Several years ago and before I was in the decorating business, I was looking at a contemporary room at a decorator showhouse. I commented to my companion that the room was interesting, but would go out of style. The decorator made his presence known by pronouncing,
" Good design is never out of style."
I have thought about that statement over the years and decided it may have some truth to it. What exactly are the criteria that determine if a design is good?
While certainly the subjectivity of individual preference is always an issue, there must be some universal standards that apply.
A good design has staying power.
It should not look foolish or silly
in five or ten years. The return of the lava lamp could have many
explanations but great design is not one of them. Repeating the design
mistakes of the 50's (Retro) is nostalgic and interesting to someone
who did not live through it the first time around. My point is if these
things had been good design, they would never have disappeared in
the first place. The Classics never go out of style and if good design
should stand the test of time, classics are the past,present and future.
Good design should have utility.
That is, it should be easy to maintain
provide physical comfort, and visual pleasure.
Good design should have longevity.
It should wear well, keep your
interest without demanding it. If the visual pleasure should lessen , it should not have elements that
will become annoying.
A good design should answer the following questions:
1. What is the purpose of the room?
2. What will be the natural traffic flow?
3. What are the lighting needs?
4. What effect does the size and placement of windows have on the room?
5. Which elements should be accented, which ones played down?
6. Does the room have a natural focal point, a view or architectural detail etc. If not what will
the theme or focal point be?
When I decorate a room I want the person seeing it for the first time to think, "What a beautiful room." Along with all the other considerations, this is achieved by
Except in rare situations where a room is designed to show off
some exceptional detail, all elements in the room should be so
well coordinated that at first view, nothing demands attention
over anything else.
At this point the details become important. How the windows
are treated. The carvings or shape of the furniture, the textures
and patterns of the fabrics, the effect of the lighting, the accessories
and collectables. The
are crucial to the room's ability to
keep your interest over the long haul. Just be careful to remember that the details should be noticed
last. They support the design. If the details detract from the overall impact of the room, they are
too strong. As always it is essential to know when to stop adding. To me "elegance" is achieved
by to the edge of tacky, looking over and then taking a few steps back.