So girls and boys, I’ve been asked this question numerous times and I think it’s because it’s really intimidating to a lot of people. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns, textures, styles…whatever, it’s your space and it should reflect you, as a person; however, there are a few simple rules that you should follow. Once you’re able to say you considered all these rules, let it be if you like it. A big mistake in interior design is over-thinking every. last. decision. That’s my job, so if you think you’re going to do that, then hire me! (shameless plug…hey, it’s my blog..) Seriously though, don’t belabor every choice you make. Choose what you like, attempt to follow these simple rules and you should be good to go!
Mixology 101: Not just for cocktails, but those are nice too…
1. Choose a color scheme to work within and keep that in mind.
What feeling are you going for in that room? Soothing? Choose cool, muted hues like blues, grays, sage greens, etc. You know what cool hues are.
Want something sexy and fun? Go for brighter colors—reds, vibrant greens. Deep turquoise is a favorite color of mine right now. It’s really dramatic in a fabric like taffeta that has an awesome shine to it. (I’m actually using that fabric right now in a powder room with deep, dark crimson walls.)
You don’t want the entire room to look like something under “The Bigtop,” but definitely have little punches of color throughout, if that’s your style.
2. You can have it your way, but don’t get crazy! (Bon Qui Qui, anyone?)
When you’re selecting fabrics, choose something organic like a floral, scroll, damask or arabesque. You want something on a large scale that’s bold and graphic, perhaps, and then mix that with something more muted and/or smaller in scale like a small stripe, some small-scale tone on tones, any pattern that requires you to be up close and personal to decipher it. Then, throw in some solids in a delicious textures like velvet, chenille, silk satin, or whatever you like. If you’re feeling funky or are generally drawn to prints, a GOOD (I stress good here) animal print is always a nice choice and keeps things feeling fresh… Clarke and Clarke is doing some of my favorite fabrics right now, and one is a velvet with a subtle snakeskin print on top (in something clear and shiny.)
3. Mix and Complement—not mix and match
Again, keeping your color scheme in mind, let’s say you're going with four pillows on your sofa. Use a big-impact pattern for two of them, and a smaller-scale pattern, tone-on-tone or subtle animal print for the other two.
For the novice, try this: Keep the big pieces of furniture in textured solids, try a big-impact pattern for the drapery, patterned pillows for some oomph and a couple of pillows with a smaller scale pattern. Put down a fun geographic rug (Kravet has the BEST rug patterns) and then put up your feet and grab a cocktail because your room is finished and fab!
Besides some fabulous projects and travels, one of the new exciting things I’ve been working on lately is getting familiar with all the ins and outs of the world of social media. In an effort to ever evolve, I’m going to be dedicating some time to the social universe, because isn’t that where we all live and communicate these days, anyway? And while we’re here, why not make the interwebz as beautiful as possible, shall we?
I’m still playing with format and planning, but I’d like to jump back on this blog as a channel for communicating with you, the casual design aficionado, the client, the fellow designer, or you, the Internet surfer who just happened across my blog. Great choice, by the way…I think it’s pretty fabulous and hope you will too.
I’ll be posting inspiring photos, talking about my travels, updating you on my current projects and amending your design woes, one at a time. So stick around, check out my site or shoot me a design question--I’d love to hear from you and be sure to check back frequently for new posts!
A great interior starts with a plan. No planning = a hot mess (see above.) Start with these three questions to yourself:
Decision 1: What makes me comfortable?
Decision 2: What words describe me and my style?
Decision 3: What do I want to say about myself to my guests?
The kind of interior in which one person chooses to live can obviously be vastly different from someone else. Some friends of mine from the south have brought to their interior a sense of comfort, charm, and southern hospitality that is evident from the moment you step inside. Other friends of mine in Arizona prefer a sleek, modern interior with concrete floors, a neutral palette, and period pieces to match their mid-century modern home. While each of these couples have a different idea of comfort, good design crosses every stylistic boundary, and should be pleasing regardless of the specific style. If you think an interior just downright sucks, it probably does.
Most likely you’re going to have several answers to Decision 2 above. Don’t put yourself in a box, and don’t agonize over choosing one or two words to describe what you want. An eclectic mix of styles, furnishings, accessories, and artwork can be a very sophisticated look with the right planning. A contemporary sectional sofa can look great with the right antique. A French armchair pairs fabulously with modern art; and great traditional crown and wall moldings shouldn’t limit you to a strictly traditional interior. Mix it up a little… You might end up with something much more “you.”
Once you’ve answered these questions, get some inspiration! Flip through some magazines and books. Interior design magazines are a great place to start, but check out the latest fashion magazines too. You might be surprised how a spread in Vogue can inspire a color scheme and an overall mood for your space.
