Oh, grow up.
All things will not work together willy-nilly just because you like them.
You still have to Think before mixing.
Mix Masters: Great designers mix the “lux” with the lowly and the exotic with the traditional too. Is the actual cost of any item relevant to the process?
How do they do this? That Pulled Together Look comes from an astute assessment of the necessary, removal of the undesirable and the addition of just the right amount of Fabulous. The result combines beauty, comfort and pizzazz with a minimum of the stuff in-between.
How do you do this. Before you dash out in search of the world’s wonders, use a punch-list to determine the actual state of your interior affairs. It’s most important to understand that every gesture you make in a room is relevant. Each element contributes, (or not) to the success of the over-all big picture of a beautiful, comfortable home.
The question of how to mix styles can’t be answered until you have established clarity and direction with what you already own and the rooms where your belongings live.
Regardless of style, your furniture has to be arranged in a functional way. Check each room. Does it serve the intended purpose? Determine realistically what needs to be addressed for serviceability and appeal.
Look around your home and answer these questions as they apply:
- Have the focal points in each room been used effectively?
- Do you have conversation areas in the public rooms where speaking out loud may include persons other than yourself?
- Are there a variety of tables or surfaces conveniently located next to where you might sit?
- Is the scale of your furnishings appropriate to the room and to each other? Tiny tables next to huge chairs look silly.
- Is the furniture placed in an interesting way or lined up against the walls, Dance Hall Style? Is there enough space between pieces of furniture to pass though without fear of bruising yourself?
- Do you have too much furniture? Which pieces can be deleted and never missed?
- Are the upholstered pieces still serviceable? Do they need to be slip-covered, reupholstered or simply thrown out and replaced?
- Have you provided light sources for the tasks assigned to each area as well as general ambient lighting?
- Most windows need some sort of covering, if only for the sake of privacy. Does your solution work well and attractively?
- A spiffed up décor won’t look great if you have neglected the floors. You might opt to refinish or paint wood floors or tile, stone, linoleum or cork them. Rugs demarcate areas and, along with carpets, “ground” your rooms and furniture arrangements.
- Does each room have a cohesive look or look like a bargain basement of one-off’s? Pairs such as end-tables and table lamps etc. are fast-track magic to instantly make any room look like you know what you are doing, regardless.
- Have you used colors, tones and textures effectively, or have they just moved in and used you?
- Are the accessories and artwork placed to best advantage?
These details are the bones of your design scheme. Without an organized structure that answers to your comfort and needs in an attractive way, you are only storing your furnishings, not living with them.
Button up before you go out. In other words, check to be sure you really have made the best possible use of what you already have.
There’s no point to searching for the perfect solution if you already own it.
Winging it is for Wing Men. Notions like “You’ll know it when you see it”, is actually a set-up for not recognizing the right thing when you see it. Be clear on the features and benefits (price range too, of course) that are most important. It’s not a bad idea to compile notes of what you need and what you need to rethink.
Clarity rules when venturing out to discover what new additions will give you the most Bang At Any Price.
The original version of this article was published on Hamptons.com. It’s presented here as a foundation for further discussion.