The first step in designing any space is to know your boundaries. It's likely you do not have $100,000 to design your space and, no matter when you start, it won't be finished by next week. By simply setting a date on your calendar by when you'd like to have it designed, and setting a few budgetary guidelines, you can begin working backwards to meet your design needs.
Most rooms in the house have a clear function. The bedroom is for slumber, the bathroom for bathing, the kitchen for cuisine and the office for work. Consequently, each of these rooms has a focal point (the bed in the bedroom, for instance), which is the starting point for furniture placement, color schemes and decorating ideas. The focal point in the living room, however, is not always so clear. Thus it must be intentionally selected. HINT: Do NOT let it be the television. Instead, it could be an antique hutch or a large picture window with a great view.
Remove everything from your walls, tables and flat surfaces and start fresh. In a contemporary space, less is more. Your eye needs a chance to breathe as it looks across the room. It's not necessary to strip the home of all personal touches, but designate just one area for personal photos and use frames that are similar in color or material for a clean look.
Once you're left with the bare bones of your accessories, consider the following for your decorative displays:
1. Play the odds. Group items in threes and fives to create a modern look.
2. Consider scale. Contemporary rooms are symmetrical. Keep proportion in mind to avoid an unbalanced look.
3. Don't be a matchmaker. Use accent pieces like pillows and lamps in similar colors and styles to give the space a cohesive feel without being too matchy-matchy. Mismatched art and objects in a unified color actually complement each other. A hodgepodge of red items like a stack of books with red bindings, a red glass bowl and some red cricket balls or bunch of apples, can bring a striking focus to a shelf.
4. Group your furniture. Too many stand-alone objects make a space look jumbled and messy, the antithesis of a modern space.
Remember that good design is about comfort and functionality, and about blending styles that work for everyone in the home.
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