Rule Of Design
Coastal style is: • Breezy. Think light, bright and airy: sheer white curtain panels, whitewashed surfaces, bare wood floors and plenty of open space. • Natural. Furniture and accessories use natural materials like sea grass, jute, wicker, rattan, linen and cotton. • Casual. If you can’t imagine kicking off your shoes and putting your feet up on something, it probably doesn’t have a place in a coastal-style home. Coastal style is not: • One-note. Coastal, or beach, style can lean contemporary, traditional or somewhere in between. The easy, natural mood is more important than the specifics. • Heavy. Do away with excess layers. Think of leaving some floors bare and windows uncovered (or lightly dressed). • Dark. You can find dramatic inky blues in coastal homes, but darker hues tend to be accents, not the main event. Key Element: Natural Textures and Beachy Hues Coastal homes gat...
7. Document Mark your floor plan with precise lighting locations so you can refer to it later, and be sure to make a copy for the electrician so there is little room for confusion. Ask your contractor for an updated quote in case there are any cost increases due to lighting changes as a result of the electrical walk-through. 8. Verify Walk through the home after junction boxes are installed but before the drywall is hung. Are the right lights in the right place? Will your counters be well-lit? Will your art be in the dark? It may be a hassle to move a light fixture now, but it is much easier and less expensive to do it before the drywall goes up. And every time the sun goes down, you will be grateful you did.
6. Consider Shadows When a recessed downlight is placed over the aisle between the kitchen counter and the island, where will it cast shadows when you are standing at the range? Too often fixtures are installed in the wrong place because ceiling geometry is considered more important than what you are doing with the chef’s knife. Creative lighting solutions can greatly improve workspaces.
2. Prepare a Floor Plan Print out a floor plan and sketch in your anticipated furniture layout. If you’re working with an interior designer, solicit their help. Don’t just look to the ceiling for placement of overhead lights. Mark walls that you might use for hanging art and highlight dark corners that could benefit from additional light. 3. Come Prepared Make sure you or your contractor come with a floor plan, a tape measure, permanent markers and a clipboard. It never hurts to have a tape measure to figure out spacing and furniture arrangement. Permanent markers will allow you to mark the studs and subfloor with locations. And the clipboard? It may be the only clean writing surface in the home. 4. Walk, Don’t Run Walk through the home room by room, and expect to spend several hours if you are building a new home. Compare your marked-up floor plan with the actual structure to make sure your preferred light fixture is possible in that l...
How to Do an Electrical Walk-Through of Your Home. 1. Review Your Ideabooks Go back through your Houzz ideabooks of spaces you like and home in on the lighting in those photos. Can you identify where the lighting source is located and what type of fixture is being used? Jot down notes, such as “need an outlet under the sofa” and “love the cove light in this dining room.”
12 Key Decorating Tips to Make Any Room Better: There are some rough principles that guide us to ensure a great result every time. They are just tried and true things that work. 1. Pick the Paint Color Last: There are thousands of paint colors with various tints, tones and shades. And each one looks different from home to home, because light sources vary, meaning what looks good in your current home might not in your new one. You want the color that best complements your upholstery, artwork, rug and whatever else. 2. Give your furniture some breathing room. Resist overcrowding a room. Gracious living means space to maneuver with ease. This is really great news if you are working with a tight budget. You don’t need to fill up a space with lots of furniture. Spend more of your budget on fewer but better-quality pieces, and your room will look better than if it’s stuffed to the gills with flea market finds. The high-backed chairs shown here, for...
3. Hang artwork at the right height. Galleries and museums hang artwork so that the midline (center) of each piece is 57 inches to 60 inches from the floor. (The average human eye level is 57 inches.) And you should do the same. In a room like this, where the ceilings soar, there might be a tendency to hang the art higher. But remember: It needs to relate to human scale, not the structure’s scale. If you’re not sure, take a picture. It’s remarkable how much a photo can reveal. Print it out or use Photoshop or an app to draw on the photo. This can give you a sense of whether a larger or smaller piece of art is needed or a tall plant might be best to fill a vacant spot.
