Solve design dilemmas with good measure

Q  –  I know you do a lot in design work, so what are some very basic DESIGN 101 tips for a novice like me who appreciates a well thought out home?

Jenn – La Porte

A  –  The most important item in a tool box, a tape measure, and some design tips can go a long ways in helping you tosuccessfully appoint any room.

Take measurements. Use a tape measure to get the dimensions of a room. Always check the dimensions of the hallways, elevators, stairways and doors leading to the space, to make sure they’re large enough for potential purchases.

Estimate volume. Every object has a height, depth and width. For added visual interest to any space, add varying furniture of varying characteristics. If you are going for a serene, unchallenging area for rest or relaxation, keep the furnishing volumes similar.

It’s all a matter of scale. This term refers to the size of pieces relative to one another and to the size of the space. Again, similarly scaled pieces are more serene when used together, but a nice balance of pieces creates a harmonious atmosphere, utilizing the differing physical qualities of height, depth and width throughout the room.

Think gestalt. Divide large rectangular spaces into another “form.”  For instance, split a long, narrow living space in two by creating zones of function. Say, one half is for conversing, and the other half is for dining.  This can be done in a variety of ways… furniture placement, architecturally (adding half-walls, wing-walls, columns, etc…), area rugs, varied ceiling heights, or several other methods.

This helps you take the ‘coldness’ out of large rectangular rooms by dividing them into squares by zones of function. People, in general, tend to feel more comfortable and less formal in square furniture arrangements versus rectangular.

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