10 Design Mantras
from the Pros
Home design advice isn't exactly hard to come by, and it’s hard to know what's right.
But these 10 tidbits from the world’s modern design masters might be worth redecorating for.
Written by Kelsey Kittle
In the wide world of design advice, most every "do" is somebody else's "don't." You can find opposing views on any topic and endless suggestions to keep your home on trend. But trends change, and what everyone loved 10 years ago might seem tacky today. So how do you know which advice is correct?
First, throw out the rulebook. Following all the rules isn't what design is about─our favorite designers are out there on the edge, pushing the limits of what was doable yesterday to find out what might be possible tomorrow.
There are, however, some basic principles that the pros agree on. To help you solidify your sense of style and make it all work together, here are 10 pearls of wisdom from some of the best in the biz.
“Your home should reflect who you are, so pick a palette that's close to your heart and run with it.”
Be your best, boldest, most expressive self; even if your favorite colors and styles aren't your mom's, best friend's or life coach's cup of tea. Nobody's judgment is more important than your own when talking about the space where you'll be living your life.
“Make sure you really want what you’re buying...I think it's essential to consume with awareness. Buy only what you need and desire.”
Thoughtful choices pay off big─select the pieces you love the most and don’t worry about keeping up with every trend.
“People should select for themselves and stamp their own identity on a place. They should mix and match everything to make their own cocktail.”
Overcome the inclination to match everything just for the sake of matching. When your personality shines through, it sets both you and your guests at ease.
“The primary factor is proportions...Next comes the material - not mixing the wrong materials. And out of this comes, of course, the colour - and, in sum, the overall impression.”
Keep your eye on the bigger picture: Start with an appreciation for scale and balance to create the most comfortable space.
“We try to keep a balance between memory, technology and the contemporary, to result in something a little unexpected.”
Traditional and heirloom pieces have a place in modern design, as long as they're well loved, functional or timeless—and ideally, they'll be all three.
“Good design to me is both appearance and functionality together. It's the experience that makes it good design.”
A key tenet of modern design is eliminating waste and clutter. Useful things look great, and great-looking things are superbly functional.
“The more you get involved with the color of things, the shape of them, the comfort, you start realizing that the other bits are irritating to you: the acoustics of a place, or the smell of a place. They may have a bigger impact on your experience than the visuals.”
Consider all of your senses when decorating. How things look can take a backseat to how they feel; ultimately, your comfort is key.
“One sits more comfortably on a colour that one likes.”
The most comfortable seat in the house is just that much more appealing if you think it looks terrific, too.
“The real questions are: Does it solve a problem? Is it serviceable? How is it going to look in ten years? ”
Choosing well-designed pieces will answer "yes" to each of these questions, because the master designers have already thought of this for you. Great design is an investment in the future.
“It doesn’t cost money to light a room correctly, but it does require culture.”
While it certainly doesn't hurt to fill your rooms with high-end design pieces, you can create a beautiful, comfortable space on any budget with the right know-how. Check out our lighting planners for more tips.