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Design by the Rules

To me a great living space needs to be more then just stylish it must be functional and flow seamlessly and offer relaxation, and most importantly be functional for how you and your family live everyday. Here’s a few basic design rules to get you there.

Where to begin

Before painting, rearranging furniture and buying accessories, determine what the primary function of the room will be. Spend some time thinking about the purpose of the space. Will your space be primarily for entertaining or filled with children each day? Once you determine the function of the room, draw inspirations from the mood you want to convey in the space.

If you don’t have a natural focal point in your space, such as a fireplace, you can easily create one by simply highlighting a particular piece of furniture, artwork, or by painting a contrasting color on a focal wall. Choose furniture that satisfies the room’s functions. If a certain piece doesn’t work in the space, get rid of it or trade it for something else around the house. Direct the main furniture pieces toward the focal point, and balance the room with pieces of various heights and weights.

Think outside the box

Create family-friendly areas that include stain-resistant upholstery and fabrics. One of my great go to for sourcing affordable options for fabrics is Alendel.  If your space is tight, think outside of the box and consider creating a multi-functional space. An office can easily double as a playroom, and a finished basement can easily double as a guest room when well planned.

Bathrooms can be trickier to design. At my design company we prefer to choose timeless materials that lean toward durability and longevity. When choosing tiles, faucets and fixtures avoid overly trendy colors and designs. Classic designs such as subway tiles, nickel fixtures, and claw-footed tubs make better investments. Armoires are great for storing towels and toiletries, and storage chests can be plumbed and converted into unique vanities.

Best investments pieces

Invest in pieces that you want to keep for the long haul, like a beautiful sofa and storage cases built  for longevity. Side tables, lamps and accent pieces are secondary. That said, investing in a quality designer piece can last a lifetime and give your space edge. If you need a little help finding those perfect pieces, call in a professional design firm likes ours to help make your space more beautiful and functional.

Designer Tips:

  1. Hang artwork six inches above your sofa and 60 inches to the centerline. Artwork that’s too large to hang consider placing against a wall and use as a focal point.
  2. Hang light fixtures 24 to 32 inches above the dining room table — low enough to cast the right light, but high enough not to block views.
  3. Choose a rug that’s large enough to slide under the front legs of the sofa and chairs, unifying the furniture.

About the author: Dvira Ovadia is principal of Dvira Interiors, a Toronto-based celebrity and award-winning designer who appears regularly on HGTV.

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