It isn’t what you have but how you use it.
Audrey, Di, and Jennifer:
When I think about interior redesign I always think of hair dressers/stylists. And the woman who goes into a shop carrying a picture of Audrey Hepburn, or Princess Di, or Jennifer Lawrence and tells the hair dresser, “Make me look like that!” It doesn’t matter that the customer is 50-something and 90 pounds overweight with a sagging throat and the features of Witch Hazel.
There are actually two problems with the scenario.
First, that customer will never look like Audrey, Di, or Jen…short of head-to-toe reconstructive surgery, enough liposuction to construct a second person, and turning the clock back 30 years.
The second problem; why would she want to? Be a clone of someone else? Imagine if all the women in the world suddenly woke one morning looking like Jennifer Lawrence; we would be a vast herd of jennifers, indistinguishable from one another.
Few people are born beautiful. No one is born perfect. Even Audrey Hepburn, an icon of beauty, grace, style, and class…had big feet. (Sorry Audrey, but she did.) She highlighted her best features so well that people rarely noticed her big feet. I suspect “attractive” people downplay their imperfections, learn to make the most of what they have, and then just get on with it.
Perhaps the beauty shop patron would have done better to ask “what style would best suit me?” How can I be the most attractive me possible? Not a clone of Audrey, Di, or Jennifer. The best me I can be.
It isn’t what you have; it’s what you do with it, applies not only to individual style but also to homes. Expensive, beautiful furnishings do not automatically make a “beautiful” room. Conversely, “beautiful” rooms have been created using inexpensive, second-hand-thrift. It isn’t what you have; it’s how you use it.
“Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.” Jack London
Redesign is using what you already have. It is making the most of what you have; it is making the best of what you have.
Redesign makes economic sense; it also makes ecological sense. Instead of discarding and starting over again with all new things and a hefty price tag, redesign focuses on optimizing what you already have…while helping to save the planet.
Everyone is a decorator:
Everyone is creative in some arena, but being creative in one area does not guarantee proficiency in another. Don’t expect a novelist to compose an opera or a composer to write a novel or a fashion designer to make a movie. Not everyone has a good eye or natural aptitude for creating beautiful interiors and yet everyone is an interior decorator. House, apartment, room, hovel, tee-pee, prison cell, or cave, whenever you chalk a picture onto the cave wall, buy a chair for the apartment, choose wall colors for the house, tape a poster on the cell wall, or find the best place for sleeping furs in the tee-pee, you are decorating and designing.
Pulling it all together:
It’s easy to pick out what we like; it’s pulling it all together that’s hard. The ultimate goal, when everything is put together: the furniture, accessories, art work, colors, lighting, textiles, prints, walls, floors, and windows—is a cohesive, functional, harmonious, comfortable, and attractive room that also reflects the personality and individuality of the owner—often using furnishings and accessories that are mass produced and can be found in a gazillion other homes. And frequently in spaces that may be small, oddly-shaped, or just plain funky.
Considering all of the elements and variables involved: space, line, scale, proportion, visual weight, balance, texture, textiles, pattern, light, colors and color values—-not to mention furnishings, art, accessories, walls, ceilings, floors, and windows—and small and funky spaces—it is understandable that mistakes can easily be made.
Something doesn’t work, and we don’t know why. Something is wrong but we don’t know what. It doesn’t look the way we envisioned it. It hasn’t turned out the way we planned. Something is off but what? The room is livable…the room is functional…the room is—ordinary. Ordinary: “normal, with no special or distinctive features”—“commonplace or standard.” We were hoping for more.
Whatever our style, whatever our objectives….pretty, chic, cozy, sophisticated, elegant, homey, beautiful—ordinary is not usually on our goal list. We would like the room to be, not necessarily extraordinary, but something beyond mere ordinary.
Many folk tend to make the same miscalculations: things are too big, too small, too many, too few, too bright, too dull, too high, too low, too crowded, too sparse, too much or not enough. Issues usually have to do with awkward furniture arrangement, lack of a focal point, problems with accessories, placement of art work, and color or lack of color. Some folks rely on expensive furnishings and skip the part about balance, scale, light, or color. Some folks focus on function or comfort and skip the aesthetics. Some folks try really hard and get serious A’s for effort. A few folks, not many but a few, don’t really care; they would be just as happy living in a storage unit, which is pretty much how their houses look and feel.
An example of a common mistake:
Generally folks tend to think of space in terms of how much can be fit into an area. So a bedroom wall is lined with three dressers positioned side-by-side and from wall-to-wall. Technically, the three dressers physically fit into the space but they give the room a lopsided, unbalanced feeling, and the room looks more like a wonky stockroom than the attractive, intimate sanctuary they were shooting for.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein
Redesign can be something as simple as tweaking the furniture arrangement or as complex as a complete room make-over. On-line redesign involves ideas, suggestions, and/or recommendations, options and alternatives and may address:
—furniture arrangement—working with color—placement of art work—streamlining and reducing visual clutter—accessorizing—creating a focal point—wall, floor, or window treatments—lighting—furniture refinishing or re-purposing—patterns, prints, and textures