How do interior designers manage to achieve a "cohesive" look?
angelicak
April 17, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I'm in the process of starting a new decoration project and after having been browsing through hundreds of pictures online, I wonder how interior designers achieve a cohesive and coordinated look throughout a house? I was looking at a project and saw that curtains are the same color in all rooms despite the color scheme of a specific area. Anyone else has tips or secret formula that people who want to do their own decoration can use? Thanks!
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soberg
There is a secret formula written on an index card, which gets passed hand to hand among the decorating community. However, they won't let anyone else look at it. :-)

Seriously though, I'd recommend "Use What You Have Decorating" by Lauri Ward. It's an excellent starting point. Be prepared to realize that superb results only come from years of study and trial and error.
April 17, 2013 at 6:37AM     
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Aggie Purvinska
There is a secret formula and it is usually taught in a composition or design class, be it interior design, graphic design, sculpture, and then further fine tuned by the designer's own aesthetic. Most designers have a knack for it, that's why they chose to go to school, work as interns and apprentices and assistants to other designers, so that one day they not only have a knack for design, but they are also professional.
April 17, 2013 at 6:38AM     
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PRO
M J HAMPTON DESIGN
Best advice I can give: you have to have a plan. Nothing is purchased until there is a plan in place. Get lots of samples (fabric, metal finish, wood finishes, etc) and start putting things together on a table. I find that once I nail one room, the others in the house start to fall into place.
April 17, 2013 at 7:07AM     
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PRO
Julie Thome Draperies, Inc.
It takes years of study and experience to cultivate your eye.
April 17, 2013 at 7:12AM   
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PRO
Riddle Construction and Design
Agree with all the comments above- its not something you just pick up- its something you study and train for just like any other pro. If it's really important to you I would suggest you hire a pro to at least serve as a guide. In the end it is well worth the dollars spent.
April 17, 2013 at 9:32AM     
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sheworks2
same floor product, or minimal number of floorings throughout, same trim color throughout. one item of color scheme or complement of color scheme throughout. check sightlines between rooms-they have to work together--so pick one or all colors to travel through adjoining rooms. rugs of different scale sizes, in same or blendable colors as adjoining areas.
April 17, 2013 at 9:55AM     
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leelee
Think of the whole house as one big room. As sheworks2 says you need continuity throughout. You can change colors but keep the same "feel" from one room to the next. You're doing the right thing by looking at well put together rooms in homes that flow. Magazines are a great resource. It doesn't have to be all beige or boring. Pick basics that are easy to accessorize. For instance, a solid colored couch is easy to work with by adding pattern and color in pillows and lamps. Same with a bedspread. Often good furniture stores employ decorators that can guide you. If you still don't trust your judgement hire a decorator.
April 17, 2013 at 10:37AM   
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Julie Thome Draperies, Inc.
Word of warning about using a store "decorator"..they are simply sales people whose goal is to sell what the shop has. Go for someone who is independent and not tied to a particular product line.
April 17, 2013 at 10:48AM     
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leelee
That definitely can be true but some are actual decorators. You are probably right about an independent but I wonder if sometimes they might have deals with certain stores for a little kick-back?
April 17, 2013 at 2:17PM     
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PRO
Julie Thome Draperies, Inc.
Not sure what you mean by kick-back? But someone who is working for a store definitely is getting kick back if that is what you are worried about????
April 17, 2013 at 2:35PM   
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kitasei
I am not a designer or decorator, but I see their talent as editors. They force choices. If you're like me, you like lots of colors, looks, periods, architecture. You imagine yourself as romantic, hip, edgy, exotic, and modest. But if you let all of these things flood into one space, they fight with each other or just cancel each other out. I find the hardest thing to do is to make all of the decisions on details that are supporting roles. Where to spend the money and where to be satisfied with a compromise..
April 17, 2013 at 2:53PM     
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Nancy Travisinteriors
Go on line. Check out and take pictures of model homes. Keep color theme going though out. No more than 3 color accents in any room.
April 17, 2013 at 2:58PM   
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leelee
I'm saying that just because someone isn't working directly for a store doesn't mean they're not getting a little bonus if they bring a paying customer to that store. I'm not worried about somebody making money for offering good advice or leading a customer in the right direction no matter who employs them.
April 17, 2013 at 3:29PM   
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PRO
Kaplan Architects, AIA
As you make choices of the colors and finishes you must collect samples of them. In that way you can make sure that they can be put physically next to one another to be sure they look good together. It also helps to be able to carry these samples to various showrooms to select remaining finishes to be chosen. Also the samples can be placed into various positions with the space to see how the light conditions in the space might affect the coloring and texture.
April 17, 2013 at 3:43PM   
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feeny
I agree with kitasei. The most common mistake that people make is falling in love with individual pieces without being able to step back and see the bigger picture, the larger relationship between colors and textures and styles. Usually this takes some training, and this is why there are so many design dilemmas where people realize too late that the beautiful busy backsplash they were attracted to and the beautiful busy granite they chose simply don't look good in relation to each other, though individually each is lovely. If you can have a clearly laid out plan (as MJ Hampton suggests) and don't do anything until you have put all the samples together so you can see them in relation to each other (as Kaplan recommends), you'll have taken the first step toward potential cohesion.
April 17, 2013 at 3:54PM     
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Carol Thomas
I posted more pictures but their at the end of all the suggestions thanks for helping me
April 17, 2013 at 8:33PM   
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PRO
Merri Interiors, Inc.
We learn from going to school reading, taking classes, seeing what works and doesnt in the feild and applying each and every expirience to the next to get our craft to the best that we possibly can make it. We read some more, take more classes, shop, pick up different lines, go to manufgrs. to understand products, work and work and work to learn and learn and learn.
April 18, 2013 at 3:08AM     
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angelicak
I found the home decorating for dummies book and a interior design 101 book. A great introduction to the world of design and to all one has to learn to be good at it. In conclusion, I think I may have to hire someone to get the results I want. Any recommendations in Miami? Thanks again for all your input, ideas, thoughts, and recommendations!
April 18, 2013 at 4:25AM     
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