You might have always think that you know what you like and want. Say, you like moody and dramatic but when you actually sees the style (colors, furniture and finishes) unfolding in front of you that you realize you actually prefer your home to be light and bright, this scenario is really not that uncommon. It makes planning —mood boards, 3D designs and designers all the more important. So before you swing that hammer…
Most people only find their true match after they’ve started exploring other styles and are presented with different options. If you’re thinking wow it sounds a lot like relationship; yes it is! You might have always think that a certain type of guy/girl is for you but you might end up much more happier with a very different kind of person (don’t be surprise!). Yes, you sort of know what you can compromise and what you can’t. But it’s very important for a relationship to continue evolving much like an individual should. And your home should be able to evolve with you (and your partner/family).
We look for different qualities in the person that we want to spend the rest of our lives with. Finding your true home style is a lot like this. If you know someone with a beautiful home that reflects their personality, they are people who rank their home within their top three priorities in life. We, humans excel in things we deem important to us. Are you ready to rid of the misconception? Follow these 7 steps (read on) –
Textures and Finishes
Industrial style with shiny polished floor, heavy drapery for Scandinavian. Mistakes like such can actually be easily avoided. First, a good understanding of what made the style is very very important. Image left is Ace Hotel London, a hotel that doesn’t feel like one (more like home). I remember seeing photos from this hotel the very first time and fell in love. I’m shocked because I’m not one who likes Industrial style for my home (it’s just not us) but Ace Hotel is different. It’s amazingly well designed.
Industrial style doesn’t mean bare/concrete/unfinished floor, you can use carpet and especially if you lives in a rental with wall to wall carpeting (that you can’t rip out!). Use masculine colors for carpet/rugs or even better try Persian rug. You can lay rug on top of existing carpet. Avoid overly reflective surfaces; even when choosing metals, avoid the polished and shiny ones.
I am a believer of no exact right or wrong when it comes to design and styling but there ARE guidelines that make sure that every outcome turn out awesome. And everyone wants awesome. If you find yourself unable to stick within one or two styles, you can always opt for the Eclectic look (which is a mixture of styles). There is NO shame in not having a strong style (or theme, please don’t use this word). A home with basic finishes layered with cohesive furniture and furnishing is a ton better than a home with a messy design that at best is amateurish. Ouch! Harsh word I know.
So what happens if you’ve decided to go Eclectic? A very important “rule” is to stick within a color palette. Neutral color palette is getting a bad rep for only using two, three colors. The right way to do it is to utilize base color(s), accent colors and colors from the same family. Don’t forget to layer textures. It’s only when you do not do this that your home risk looking like black and white photos or white-on-white/beige-on-beige because there’s no depth (everything just look two dimensional).
And on the other hand, having too many things and too many colors out on display can make your home look messy all the time even when you’re a tidy person. Because humans are visual creatures. The above home practices the repeat of several colors throughout; the blue from the rug resonates with the bright blue chair. The Persian rug by the entry allows the homeowner to layer multi-colored pillows on the grey couch. Green plants soften the overall look. Just like the balance of yin and yang, a home that reminds you the balance of nature will always look good.
A good way to make sure you have a plan before you start is to do something like this. Able to see textures and colors at a glance helps you to determine if you need more masculine/cool colors to balance off an overly feminine/warm colors space and vice versa before you even purchase anything that might turn out to be totally out of place. This same theory can be applied when styling your table tops and bookshelf. A home with a pull together design is cohesive and harmonious.
Interior designer Orlando Soria moved into a 1984 condo and instead of giving it an extreme makeover, he cleverly cleaned up the space by removing unnecessary dropped ceilings, extending the hallway so that he can display arts on the wall. He also didn’t want to make a complete departure from its 80s root, the transformation is the updated version of the once depressing space.
Respecting the history, type of build and architectural features of your home can save you a ton of money. Many people are baffled at beautiful historical homes being purchased and then turned into complete contemporary style instead of embracing and updating it. In the country that I live in (which is essentially a city), my new home (coming soon) is a high rise modern apartment and to turn it into something it’s not (say, Victorian style) requires a lot more. A lot. More on this later.
I’m not saying that you should never try to make your home exactly how you like it. But consider how you want to spend your money when renovating because (we all know) it can be expensive. Never underestimate the cost of a home renovation. By focusing on colors, textures and furniture to reflect your style, it will prove to be more beneficial in the long run. Also if you do plan to sell your home in future, prospective homeowners prefer neutral homes where they can see how it can easily be made into their own.
If you are still determined to make your modern apartment into Victorian style or Industrial loft, you should be aware that without a good understanding of design and style, not only can it end up being very costly but the outcome looking amateurish. I recommend seeking professional help from a designer.
I am determined to rid the world of using theme to describe the style of a home. Well, if you do not understand why trying to turn a non Victorian home into one requires A LOT of effort, try looking at the above two homes. Look at the millwork, the turret with leaded glass windows and that ceiling medallion. Let’s just be honest, a modern apartment trying to replicate these features will never be half as good as an authentic Victorian home. If you own an actual Victorian style home (lucky you!), whether it’s Traditional style furniture (left) or Modern (right), which one to go for depends on your personal style.
