Originally appeared in Cleveland Home Décor magazine
From finding a starting point to discovering your style, here are a few tips for creating a consistent design for your home. Why can’t designing a space to be both functioning and fashionable be as effortless as it appears in those decorator “reality” shows? It seems all you need is 24 hours, a few pieces of ultra-trendy furniture, a can of paint and a can-do attitude and…voila! Your disaster of a room is transformed into a sprawling, stunning space worthy of a visit from Architectural Digest. If only it was that easy. Anyone who has ever tried to make over an unattractive area knows that the dream of the perfect room can quickly lead to a feng shui nightmare of contrasting colors, conflicting styles and inappropriate furnishings. However, you don’ t have to be on Home & Garden Television to have an interior with a cohesive design where colors and style flow smoothly from room to room. Simply settling on a design identity can establish a consistent, coordinating appearance for your home. “Where a lot of people make mistakes is they’ll pick out something formal and something informal, then they put it all together and it just looks like mishmosh,” says Kathy Alexander, Allied ASID, of Alexander Interiors in Olmsted Falls. “One of the first things you need to do is figure out what your personal design style is.” Alexander often helps clients find their style by having them flip through decorating magazines for pictures of rooms and furnishings they find appealing. “A lot of times, people can tell you what they don’t like, but it’s way more difficult for them to articulate what it is that really thrills them,” says Alexander. “Once I see a few of the pictures, I start to see a continuity in their style choices that they might not see.” Alexander’s commitment to consistent style flow is clear in the home or a client in Great Falls, Va. The man, a bachelor and president of a large Internet company, desperately sought Alexander’s help to make over his new residence, previously owned by an decorator with a penchant for pink “Pink walls, pink carpet, pink draperies—you name it it, it was pink,” recalls Alexander. “He was this very traditional, middle-aged guy with a high-powered job who liked to entertain, but didn’t want anything too loud or boisterous He wanted something that reflected who he was and his status. The new design would revolve around an expensive purchase: a large, investment-quality Oriental rug containing beige, red and blue tones and placed in the two-story foyer. “That was going to be the starting point and the groundwork for differing sizes, storage areas and a small workspace. But along with performing a variety of function, the cabinet would have to fit perfectly into a busy area. “My unit [was going to be] on a traffic pattern and there’s a door on either side of it, so it had to be very shallow and not stick way out into the room,” she says. A custom-made carpet with blue and burgundy highlights was placed in the dining room, and the walls of the client’ s home office were covered in a rich, royal-blue tone. Alexander recommends that anyone looking to redesign a space also find a starting point to maintain a smooth flow of color and style throughout the house. “It could be a set of dishes you inherited that you want in your dining room, or it could be a piece of art, a vase, or some wild print you had your draperies made out of,” she says. No matter the reference piece, Alexander insists that finding and maintaining a theme is vital to establishing the character of your home. “I’m not saying you can’t have an eclectic look where there’s a combination of different things,” she adds. You can do whatever you want to your bedroom, because that’s considered a private room. But the public areas of the home that guests might wander into—the living room, the dining room, the foyer, the kitchen—you want a pretty consistent theme running throughout them.” “The most important thing to keep in mind,” says Kathy Alexander, “is that once you establish what your design style or theme is, stick to it.”
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