In certain things in life there is an accepted way, a common wisdom that most people accept and absorb and follow more or less unconsciously, instinctively if you will. You see this in the way people dress, act, and most importantly for today’s discussion, the way we design and decorate.
To an extent, this is a good thing. Society wouldn’t function if everyone was an iconoclast all the time, inventing new ways to make coffee in the morning. Language in itself would not exist at all, being working example of acceptance of community definitions in entirety. Sometimes, though, it’s necessary to choose your own path and make things totally, 100% personal. Decorating your home is one of those times.
The Traditional Way
Decorating your home usually involves a few simple principles, which are all sound:
- Select a colour palette
- Choose a basic style
- Find flooring and furniture that fit your look
- Paint the walls
- Add wall art like canvas prints and other items to complement everything.
And that’s fine for specific rooms around your house. But this room-centric approach often leads to different visual experiences in each room, which can make them feel like islands of isolated design work, disconnected from each other and the rest of the house. This feeling can be exacerbated if the rooms are redecorated at different times.
Applying Design Everywhere
A way to conquer this problem is to forget some of the ‘rules’ of traditional home design and start thinking in terms of decorating everywhere. Don’t think of your rooms as isolated spots within the house, think of them as interconnected areas that flow into each other. In other words, consider the journey guests take through your home: From the entryway, they go to the living room for cocktails. Then to the dining room for dinner. They’ll visit the bathroom and the kitchen, and finish the evening in the lounge or family room, possibly even spending the night in the spare bedroom.
Then, look for opportunities to design and add decoration in less-than obvious places. The entryway is a good start – some canvas art or other design elements can turn a perfunctory space for shedding jackets and umbrellas into a pleasing first experience for guests.
Staircase landings are another spot often forgotten when you design room by room, and an ideal place for a vibrant print or other art.
Another unusual place where a bit of wall art or other design can have a real moment of impact? Wardrobes, especially walk-in-robes, actually, are places where design usually goes to die, becoming congested with clothes and clutter. Think twice and open them up with something pleasant to look at – on the wall, the door, even the floor!
Finally, when painting your newly-designed home, consider your rooms as a whole and think about transitions. When stepping out of one room to go to another, the hall should pick up the colour palette of both and serve as a visual link between them – you could even use a gradient plan to slowly go from one shade outside of one area to another outside the next.
Whatever you decide to do to open up your home’s design, never stop thinking of new ways to have some fun with it. Once you start thinking beyond rooms the possibilities – just like the forgotten areas – are endless.