4. Know how to arrange furniture on a rug. There are basically three ways you can arrange furniture on your rug. All on: The rug is large enough to place all of the furniture legs on top of it. This creates a more luxurious feel. For this, bigger is better. Just be sure to leave at least 12 to 18 inches of floor surface on all four sides of the rug’s borders. All off: If you have a small room, keeping all legs off the rug is a great cost-effective choice. You don’t want to pick too small a rug, though, or it may look insignificant, like an afterthought. The rug should appear as though it could touch the front legs of each of the seating pieces. This approach is best suited when you’re layering a pattern over a larger solid or textured rug. Front on: Put just the front feet of all your seating pieces on the rug to tie the arrangement together visually and create a well-defined space while lending a feeling of openness.
5. Resist the urge to be too theme-y. For example, the Cape Cod look is a very popular request. You know the hallmarks: beadboard, a blue and white nautical palette, some sailboat paintings. But this has been done so many times, it lacks individuality. In this room the coastal vibe was achieved through a palette, artwork and materials that give the effect without drawing on the obvious clichés. 6. Consider sight lines. Your focal point should be free and clear from one room to the next, so that it feels like you’re being drawn between them. That’s why the best spot for a focal point is usually directly across from the entrance to the room.
7. Create a focal point. There are leading roles and supporting cast members in any production. The same holds true in design. Choose your star and make it the focal point to anchor a room. Allow other items to take a secondary role. Don’t ask everything to have a leading role; it will just result in visual noise. Your focal point might be a dramatic hood in the kitchen, a mantel and art piece in the living room or a headboard in the bedroom. Whatever it is, choose something that will draw attention. In this room the fireplace and the lighting work together as a collective focal point, bringing your eye right to the center of the composition and anchoring it there.
8. Edit your collectibles. Don’t hang on to a piece that just doesn’t fit. I don’t care if your great-aunt Sally gave it to you. If it’s not working for you, then find a new home for it (maybe in a different room). The unifying theme here is the use of black in the utilitarian pieces. The balance is almost perfect. It reminds me of something Coco Chanel said about accessorizing: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” In design, know when to stop.
9. Vary the scale. What looks good in the store may look like an elephant in the room when you bring it home. Or it’s too tiny to be of any significance. So always vary scale and proportion. The oversize sunburst mirror frame fills up the wall space nicely here, while the sand dollars make an interesting grouping below. They would be much too insignificant individually. Threes and fives make for more pleasing arrangements than even numbers.
10. Add layers of lighting. In this kitchen seating area, the backsplash is lit, the artwork is highlighted and the cabinet interiors are filled with light. One central lighting fixture would not have had nearly the same dramatic result. Professionals build layers of lighting to create interest, intrigue and variety. In a room where everything is lit evenly, nothing stands out. Pick a focal point and perhaps a secondary focal point and highlight those. Add general ambient lighting and some lower lighting, like table lamps, for interest. 11. Be bold. Personality is what makes a space great. Make your own statement and have fun. The more you try, the more you will begin to see what works and what doesn’t. Incorporate unexpected elements for drama. The unconventional ottoman seats, library-style bookshelves and oversize chandelier here are all unexpected in a conventional living room, but the result has charisma. Eschew expected pieces and interpretations if you want a room that will really wow. 12. Ignore all principles in favor of creativity. Having some guidelines gives people a good starting point for furnishing and decorating t...
Not Considering the Location of Accessories Not giving enough thought to the location of accessories, such as towel bars and shower storage, will affect how the whole space functions, Gordon says. “It can mean frequently used items have to be positioned out of reach, or wall-mounted accessories end up in the way of drawers or cabinetry doors. “You also need to plan where accessories will go, so you can install enough secure fixing points,” she says. After all, nobody wants to have a wobbly towel bar or the toilet paper holder to fall off the wall — “which is what can happen when they’ve only been screwed into a plaster sheet,” she says. Solution: “Think how you’ll use and move through the space when planning where to position accessories on your bathroom layout,” Gordon says. Put towel bars within easy reach of the shower, bath and vanity. Put hand towel bars where they won’t prevent vanity drawers and doors from opening. Also ensure that structural supports are in place before the walls are finished so that accessories have something to attach to, she says. Tip: Consider a recessed tiled niche in the sh...
