Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Importance Of Research in Design

I have just visited a lodge with the look at undertaking the refurbishment. I am very open minded when it comes to looking at design, and appreciate good quality design when I see it, but boy do I get annoyed when I see that designers have used totally inappropriate products in spaces.

Here is an example. In a high traffic cafe they have used a timber veneer floor board. It hasn't withstood the high foot traffic and now looks disgusting, it cannot be sanded back and refinished like solid timber floor boards and to replace it with timber floor boards, the timber would have to sit in the space for at least a month to acclimatise to the environment before it can be laid. This will definitely not work, as the business has to keep functioning.  That was mistake number one.

Mistake number two, using a paper wallpaper in the rest rooms. It has a lovely design, but you can just imagine what it looks like around the wet areas, basically there is no paper there anymore and where horizontal surfaces are cleaned all the time like basins and shelves, the adjacent wallpaper has rubbed off. A few areas have large gauges out of them, the wallpaper does not protect the walls at all. This was definitely not a suitable finish for a commercial rest room.

So, my lesson here today is the importance of research in design. It is crucial that you understand the products you specify. Obviously we don't expect finishes to last forever, but we can make sure we get as much out of them as we can and that the interior stays in good shape for as long as possible, especially in commercial circumstances.

Don't be fooled by something that looks pretty! Get down and dirty and find out the specifications of it. See if the company can let you know of where it has been installed, you could go and have a look and see what it looks like over time, or get a testimonial from some of their clients.

Over time you will soon get to know which products are quality and which you need to steer clear of, but until then you really need to make sure you research each item you are putting into your design and make sure it is appropriate.

I am not saying everything has to be the highest quality and highest price, sometimes we have projects that are designed for a short period of time, and you can use good looking, low budget material sand finishes, as that is what the client brief demands, but if you need to have something that will last more than five years then you really need to read the fine print!

I hope this reminds you for the next time you see the latest and greatest design product. Don't just jump on the band wagon because it is new, take it for a test drive first! 

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

How Many Colors is Too Many?

How many colors should you use in a color scheme in a room?
This is a very popular interior color question from our readers. So I thought I would share my ideas with you.

Using more than five colors

My  usual reply is that there are no hard and fast rules, (here it comes) BUT more than five in one space will tend to make your interior look too busy and not pleasing to your eye.

I am not including a small color highlight in a sofa fabric as a color, or the ten different shades of green on a landscape painting on the wall. I am meaning five large areas of different color.

In this photograph there are about five large amounts of color, because of the style, it works, any more colors and it would definitely be too much.

More than five colors in the fabric alone!

In this tropical bedroom, the fabric alone has more than five colors, do I need to say more?

Using five colors or more with texture and pattern

This combination of fabric patterns has more than five colors, but they are balanced by using texture, pattern and the subdued tones of the hues.

I have shown you some examples of  design using more than five colors, I searched through my extensive library of photos, and most interiors use under five colors. In fact the most popular combination would be the use of two colors and a neutral, like this photo below. Oh, I forgot to mention that the neutrals don't count as a color, these are Black, Grey and White, and variations of them.

Two colors
Two Colors

Find more info on color and how to use it

Find heaps of color scheme ideas 

I hope this gets you thinking about color and how to use it. Start looking around you and counting how many colors are used in one space. What looks better more or less? Does it make a difference if there is a definite style or period that the room is decorated in? Most importantly, analyze how the color combinations make you feel. I know it sounds a bit strange, but color does evoke different feelings within us.Remember how this works is it good or bad and start trying it out on your designs.
Find more information about interior color meanings.

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