December 2019 Designer’s Corner

Consider a Little ContrastJoel

Joel Barnes, Interior Designer

I hope you’re all enjoying the cooler weather lately. Quite a contrast from the summer heat. As usually it brings me back to design ideas. While unity and harmony in design are important, creating some contrast is too.

Many people love a crisp white kitchen, for example, and why not? It feels so bright and clean. But going entirely white in any space without some contrast in the mix can look a bit like a polar bear eating a marshmallow in a snowstorm. You can’t make out where one element ends and the next begins, and much of the beauty gets lost in the blizzard.

 

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Similarly when everything in your space is overly vibrant, it’s as if you’ve highlighted every word on the page of a good book, so nothing truly stands out anymore. When everything is bold, there’s nowhere to let your eyes rest, causing the scene to soon feel pretty exhausting.

 

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When designing any space in your home remember to offset lighter colors with some touches of dark. Contrast those sensually smooth surfaces with a bit of interesting texture, and balance squared angles with the occasional curve. Consider the materials you use as well. Complimenting a beautiful wood with some metal, glass, stone, and even a sumptuous fabric allows each element to become all the more appreciated and enjoyed by contrast.

Light-colored cabinets look beautiful when offset by a somewhat darker backsplash or countertop, and the reverse is equally true. Bear in mind the contrast can be quite subtle if that’s your preference, and whether we notice it consciously or not, it puts us at ease when we can easily distinguish where one surface ends and the next one begins. Feeling comfortable in our living spaces matters, and why not use contrast as a way to enjoy each element for its own unique qualities. When well balanced, the resulting look  is quite pleasing, and allows us to enjoy everything together as a whole.

 

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Remember, contrast is truly beneficial in our lives. Without the winter, there could be no spring. So don’t be afraid to experiment and try a little contrast the next time you’re wanting to invigorate your living space.

That’s all from the Designer’s Corner this month. Wishing you all a very happy winter holiday season!

November 2019 Designer’s Corner

Harmonious Design Joel

Joel Barnes, interior designer

One of the keys to creating a truly satisfying interior is to always consider Harmony in your design. This can mean the difference between an acceptable upgrade and a truly satisfying transformation. 

Whether it be a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, or several rooms in the house, the most successful designs employ a unifying theme throughout. Whether your theme is modern, rustic, charming cottage, sophisticated, mid-century, or something else, the materials you select should not only reflect the theme you’ve chosen, they should genuinely “play well together.”

Start to think about cohesiveness. Consider using the same color trim throughout, at least in the common spaces of your home. While you may want to change things up in one particular room, consider choosing a consistent color scheme throughout the house so spaces don’t feel jarring when you move from room to room. Likewise, ask yourself, “does the flooring flow beautifully from one room to the next?” When selecting new tile for the kitchen or bath, is it a shocking transition, or does it speak the same basic language as other elements and flooring nearby? Contrast is great, and we’ll talk more about that in our next article, but harmony is key to a satisfying design, and should be part of every decision you make. Just because you may LOVE each one of the materials and colors on their own does not mean they enjoy one another’s company. A good party works well when the guests get along. Even if they’re from very different backgrounds, it helps if they all speak at least one common language. 

Consider the relationships between materials, too. For example, is there a bit of warm rust tone in the flooring that could be picked up in your countertop, cabinets, or backsplash? Are you using the same color white here as you are over there, or does one white make the other seem much too yellow? Is one grey quite cool while another is warm? If they are fighting each other, the design won’t feel quite right. Try to bring samples of what you love along with you when looking for new materials to add in, and bring samples home to see them in your own space, your own lighting, and against existing elements that you know will stay put. 

We will be continuing the Designer’s Corner in the months ahead. I hope this has been helpful. Stop in and see us, and we’ll be happy to help you along your path to successful design.