What do you want to silently say to your guests when they visit? Examples of what your home should not say to your guests:
“I like to collect Precious Moments figurines and display them everywhere.”
Attention reader: Less is more when it comes to tchotchkies, and I do mean a LOT less. Don’t look like you’re addicted to garage sales.
“Don’t sit down anywhere. You’ll probably mess up the throw pillows and you know how particular I am…oh yeah and don’t touch anything either.”
Your home should be inviting, and not make your guests feel uncomfortable or scared they’re going to mess something up. If I spill my martini, I need it to not be a big deal.
“I really like color, so I decided to use all of them.”
This is not the kind of planning I’m talking about. I don’t want a seizure as I walk through your house.
Proper planning does not mean that you can’t accumulate things over time that you love. In fact, I encourage it. Having a plan from the beginning will prevent you from choosing something that is too big, too small, the wrong color, etc. A well-planned interior is an absolute necessity for a great space.
I’ve decided to turn my blog into not only “Global Design Inspiration,” where I write about my travels around the world and different cultures and styles of architecture and interiors that inspire me, but also helpful design tips. I’ll share the strategies that I use on a daily basis to make the magic happen. These elements and principles of design are what every great designer, artist, architect, etc. use to create beauty and harmony. Everyone can learn the basics, and if you take my advice, I can be a little less uncomfortable when I come to your house.
So that being said, let’s start with what I believe to be the most important starting point in an interior, and also the most messed up- SCALE. I see it all the time, and so do you- a small living room with a GIGANTIC, over-stuffed, Tuscan monstrosity of a sofa that is the elephant in the room, and really might as well be one. Or a small modern condo- with the BIGGEST SECTIONAL SOFA YOU HAVE EVER SEEN IN YOUR LIFE. These sofas often leave no room for any other furniture, and I want to set my cocktail somewhere, thanks.
The problem of scale also works the other way, with a huge great room and a tiny seating group floating in the middle- we are underwhelmed.
You: “Tell us how to avoid this Chris!”
Me: “I’m getting there!”
I begin with a layout, and so should you. If there is no existing blueprint, the space is measured and plopped into a CADD program, or on graph paper. Analyzing a space from above lets you sketch some rectangles, play with the dimensions, and you’ll quickly see if you’re going to be able to walk around that cool, contemporary sofa you saw last weekend, and if you can fit your existing coffee table with it. You can also cut out the shapes of furniture from a separate sheet of graph paper and move them around on the plan. Don’t forget to draw in door openings and door swings so you don’t obstruct them. Also be mindful of your traffic flow.
You: “But Chris! My sofa is way too big! Can I make it work?”
Me: “It will work perfectly on Craig’s List! Get rid of it.”
Visit www.ChrisJovanelly.com to learn a little more about how Chris creates stunning spaces.
Where do I begin to describe style in perhaps the most stylish city in the world? Rome is a fabulous city, and a city of well-dressed, beautiful, sophisticated locals. Everywhere you look is an architectural and artistic masterpiece. I thought with an education in art history that I would be well-prepared for what I would see. It was unlike I ever imagined! The fountains, temples, and ruins are so much more than I ever expected.
Fashion is a huge inspiration to me as an interior designer, and in Rome, it is the best, and most sophisticated I’ve ever seen. It’s everywhere, and I loved it. I seriously saw a woman riding a bike in 5-inch heels.
I often flip through Vogue and GQ, instead of Architectural Digest and Metropolitan Home, tearing out ads that have style, creative composition, color, and beauty. Gucci and Louis Vuitton are two of my favorites for cutting-edge ads. These can serve as inspiration just as well, if not better than a spread in an interior design magazine.
I love photography. When I travel I try to take great pictures, that when I get home, I can make them black and white, alter them a bit, and then use them in my designs. Rome was a great place for this, and I got many great shots all over the city. I also do this with my clients’ photos, to make it a little more personal. Arranging a group of black and white photos of Roman architecture would be beautiful and stylish!
Rome was a great place for inspiration, and what I took away I’ll be able to use in all types of interiors.
Beautiful architecture is everywhere you look in
What is so inspiring to me about the interior design of
The ornamented walls, ceilings, and parquet floors become a backdrop to modern, sometimes minimal furnishings. The wall-moldings might be painted the same color as the wall to appear more subtle, and textural. Modern furnishings and limited accessories put the emphasis on the architecture. This sort of restraint in decoration suggests a “discriminating” style- that pieces were chosen carefully and deliberately, and each piece, even accessory, is necessary to the overall design.
I love many styles, and to be discriminating doesn’t mean you have to be minimal at the same time. The look of abundance is also fabulous- but not abundantly accessorized with horrible little nick-nacks.