Storage That Lacks Function Jenefer Gordon, principal at interior design firm Eat Bathe Live, says failing to consider exactly how you use your bathroom means that the items you keep there often don’t have a proper home. “They end up being left out on the vanity, creating a cluttered look, or stored far from where you actually use them,” she says. Solution: Consider how you use the bathroom and exactly which items need to be stored there, and then measure them and give them a dedicated spot, Gordon says. “For example, electric toothbrushes and shavers can be stored in a recessed mirrored cabinet with power inside, shallow drawers with dividers are great for makeup, and towels and standing toiletries can be placed in deep drawers,” she says.
Measuring Incorrectly Santilli warns that inaccurate measurements can end up being costly when you need to work multiple elements into your layout. “It’s a common mistake not to take account of the little things, such as the way a door will swing or the gap between the toilet and the vanity,” she says. Solution: “Always measure twice before you select fittings and fixtures for your bathroom to make sure they’ll fit. Think how doors and drawers will open and how you will move through the space. Your builder, plumber or project manager should also be able to help you with this process,
Not Creating Separate Zones “When space is plentiful, I often see uninspiring and empty-looking bathrooms, with all the fixtures around the perimeter of the room and an empty space in the middle. Creating zones would have made these bathrooms far more functional and welcoming,” Roussos says. Solution: Consider dividing a large bathroom into separate zones for the bath, shower, vanity and toilet. “This may be as simple as putting a stud wall into the center of the room,” she says. “Creating zones will enhance your experience of the bathroom and make it feel more luxurious.”
Poor Lighting Roussos says inexperienced renovators often simply resort to downlights over the vanity, shower or toilet instead of putting in a proper layered lighting design. “As a result, the bathroom is often too bright and lacks ambiance, which makes it far from a relaxing space to spend time in,” she says. “Plus, the bright overhead lighting creates shadowing when you look in the vanity mirror —dreadful when you’re putting on makeup or shaving.” Solution: Roussos suggests planning a layered design that includes several lighting sources. “It should feature lighting for ambiance; concealed LED strips are a great option, as they don’t consume much energy and can be left on to create a low-key mood. Put them under vanities and shaving cabinets, behind mirrors and in shower niches,” she says. “Then add in lighting for other purposes,” Roussos says. “For example, incorporate task lighting to assist with grooming or putting on makeup, such as a pair of wall lights on either side of the mirror. These will illuminate your face from the front, which is the most effective and flattering direction.” Tip: Ask your electrician to wire lights so that they can be turned on independently. Thi...
Rookie renovators often don’t consider storage options beyond vanity drawers and cabinets. Schemes & Spaces. “This often means the vanity ends up too clunky and dominating. As a result, the bathroom feels small and crowded.” Solution: Think of alternative places to house bathing products, toiletries and toilet paper: “Can you work some custom [cabinetry] into the floor plan to store larger items? What about vertical wall-hung cabinets?” She points out that you also can use these to incorporate mirrors, lighting and towel bars, saving even more space in the bathroom and giving it a more purposeful feel.
Here are some key measurements for medicine cabinets and vanities. • A medicine cabinet above a vanity should be the same width as the vanity or slightly smaller — never larger. • Recessing a medicine cabinet into the wall will give your bathroom a more streamlined look. • The right length for a vanity countertop depends on the size of the room. For a family bathroom or en suite, 36 inches is considered a standard minimum length, but 48 inches is a little more practical. • A double sink will need a countertop that’s at least 60 to 72 inches long. • The ideal depth for a vanity is 21 inches, although it will depend on the depth of your sink. • If you have a semirecessed sink, you may be able to make your vanity less than 21 inches deep. • When specifying your vanity depth, make sure you include enough room so that you can clean the sink and faucets.
