will leave the planet with adequate resources to continue to sustain life.
So when planning for the future, choices are simple and costs are becoming competitive to other “non-green” products. Consider natural fibers for fabrics, wall and floor coverings. Choose manufactured products that are domestically made since it takes a lot of oil to ship goods from places a long distance like China. And make a commitment with your design team to select and purchase items that can be recycled and made into something else when they are ready to be replaced.
One of the new products is a commercial wallcovering that is not only flame resistant but made from recycled paper and newsprint. Great for residential purposes too, the papers feature no volatile organic compounds released into the interior environment once installed… an important consideration for people with lung disease or asthma. Selecting lighting that is energy efficient will not only save on the light bills but will reduce the American consumption of oil and gas. For more information about building your work or home environments with goods and services that will be healthy and safe for a life time of use and enjoyments, click HERE to go to the U.D Green Building Council’s website.
#6 Build Your Team Early
One of the ongoing issues we see clients face is the decision to find an interior designer sometime after the project has begun rolling. Then it happens. Some issue comes up that the builder, architect or subcontractors involved on the job can’t answer or provide a sound solution. So then the hunt begins for a design professional that will listen to the problems and provide an appropriate answer that fits the needs of the client. Other decisions critical to the project’s advancement might even be put on hold. For the chosen designer it can mean quickly spending time to understand what criteria was on the mind of the client when the project was initiated and how decisions have evolved from there. Valuable time is not only lost but often design solutions and opportunities are left to chance.
So before you put your team together, start with a few important steps. Make a list of the important objectives you want to achieve. Then review that list during interviews with two or three prospective design professionals. Once you have decided on one, assemble the team together so that you can see just how they will work together. Look for clues as they interact. The best teams are made up of part chemistry, part skill and experience and part vision. Some give and take is to be expected and encouraged. Then with a clear understanding of their roles, secure your team and let them create the design solutions on paper that will provide the answers you seek. They might even take you to places you hadn’t anticipated. That’s part of the role of a good designer,… listening and then putting skill and experience to work. Effective design teams can do that together, maximize the results and watch the dollars. And with an early start, the time frame to complete the work will be shorter as decisions will be made in concert with one another and not in a piecemeal fashion. Look for more design tips in the days to come.
Michael is an award winning interior designer based in Palm Desert, CA. He is a Professional Member of the American Society of Interior Designers and a member of the ASID College of Fellows.
As a Certified Aging In Place Specialist, he creates smart looking spaces that are safe and secure and create homes for a lifetime.
And with thirty plus years in the profession, he has honed his humor, elevated his passion for design and sharpened his wit to not take anything too seriously except his design work.