How To Develop Your Sense of Design

December 20, 2021

Are you wondering how you will ever develop your sense of “taste” in how you design your home? How will you know if a piece of furniture or a rug has the right proportions or moodfor the look you’re going for? I hear this so often. “Come design my house!” is probably the most common statement I get from friends the past year! Not only do I find designing home interiors extremely fun, but I also want to teach YOU how to do it.

Your instinct will likely guide you when it comes to really bad design. As for the “good taste” part of design, you will have to train your eye. Starting off on Pinterest or Houzz isa great way to figure out what style you are looking for. Don’t just look at the pictures of awesome living rooms – examine the furniture, color palette,and lighting in the room (lighting is a BIG one, which we will cover at another time). Train your eye by studying the work of good designers and how they piecethings together. What makes the pieces work? What do you love about it? What don’t you like about it? Does it all look proportional? You can develop your sense of taste by following your favorite designers. Be empathetic and truly think about how the room makes you feel (this is called the “mood” of the room).

New York Institute of Art & Design

The main design elements that you want to think about are space, line, forms, light, color, texture, and pattern (you’re welcome, Jackie P, for using the Oxford comma). Be sure to keep the room and pieces balanced. This is one of the biggest mistakes that I see. For example, slender legs on a heavy table are not proportional. This makes the piece feel unbalanced. The relationship between the different parts should work well. Is the lamp base a good size considering the lampshade? Is the chair seat much too overwhelming for the chair arms?

The picture to the right nails all of the design elements. The colors are in line with each other and make sense. The furniture is not only proportional in itself, but works well with the other pieces. Note how much lighting there is. What style of design would you consider this studio?

Let’s look at this mantle. What do you feel is wrong with it? I see three issues – balance, light,and color. The large candle sticks on the right make that side too heavy in comparison to the left. The clock is much too small if you want to use the candlesticks. There is not enough lighting around the mantle, either. The beige color is too dark for the smaller space that the mantle is in (you couldn’t quite tell this unless you saw the entire room) and the lack of lighting makes it feel that much darker.

Of course, you won’t develop this skill overnight. It takes studying the room and trial and error. Beforelong, you’ll start to recognize good design and be able to mimic this within your home. The interiors you design will begin to express your sense of taste and make you feel happy. If you’re not feeling happy and content in the room you are in, it’s time for a makeover!

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