Get Your Own Designer Look #1: Vision Quest

It’s a look.

Is it yours?

Louis XIV Bedroom - from

What Would A Designer Do?

Interior designers often seem to be magical creatures that can effortlessly create beautiful environment on demand…and maybe a few actually are magical and do just that.

With or without magic, however, what all designers do is create their own bag of tricks, learned from a multitude of experiences of designing and producing the basics, and the details of good home design.

A “designer look” is actually quite specific.

All details are very “considered” in every way. That “pulled together” quality comes from an astute assessment of the necessary, the unwanted and the perfect addition of just the right amount of “Fabulous”. What results is a combination of  beauty, comfort, and pizzazz with a minimum of the stuff in-between.

While interior design is the most layered and complicated of all art forms.

It’s rooted by necessity in practical application.

Arm yourself with the following “tricks of wonder” as well as the essential “don’t do this” guidelines, and you will be well on your way to creating your own Home Design Magic.

Set the bones

Before any other consideration, you need to have a functioning furniture arrangement for every room. It helps to think in terms of giving your furniture something to do. What will you want your furniture to provide for comfort, practicality and attractiveness?

For example, in your living room, (multi-purpose or not), you’ll want a conversation area and comfortable seating for everyone. A sofa, two chairs flanking or opposing and a coffee table in the middle close enough for everyone to set down drinks or food is a classic solution.

Look for opportunities to place your groupings on the diagonal. Instant chic. Even just getting the furniture to float off the walls will give your room a more sophisticated look. Be careful that the natural traffic flow from one area to another doesn’t run through your arrangement if at all possible. Allow 26”- 36” inches minimum width for the possible pathways surrounding the area.

Be mindful of scale. Big furniture will need big coffee and end tables, along with beefier lamps. A little chair next to a huge sofa looks silly. Conversely, keep the “little” furniture with the “smaller supporting acts”.

Big furniture and big art in small rooms packs a great wallop if done right. Make sure there is no extra furniture, clutter or excess of any kind.

Focus Where?

A focal point is the first place your eye lands when you enter a room. Fireplaces are a good example of this, but entertainment units, bay or picture windows can also serve the same purpose. This is your starting location to arrange your major pieces of furniture according to need and purpose.

If no natural focal point exists, make one. Folding screens can work on the shortest wall opposite the entry, as can extra large flower arrangements on tables, or even a large scale art grouping.

After establishing the main focal point, look for other “focal point opportunities”. The main idea is that the eye always be given something attractive to land on whenever possible. Other locations are the ends of corridors, the landings and the tops of staircases too. Easy gestures are all it takes. A piece of art, a good-sized mirror or even the odd (meaning it’s not part of a set) chair will work fine. A tall cabinet set on an angle or an indoor tree can be the answer for those empty corners. Using up-lights behind a tree looks great.

Next time: Get Your Own Designer Look #2: Balancing Act

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Decor Aid: Where Do I Start?

Household Clutter Control #1: Keep A Firm Grip On The Obvious

Mixing Decor For Two #1: Your Style

Wall Color Selection #8: Perfect Wall Color

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This part of a recent article I wrote for publication on It’s represented here as a foundation for further topic discussion, updates and commentaries…

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One thought on “Get Your Own Designer Look #1: Vision Quest”

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