Wednesday 14 March 2012

Just because its in a magazine, doesn't make it good design

When we flip through the pages of magazines and catalogues (or view them on our ipads) often we assume that just because something is published then it must be good design or in style.  Unless of course the article states otherwise, which is what I am doing now.    Although there are rules to achieving good design that should be followed, rules can be broken to show a unique look or quirky style.  The secret is knowing when and how to break the rules.

Do you notice anything that looks 'off' in this room's design?
Okay, so bear in mind that these are just my opinions and you may beg to differ on some of the points that I make - call me on it, I love a good debate!  However, instantly I notice a few things that go against good design and no, it's not the picture - in fact I kinda like that quirkiness.  

1) The table and rug are completely disconnected from the couch and the rug is too small.  Having an area rug that sits underneath each leg of the seated furniture is essential for creating an 'oasis'.

2) The drapery rod looks as thin as a toothpick and not nearly substantial enough to hold a tea towel, let alone curtains.  Drapery hardware is just as important as the draperies themselves and with all the options for rods and finials, you are spoiled for choice so be sure not to cheap out here.

3) The draperies themselves are too short and look like the workroom ran out of fabric or the floor dropped between the time the measurements were taken and the curtains were installed.  Floods have never been popular for me in fashion and if your going to put out the money for window treatments, be sure to do it right by taking them all the way to the floor.

This male model in floods looks almost as awkward as those draperies.

The picture below has beautiful colours, a gorgeous stone fireplace and nice furnishings.  The problem is that the entire set up is completely impractical for everyday living. 

There is a trunk blocking the fireplace - but you may not see that with all the books piled so high on the coffee table.  The window seats look great and most people love the idea of them until they have one and realise it's the most uncomfortable place to sit. (but I stand by my word, they do look nice) Finally, I hope no one has to close that door on their way out or the lamp is going with them!  lol

Oscar Green Room, 2012.
The colours in this Oscar green room (above) are on trend, set the mood well and in general I like the set up.  However, the coffee table is way too small for the size of the couch. This is a common mistake in design, getting the scale right can be tricky.  The picture below is another example of not achieving a good  balance in regards to the lighting. In my opinion the 'ball' fixtures are too heavy and therefore too overpowering for this space.

These light fixtures are an eye sore to me either way, totally unflattering.

Patterns on fabrics, wallpaper and rugs are a great way to add interest to a room or to use as an inspiration piece to get you started.  When designing a space it's important to concentrate on having one main focal point in a room that can be a real attention grabber. 

There is so much going on here with patterns and textures the eye has no place to rest.
Any one of these items could be used as a conversation piece or focal point but because there are so many different colours, textures and patterns, the funkiness of the ideas are lost.  For me, there is not one item that grabs my attention because everything seems so distracting when put together.  The same rules apply when putting together an outfit and adding fashion accessories.

Next time you are searching for inspiration and 'googling' home decor and design, dont' be fooled by thinking that just because something has been posted  means that it's on trend or good design.

If you are overwhelmed by all the choices and don't know where to begin, I am here to help ease your stress levels.  Contact me for a consultation and I can offer advice that will put you on the right path.  E-mail me to set up an appointment:


  1. shawn smith inglis14 March 2012 at 08:42

    Hi Claire I took a look at the first pic and will take a look at the rest,but for now I would like to comment on this pic! You are right about what you see in the Magazines not every will like what they see therefore I take them as ideas and pick what I like! I agree with the curtains and Rod and area rug too! For me what I learned in furniture was you pick the sofa first and then the area rug and take colours from there great juming off point and easier to get accessories. Lighting is another hugh design factor that people cheap out on!! sometime if not most times brings the whole look together when you have the right light fixtures!! Just learned this one myself,I have been replacing all the lighting fixture in my own home one by one and it's not easy to pick,but what a difference! and drapery makes a hugh impact even for sound in a room as I just bought new thick drapes from Home Depot and they are floor to ceiling and what an impact on the whole room wow and the sound as well! Sometimes it's trial and error! Accessorizing just adds the finishing touches to the room and look your trying to achieve! I quickly took a look at the other pic's I just wanted to say that there is something to be said for Less is More!!! too much accessories is not a good thing! Two key things I say if its pleasing to the eye and looks good to you,after all it is your home!! Thanks Claire for letting me make my comments this is so cool I love it!

  2. I enjoyed this blog, Claire, and I see the same thing in Kitchen magazines, where things might look good, but are totally impractical. And yes, those 'ball' fixtures are ridiculous :P