Water closets: The minimum space requirements for a water closet are 30 inches (76 centimeters) in width where it is centered in the space, and 24 inches (61 centimeters) of clear space in front of the fixture. It’s advisable to make the width a minimum of 36 inches (92 centimeters) and the length of the space in which the fixture rests at least 60 inches (152 centimeters). If your budget and space allow, you might want the water closet to be its own separate room, a setup especially popular in the past three decades. This room should be a minimum of 36 inches wide (92 centimeters) and 60 inches (152 centimeters) in length. For luxurious accommodations, a width of 42 to 48 inches (107 to 122 centimeters) and a length of 66 to 72 inches (168 to 183 centimeters) will provide a spacious and comfortable setting.
Medicine cabinets: Since we easily collect various toiletries, having a good place to store them is essential. While drawers in the cabinets and the space under the sink provide some storage, medicine cabinets place more accessible and well-lit storage areas at eye level. There are many ready-to-install medicine cabinets that range from 15 to 24 inches (38 to 61 centimeters) in width and 20 to 30 inches (51 to 76 centimeters) in height. You can either mount these on side walls adjacent to the sink or in the wall above the sink. You will want the top of the cabinet to stay under 80 inches (203 centimeters) but not below 48 inches (122 centimeters)
Towel bars: Towel bars are usually made in lengths of 18 inches (48 centimeters) and 24 inches (61 centimeters), and towel rings are 8 to 9 inches (20 to 23 centimeters) wide. Place these essential fixtures 30 to 48 inches (76 to 122 centimeters) above the floor. You will also want these to be located 12 to 36 inches (30 to 92 centimeters) horizontally from your sink, tub and shower for easy reach.
Showers that are 36 inches (92 centimeters) deep and 48 inches (122 centimeters) wide are very comfortable for most people, especially if they have a built-in seat. Beyond that there is certainly no limit, but going over 60 inches (152 centimeters) in width and depth will lose the sense of enclosure that defines a shower and make some people uncomfortable.
Vanities. A few people like pedestal or wall-mounted sinks; however, the majority want sinks built into countertops with drawers and cabinets that contain storage. The minimum space per person is 24 inches (61 centimeters) wide, while 30 to 36 inches (76 to 92 centimeters) per person are more common and comfortable dimensions. Moving up to 48 inches (122 centimeters) in width per person provides ample space in more luxurious settings. The depth of a vanity is usually 21 to 22 inches (53 to 56 centimeters). The height begins at 32 to 34 inches (81 to 86 centimeters) but is more frequently 36 inches (92 centimeters), which is the standard kitchen cabinet height.
In a Stairwell: Fixtures hung in a stairwell can add a sculptural element to the area, as well as provide needed lighting. The key is to hang the fixture high enough so that there is plenty of clearance while walking up and down the stairs. I recommend at least 18 to 24 inches of clearance between the bottom of a fixture and the height of a taller person. While less may do the job, visually it will cause most people to feel the need to duck when walking under the fixture.
In the Hallway: Fixtures hung in an entry or hallway can add a lot of drama and beauty, casting shadows while providing light. In spaces with tall ceilings it is important that the fixtures not be hung so high that they are outside of the line of sight while standing in the space. Use flush-mount lighting for lower ceilings
Over a Table The recommended height to hang a pendant above a table is 28 to 32 inches, but the fixture can be hung slightly higher or lower depending on personal preference, fixture size and ceiling height. Address whether or not the fixture is to provide task or ambient light (or both) and select a fixture which meets the lighting needs of the location to be hung. A large drum pendant hung over a table not only anchors the vignette, but if placed on a dimmer the fixture can provide brighter light for any tasks done at the table and softer light while dining.
