When it comes to putting the finishing touches on a space, most people, and some designers, are unsure of where to start and when to stop. We’ve all seen it. The beautiful new home with its well appointed and carefully selected furnishings. But after looking around it’s obvious that they’ve haven’t actually lived in the space.
So why are we so afraid to put our personal belongings on display? Creating a look that incorporates good taste with some personal style takes a bit of courage. It’s not about how much you spend to accessorize or how many things you use but rather the types of things you choose that reflect your style.
Taking a good look at your lifestyle is the best place to start. When I’m working with a client, I tend to look at things that they often overlook. During the design process I get to know them a little and try to pick up on some character traits. I look for things like daily activities, special interests, attire, hobbies, and habits. These are things that make them familiar to the people around them and obviously give them the most personal comfort in their own lives.
Once I think I have a handle on their style, I start collecting…from my own sources as well as going through their personal things that I think they might be overlooking. It usually takes a mix of both to finish the job since most people have too much of one thing or too many different things that don’t relate.
Then it’s time to have fun. Using the mix, I like to focus on areas that catch the eye…bookcases, table tops, small forgotten spaces and places of high impact. I like to surprise the eye, giving them something a little unexpected in the mix in a place not likely expected.
I also like to “landscape” the accessories. This is creating a placement or arrangement to include different heights and shapes, mixing old and new, and using the shapes to play off the space (or negative space). I like to tighten them up so they interact instead of placing individuals items floating by themselves. They sort of become small groupings of familiar friends. I like tall items to the back, thin items to contrast the bulky ones, sculptural shapes next to hard lines, old next to new and maybe a little greenery to add some life. I tend to cover enough space but leave room to breathe. It’s more of an art than a science and balance is the key.
Having come from traditional roots, I tend to like more than less. I think it’s more interesting to the eye and shows a little more depth of personality. Collections have always been a favorite whether its artwork, souvenirs, books, or whatever my mood is at the time in my life. And once collected, I never get rid of them…I just find a new home for them…and start looking for my next favorite thing.