A builder basic home can look amazing with the right combination of colors and soft furnishings. Traditional and Victorian style furniture can look right in a modern setting, the key is to go with the flow of nature, not against it.
A home with a theme is a cup of water filled to the brim, when your home is the reflection of your style, we should always leave room to spread out.
Another misconception is that Modern and Contemporary styles are boring. This is most likely due to the fact that almost all new builds are Modern/Contemporary (and yes, there is a difference between the two). When you see too much of the same thing you start to think urgh, this one is just another repeat of the previous one. You might think that it’s cheaper and easier (which is true) to just buy Contemporary furniture (cough, espresso finish) due to the fact that they are mass produced.
It really doesn’t mean that if your home is Modern/Contemporary it has no personality. The bad reputation of Contemporary style comes from cheap and generic espresso finish furniture that are so widely available as well as showrooms with furniture that comes in a set (note:not the same as specifically custom made furniture). Investing in good quality pieces that you truly love is one big step towards your dream home. Modern and Contemporary are flexible styles that can easily be mixed with other styles (even Traditional) and no well designed home should ever look cheap.
As an individual, we don’t stop progressing; we aim to become better. Your home should never stop and that’s why it’s never done. Like done done. Renovation can end but your home continues to evolve with you. Some designer homes get a bad rap because it’s detached from the people who lives there; sometimes a home is designed solely based on a vision from the designer and it cannot evolves with you because it’s not part of you to begin with and it.just.stops.there.
As your style evolves, maybe there are things you used to love but no more as you discovers new interests (and you always do). Much like a teenager finds it awkward to continue staying in a room that was designed when he/she was a toddler (function aside). Have your home designed in a way so that it’s easy for you to add or subtract. A home designed with two to three styles is easier to furnish in the long run as you can buy things that are of different styles. And frankly, there is no reason that you should limit yourself to one (unless you’re married to it, of course). ;)
Misconception such as “Minimalist and Industrial styles are cheap to do because they requires little furnishing and no upholstery, bare walls and basic flooring”.
The truth? Don’t make the mistake of choosing to go for a certain style simply because it’s cheap to do it. Don’t. Because no style is actually cheap, if you’re really really tight on budget say you’re living in a rental and don’t plan to spend too much or simply because you’re a student and can’t afford to spend so much. Focus on things that your body touches that makes you comfortable like how.a.home.should.be. Things like pillows/throws, cushions that has your favorite colors (that makes you happy and brightens your day), the chair that you spend a lot of time on, the couch that welcomes you home. Kitchen cookware if you’re the kind that is passionate about cooking. Add plants, add art (you can even draw yourself) or make art out of photos of family and friends.
While you’re focusing on making the space better for you, yourself—you will soon start to see a certain style unfolds, your style. Your home style is something that comes natural to you (hint: look into your closet) and not something you wake up and decide, let’s do Minimalist because it’s cool or because my friend’s Minimalist house is cool.
When you think of Minimalist style, do you think white on white? White walls, white furniture, plastic chairs (Eames chair, the cheap replicas?), cold and sterile LED tube lighting? No need for window treatment, no need for hanging arts.
You want to know what comes to mind when I think of Minimalist style? Open and vast space, natural light and tall ceiling or picture window, sculptural chair that also serves as art, one big piece of statement artwork, functional and beautiful lighting (so beautiful that you can stare at it whole day), use of sturdy natural materials such as wood, stone, metals and greenery (plants). See the difference? I’m not a brand conscious person (and to be honest with you I don’t like buying branded stuff), what I’m saying is you can always tell a difference between authentic and imitation.
The more you open your mind to other styles (without prejudice or misconception), the more you can start to see what you truly like and don’t. Industrial style often gives people the impression of hard and unfinished surfaces that screams more warehouse than home. The solution? Add a statement making leather sofa (note: a good quality one doesn’t come cheap). Industrial style relies a lot on conveying masculinity. You see, a style can get a bad rap when it’s taken too literally and when it’s cheaply done. Want concrete walls but still prefer to have softness in your home? A chunky sofa like this one works perfectly. Advice like these are what a good designer should be able to offer you. You should never be shoehorned into one style by anyone.
A good designer focuses on finding out what you like and don’t which will give him/her a good idea of your true style. Yes, it’s essentially a style diagnosis. Designer should be able to translate your personality into your home. A “designer” who draws floor plans and coordinate reno for you is more like a project manager, or you could just simply hire a contractor to do the job.
In short; Step 1- 7 (1) A good understanding of different styles with no prejudice or misconception, (2) Working within a color palette, (3) Always consider the style of your house/apartment (including the exterior) as part of your design plan, (4) Not overloading your home with a “theme”, (5) Aim for maximum livability in the long run, (6) Inject your own personality with things you love, (7) Understand that no style is cheap and always involve step 1 – 6 when determine how much you can/want/have to spend on the design of your home.
A little update from me; we are happy to announce that we’ve officially hired a contractor for our upcoming new home renovation (finally!). My new home is a modern high rise 2-room apartment (the highest floor is 38th). It’s a new build consists of a total of five blocks, the first two blocks will be collecting keys first. It took five years from construction to completion (gasp! I know). More updates coming on the blog in July, stay tuned. :)
All words by me and featured image from PRETTYPEGS