Foyer Size and Shape Shapes and sizes of foyers should relate to the style and size of the house. A good rule of thumb is that the foyer is around 2 to 4 percent of the total square feet or meters of your house. Grand foyers can measure 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters) in both directions and be just as high. Modestly scaled foyers may be about 5½ ft. (1½ m) wide; the length, which holds a central hall with a stairway (not seen here) is likely 15 to 20 ft. (4½ to 6 m). The width of a long foyer needs to be a minimum of 42 in. (107 centimeters) to feel right. Widths of 48 to 54 in. (122 to 137 cm) are better, while 60 to 72 in. (152 to 183 cm) will likely feel very generous. Here a niche in the brick wall, which was once an opening into the original house, provides a spot for a lamp and other accessories. Shown here is generously proportioned and acts as a central circulation route as well. The spacious room has an area for the entrance door, a landing for the stairs, places for tables on which to set things, and benches and chairs. A foyer of this type needs to be 15 to 20 ft. (4½ to 6 m) wide and ...
1. Start a Whole-House Ideabook Even if you’re not tackling the whole house at once, it’s important to have an overall picture of where you are going with regard to style. Think of this as your master plan: a single place to record all the pieces you put in your home, alongside all the things you hope to one day add. Unlike a purely inspirational ideabook, think of this one as a personalized style reference guide for your home — including everything from your current paint colors to a picture of your dream sofa. Putting it all in one place is an easy (and cost-free) way to see and edit your vision before making a purchase. Bonus: If you end up working with a pro, you will have a fantastic resource ready to share.
2. Tell a Story With Textiles This is where it starts to become clear why it’s so helpful to have a master plan. Instead of picking your rugs, pillows and throws as the mood strikes, take a more curated approach. Think about repeating variations of the same patterns or textile styles throughout your home for a more cohesive look. For example: • Neutral, earthy linens and Moroccan-style rugs • Indigo batik paired with coastal stripes • Ikat and block prints in rich hues • Modern geometric prints in black and white
3. Channel a Mood Instead of limiting yourself to a specific style, think in terms of the mood you want your home to create. This can be a more useful (and certainly more flexible) filter to use when choosing products for your home than naming a single “style.” For example, let’s say you want to create a relaxed, light mood. To channel this feeling, you might pull elements from beach, farmhouse and contemporary style — as long as the pieces you choose have the relaxed, easygoing vibe that you like, they will work together.
4. Make Some Across-the-Board Style Decisions Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel with each room in your home, it’s good for your sanity and your home’s look to lay some groundwork that will remain the same throughout the space. Consider putting similar styles of one or more of these elements on repeat throughout your home to increase cohesion: • Lighting style • Switch plates and door handles • Metal finishes • Neutral paint or fabric color • Window coverings
5. Pay Attention to Sightlines It’s one thing to have a significant departure in style or mood from the living room to the master bedroom — but when spaces are within the same line of sight, it’s especially important to make sure everything flows. Walk through your home and notice how far your eye can see from each room: Which other rooms are visible? This open-plan space from Thomas and Spiers Architects is a good example of creating a cohesive flow, with flooring and crisp white paint uniting the space. The living room tables echo the style of the kitchen counter stools, and the verdant green wallpaper on the far wall is brought to the foreground with the addition of a few botanical-print pillows.
6. Take It Outside Life doesn’t stop at the door, and your style shouldn’t either. Choosing outdoor furniture and accessories in the same style as your indoor furnishings will give your whole space an intentionally designed look and feel. In this beachy cottage from Croma Design, sleek outdoor love seats with fresh white cushions outfit a comfy deck, echoing the clean and classic look inside the home.
7. Add Greenery Houseplants do more than clean the air — they offer another opportunity to unify your space with color (hello, green) and style. The key is to make sure the pots and planters you select are not merely an afterthought, but rather a purposeful part of your decorating plan. In this lofty space from Oh Beauty Interiors, plants on both levels nestle into modern white planters on wooden stands.
8. Enlist a Pro There’s a reason designers are paid for what they do — it’s challenging work! Whether you need to furnish a single room or an entire house, if you would like help creating a cohesive look that flows beautifully, consider contacting an interior designer to get your project started.