Interior Design Begins On The Exterior

So you’re taking advantage of the real estate market’s demise and you’ve just purchased a new home.  One of the first things you’re probably thinking about is what style you want to create for the interior.

My first suggestion is if you liked the style of the home, stick with that same style on the inside.   It always feels a little strange to me when someone buys a colonial house and furnishes it with contemporary,  minimalistic pieces.   It just comes off as a big disconnect.   Likewise, if you buy a contemporary home, keep the pieces clean and avoid all the clutter and embellishments.

When you’re designing a home, you’re creating a package.  The exterior should give the visitor a glimpse of what to expect and the interior should finish the job.  I’ve seen some of the oddest combinations over the years and often,  the only way to remedy the situation is to start over on the interior or find a new house that will more appropriately reflect your interior style.

Granted, most people have some possessions that they want to incorporate into their home from their previous home.  This can be done if you understand that some items will need to be repurposed, separated from their original location and possibly undergo refinishing or reupholstering.   If you find yourself in this category, I’d strongly suggest you seek the assistance of an interior designer to give you an objective opinion.

Every style offers a few variations so don’t feel you have to make it a “theme” house.  A casual bungalow, for example could easily be transformed into either a coastal cottage home or embrace a mission style.  A common misconception is to over-decorate a simple home, thereby dismissing the original architecture and displaying an obsessive vulgarity or overruling ambition, as Frank Lloyd Wright would call “grandomania.”

In the same thought, an elegant luxury home also needs to continue the thought.  Buying an impressive home only makes sense if you have the means and intent to complete the picture.  A good rule of thumb that I use is to budget about 25% of the home to complete the interior.   Nothing feels more awkward than enjoying a million dollar view from a $400 sofa.  Not to sound like a snob, but come on.

The same hold true for your color scheme.  The outside and inside colors need to complement each other and appear to be part of the plan…including the fabrics on the patio.   And while those painted Adirondack chairs look great on the porch of your beach house, they will look like a flea market find on the patio of your golf course estate home.  It’s like wearing a sweatshirt to a wedding.

The bottom line is to be true to your style.  Find a home that represents the style you want to create and live in and then complete the interior as part of the same design thought.  When you are done, you will have created an oasis, a place that represents who you really are and one that makes you comfortable.

 

2 thoughts on “Interior Design Begins On The Exterior

  1. You make complete sense, Bill. And I like you analogy of wearing a sweatshirt to a wedding. When I bought my home it was a complete rubbish tip. But I had the vision and also had allowed the budget to make it into the home that I wanted and envisaged. It was no point going for a higher value house that I couldn’t afford to do up how I wanted it. So I opted for a slightly less expensive house in a great location and setting that enabled me to spend much more on interior.

    I refurbished all the rooms in my house, from a limestone bathroom to new lighting and flooring throughout the house and a brand new kitchen with a slate floor. I also budgeted for the construction improvements, such as replastering walls and rewiring, it’s really important to remember hidden costs when doing your house up to. I had a contingency budget to cover any unexpected work costs, such as faulty wiring that had to be corrected and re-run of wires and pipes.

    Thanks for such a great blog, I enjoy reading your articles.
    Best wishes, Fleur

    • Fleur,
      Thanks for the comments. Hidden costs during renovation are something many people don’t plan for but should. I also went through the same process and found that my little “extras” added up to quite a bit. But now that the work is done, I couldn’t be happier. Good luck on your new home. Love to see some pics if you feel like sharing.
      Bill