(This article originally ran in December of last year. Dan Blanchette is taking December off. New articles will appear in January 2019.)
I’ve written before about interior design. A few weeks ago, the subject involved decorating and staging rooms in renovated homes on a television show called “Nashville Flipped”.
With that show, the interior designer had apparently left the production after several successful episodes, and the subsequent homes’ interiors suffered because of her departure.
Today, I’m writing about interior design from a different perspective: what you and I and everyone has, and that’s a living space that we control. We control how it looks and functions, allowing us to use it as we see fit. We all have this canvas that we can paint to our liking, furnish to our visual satisfaction.
We can make changes to our spaces. Some people can visualize the changes more easily than others, but by and large, even design-minded people will get inspiration from looking at interior design magazines. That may spark ideas.
And where do ideas come from? They come from one place: your mind. It’s all about imagination and seeing. A designer uses his/her open mind to see what can be accomplished. The way I like to explain it is this: imagination is a door to an open mind, and seeing is a compass pointing the open mind in different directions to arrive at design possibilities. Seeing is a function of imagination.
But you have to have an open mind to get to those ideas, to see if they will apply to your visual sensitivities. If you see a photo of an interior space that impresses you, there’s no reason why you can’t apply the thinking behind that design to your own space.
The materials that made that room in the photo look impressive may be out of your reach, money-wise. But you can still come close to the feel of that room by taking away some visual cues.
In looking at the two images above, it’s easy to see the impact of one room over the other. I selected two photos of living rooms, both with fireplaces centered on the end wall and a bank of windows on the flanking wall.
What makes the room on the right work so well visually is the way the designer put it all together. We may not know for certain just what the interior designer was thinking, but by taking visual cues, we can probably determine that the light coming from the windows was the impetus to create the lines accentuating it: the beams on the ceiling and the shelves on the end wall on either side of the fireplace. The built-ins add visual interest on that end wall, and the dark shelves are an echo of the dark forms of the ceiling beams, which are an extension of the lines of the windows.
Can the owner of the space on the left take ideas from the room on the right? Of course. It just takes imagination to see them.