Interior Design Baffles You? 5 Basics You Should Know

If putting together a room to rival a staged home in a model home is not one of your strengths, don’t fret. As long as you learn the basics, you won’t end up in a boring, forgettable, uninviting house.

It really doesn’t matter what your household budget is for home decor and furniture, it’s all relative. Once you learn the key components used by professional interior designers, you can raid garage sales, thrift stores, and Craigslist to achieve that put-together look you envision.

The five things you should know are:

  • Having a focal point is the starting point. When you walk into your main family room, you want something that is the main attraction. This is oftentimes the television or fireplace. It could also be a unique piece of furniture or an ornate rug.
  • Always keep scale and proportion in mind. This means if you have a big room, you don’t want to shortchange yourself on furniture. Otherwise the room will just look large and bare. Likewise, if you’re furnishing a small room, don’t buy that huge, overstuffed sectional. It will crowd the room and won’t be inviting. If you’re looking for artwork and wall decor, make sure the art you choose doesn’t get swallowed up by the wall. You want to consider how individual items fit into the room as a whole; this is proportion.
  • Color is key. The color you choose for a room, more than any other design element, evokes mood. In general, red is considered the highest energy color. It’s good for dining rooms because it draws people together and tends to increase appetite. Blues and greens tend to soothe and are popular choices for bedrooms and bathrooms. Yellow hues invoke a happy, inviting feeling and are a good choice for a kitchen. Purple provides a luxurious, rich feel and is a popular bedroom color. Although color experts offer suggestions, the colors you choose have to reflect your tastes and personality, so always let that be your primary guide.
  • Design with a rhythm in mind. Blend similar elements or accent colors. One popular, easy way to incorporate rhythm into your design is using three candles or vases of graduated sizes: small, medium and large. You should also be mindful of transitions. Use hall runners that incorporate colors of your main family room and colors in the bedrooms that the hall is connected to.
  • Contrast is key. You can follow all these principles and still be left with a room that gives you the blahs. The way to infuse interest is to provide some contrast. This is usually done with color: black and white; orange and purple or blue; red and shades of green. Contrasting colors should come in small bursts or pops: pillows on the sofa, lampshades, small appliances or teakettles in the kitchen, a vase with contrasting color flowers. It’s important not to overdo the contrast or it becomes very hard on the eye and just looks like a big, jumbled mess.
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You can find more interior design and remodeling information for homeowners at Movoto Real Estate, an online brokerage that serves home buyers and owners.