Tag Archives: interior design professional

8 things an interior designer will notice about your home

As a designer, I know first hand that everyone’s taste is different. When I’m hired to professionally assess a space though, I do notice a number of specifics, both good and bad, about your home. How organized you are, how your children and pets behave, and which space your family uses the most are just a few. Don’t worry though-I’m not judging, but making observations that will help me design the best solutions for your lifestyle. Here’s a list of the top things I notice the moment I walk through the front door.

The Flow

Does the furniture placement in a room promote good traffic flow through the space? When there is too much or awkwardly arranged furniture, a room may not be optimally used. Rearranging pieces to create a natural path in and out of the space may be one of the first things we do.

Good room flow
J. Rhodes Interior Design, Inc.

The Lighting

I’ve talked about this before, how a room is lit is critical to it’s function and ambiance. Applying a layered approach with general illumination, task and accent lighting sources is key to a well lit room.

Layered lighting design
Restoration Hardware

The Little Items

Most interior designers dream of an uncluttered space, where one can appreciated the stunning architecture or thoughtfully arranged furniture. Many times, I enter a room and am besieged by all tchotchke that cover every surface. Just because you own it doesn’t mean it needs to be on display.

Uncluttered table

The Windows

How your windows are treated tells me a lot about how you use a room. Windows that are tightly covered tells me you value your privacy while untreated windows say bring in the sunshine. It’s a topic we will need to address when designing the space.

Window treatment design
Hunter Douglas

The Woodwork

High quality door casing, crown molding, and cabinetry make up the bones of a space. Well proportioned trim creates a layer of interest and the opportunity to accent with color or incorporate lighting.

Pretty ceiling details

The Smell

Pets, cooking odor and strong scented candles can often overwhelm the casual visitor. Most of us have become inured to our homes odors, but an outsider can pick up the scent right away and it can be most unwelcome. Open the windows, use the kitchen and bath exhaust fans religiously or run the HVAC fan clear out stale spaces.

Cooking smells

The Pillows

Two, sad lumpy throw pillows on the sofa does not constitute a welcoming vibe. Adding throws and fresh plump pillows will go a long way to making a space cozy.

Pillows and throws
Surya

The Bathroom

The condition of your bathroom tells me a lot about your lifestyle and the possible solutions I can offer. Unorganized, cluttered countertops and towels on the floor are mostly a symptom of the bath’s design or lack there of.

Uncluttered bathroom

Mr. H says: Good houses take work-Enjoy!

Seven Essential Interior Design Rules

While interior design trends are ever evolving there are some fundamental design rules that are worth adhering to for an interior that performs beautifully.

Live With It

The key to a well designed space is to have a well defined plan.  Part of that plan, especially when on a budget, is to make decisions once you have used the room for awhile.  Taking the time to amass the different elements of a space gives you time to evaluate each piece and how the next one will fit into the scheme.

photo by Camylla Battani

Measure-Measure-Measure

I repeat-measure.  Before you buy the first piece of furniture measure your space and your doorway openings.  The last thing you need is for that luxurious sectional sofa to not have any circulation space around it or worse not fit through the front door.

Swaim

Form Follows Function

It’s a decades old concept that still rings true today.  Decide on the function of a space first, concentrating on how it will be used, who will use it, special storage needs, and lighting.  Craft your design, including the aesthetics after those objectives have been established. 

Never Buy a Set

While it’s tempting to buy the whole bedroom set off the showroom floor and calling it “done” it is not in your best interest to do so.  People respond best to spaces that have an acquired, blended style.   Pairs are fine, like nightstands and lamps, which create symmetry in a room.

Invest in Quality

The adage “you get what you pay” holds true when purchasing furnishings.   Hunting down that deal is not a valid design strategy and is often, in the long term, the least budget friendly.  Cheaply made, inexpensive pieces will break down quickly requiring replacement that much faster.  Buy from a quality retailer or experienced interior designer for the best value.


Layer Lighting

While an over sized fixture fixture can add drama to a space, lamps and other ambient lighting like sconces or cove lighting are important to a room’s design.  Overhead lighting alone can wreak havoc on even the most well designed room, throwing shadows on the furniture and the room’s occupants that are terribly unflattering.

Avoid Clutter

Lastly, keeping your space tidy is vital to good design.  Having a place for everything by incorporating unique storage solutions and keeping surfaces clear of non essential items will make your design stand out.

J. Rhodes Interior Design, Inc. Photo: Holger Obenaus

Mr. H (posthumously) says: An empty room is a story waiting for you to be the author-Enjoy!

Hampton 2006-2017

The HGTV Effect

As an interior designer, I often encounter what is dubbed in the industry as the HGTV effect.  Its when design clients have an unrealistic budget and/or schedule because of what they see on TV home makeover shows.

HGTV logo

While it’s wonderful to have such a powerful TV network shine a spotlight on the home design industry, it’s also important to understand that what is portrayed is not exactly reality.  Here are some things to keep in mind when watching:

HGTV is often unrealistic when it comes to the amount of time it takes to design a home. With a team of professionals on stand by to construct some shelving or whip up some curtains it is hard for the average homeowner to understand that it takes weeks to have anything custom fabricated.  Lead times vary and there are very few projects that can be planned AND completed in a day.

Living Room Floor Plan

The simple, inexpensive fixes are not so easy.  Done by professional craftsmen, these fixes take little effort but the average home owner neither has the knowledge or tools to tackle an “easy” fix like installing crown molding or even repainting a table.

Popular Mechanics

Labor is usually not factored into the cost of a HGTV project. With contractors, painters, and craftsmen on staff, design transformations on many of the HGTV shows are completed on an unrealistic budget.  Labor costs are a big ticket item and can be more expensive than the materials that are being worked with.

Today’s Homeowner

Simply watching some design shows on HGTV does not make for a qualified interior designer.  It takes education, training and years of experience to become an expert.  In the mean time enjoy the shows and remember to hire a professional designer for your next home design project.

ASID

Mr. H says: Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy-Enjoy!