Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pet Peeves

I realize I am only an amateur designer and the only portfolio I have is in my head but when it comes to design, I have a lot of opinions. In fact, I have so many opinions and pet peeves that I've decided to compile a list. In the interest of time and also your attention span, I'll spare you the full list and stick to the highlights.

1) Art work that isn't the right size for the wall

What's the tiny thing next to the door? This simply will not do.

 All too often I see framed art that doesn't quite take up enough space and this annoys me.  When I see a small painting all by itself on a large, long wall I start to feel nervous and my eyes dart around the room looking for companions to hang next to or around it. People. If you have a large expanse of space, fill it up! Take a chance and blow up a photograph until it is so large it practically looks pixelated. Create a gallery of matching prints or hang a bunch of unrelated items a la Kate Spade's showroom. In the long run, your walls will have more visual impact and your space will feel homier and more sophisticated.
Much better, no?

2) Rooms that are too 'matchy', AKA 'theme rooms'
Something is not right! Something is quite wrong!
This really drives me crazy. I grew up watching HGTV and other design shows and while their tastes and range have improved over the years, I am concerned by the lingering attitude that a room has 'style' and is 'decorated' simply because everything in the room is coordinated. This does not show any personality nor does it show you have any taste. This only shows that you can make things match. That's just lazy decorating if you ask me! Your space will be a thousand times more interesting if there is a variety of color. Your rooms have your stuff in it and this stuff hopefully took years to accumulate! I certainly hope you have not spent the last 10 years buying things that are only Tiffany blue and chocolate brown. Decorating should be an organic process and it can take years. It should not be completed in an afternoon at HomeGoods.(Though I love me some HomeGoods.)
I know. There's a lot going on here. But isn't it exciting?!? There's so much to look at!

3) Lack of pattern and texture
Good bones but too white! And too sparse! And PLEASE buy an accent rug!
One of my former employers decided that my style is decidedly "English" because I like a lot of texture and layers and for everything to be crowded together. While she was referring to flowers, I think this also applies to my style in interior design. I adore pattern and texture. They are stimulating and sophisticated and oh so versatile. The bolder the better. Rooms that lack both pattern and texture just look flat and boring. They feel cold, like a waiting room. Even the smallest hint of pattern can make all the difference in a room so if you can't quite commit to bright colors or a big floral rug or toile wallpaper, start small and introduce patterned pillows for your couch or textured placements or tablecloths, which can be changed when you get bored. Even the smallest little touches can make all the difference.
Rooms don't require bright colors to add depth. These neutral colors emphasize the subtle patterns.

4) The 'Build a Room' Technique
This room is lovely but seriously lacks personality.
Everyone has at least one friend who is guilty of going to one store and buying the bulk of their furniture and decorative items all at once. In the age of Ikea and CB2, this isn't the worst you can do. But please for the love of god, spend the rest of your days adding in some variety so I don't walk into your house and think I have stepped into a catalog. At some point I will drink too much and start referring to your furniture by their store-given names. Do you mind if I perch on the edge of your Karlstad? Wow, I didn't know the Triumph Lounge Chair came in this color! It will happen. I promise you.
I love the variety of style and substance in this dining room.

Last but not least...

5) Design Trends
Just a few recent trends...
Hey, I love faux bois, coral and cardboard antlers as much as the next girl but if you have too many trendy items all at once, it begins to feel like you decorated with a list.  Danish Modern console? Check.  Eames Chair? Check. Birch Tree Wallpaper? In every room. I'm not saying I'm against any of these things or that I haven't fallen for at least three trends every single year but there is a line that must be drawn somewhere. Your home should be a reflection of you and your style and tastes.Who else has your taste? No one, that's who.

Let's also be honest here: sometimes we buy stuff because it is fashionable, not because it necessarily fits us. (Ahem, Skinny Jeans) God knows I love me some rainbow-colored bookshelves but they are not for everyone or for every room.  While they might look amazing against your white walls, surrounded by your neutral couch and love seat, they would look completely out of place in my living room, where they would compete with the other colors and patterns in the room. Also? Don't waste your money on something that you might get sick of in a year or two once it goes out of fashion. Books can be rearranged and that lucite chair from Ikea can be sold on Craiglist but that coat rack with a giant mustache on it that was on virtually every blog ever? In another six months no one is going to want that shit. Your tastes will change from time to time but unless you can afford to redecorate as often as you replace your toothbrush, I'd stick to stuff you know you will want to have around for forever. And by 'forever' I mean 'until you have to move and decide to overhaul your entire style from scratch'.

Images: Elle Decor, The Home Show, Domino, Real Simple, Living, EtcCB2, Apartment Theray, My Deco

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