When thinking about decorating, redesigning or just updating your space, designing your home is much like designing a relationship. Designers need to listen, question, comprehend and create. If you decide to take on doing the design for yourself here are just a few tips to keep you focused. You may find that design is even therapeutic. If the task becomes overwhelming then definitely use a designer.

Start With One Room – It’s easier to tackle the update and or redesign task if you start with one room. Once you get this one space right, keep that theme and transfer it to other areas. The style, color theme and purpose for each space.

Don’t Be A Designer Snob – Coordinate items that complement one another and share one or two design elements. You want your space to feel like home. It doesn’t matter if you spend $5.00 on something and it works with an items of $5,000.00 – it is perfectly fine.

A Matter Of Black And White – Classic, chic and timeless … you can add the black and white color combinations to any style and color theme. You can add a black and white throw pillow into a traditional room the same way you can add a black and white traditional pattern to a modern room full of orange and browns.

Comfort Is Key – Make sure that your seating pieces are comfortable, especially in areas that many people will gather. The kitchen for example is a space that guests and family members will gather often, whether it is for homework or for conversation while preparing a meal. Why not add a sofa or a settee as part of the seating in the kitchen. It changes up the look and adds something unexpected.

Mix It Up – YES, it is perfectly fine to mix metals. Rose gold, silver, gold, black iron all can work in unison. The trick is the finish that is used for each. Don’t have all metals shiny or matte, mix the finish / texture so that there is depth to a space. Use rich warm metal colors like matte brass or oil-rubbed bronze across from the cool ones, such as silver and chrome. An easy place to start is changing the pulls and hardware on your kitchen cabinets or the interior doors. You can add various other metals to accessorize with and to use on shelving.

Refocus And Edit – If a space becomes boring or looks like it has lost its life, remove all the accessories and reposition them. Redo your shelves and add books to a coffee table and add sculptural elements. Size and shape will matter to make all look and feel balanced. What you don’t use … this is a good time to repurpose in another room or give away and get rid of the clutter.

Mix and Match – Think outside of the box and decorate bookshelves using different items that are important to you. Mix these items into your bookshelves. You can use paintings, photos, books, and various other accessories. Some books can be standing up and others laying down flat to allow for an object to sit on it. Paintings and art work can also be hung on bookshelves if done correctly and in balance and symmetry with other objects.

Live With Meaning – Always live with things that you love and have meaning for you. There is always a way to take a very old vintage item, for example, and place it in a modern space by sitting it upon a funky black and white box or on top of a purple clear, Lucite block. Think outside of the box.

Be Inspired – Not everyone has a personal style but you can be inspired by something or someone – perhaps cooking or how someone dresses, a song, or even the landscape. You too can cultivate a style. Just make a decision that you want to have some style and then focus on it. For example , if you want to add some color into your living room, bring in the color in an ottoman and then use some books to sit on top of it with the book covers bringing in other colors that are in that space.

Break The Rules – Although as a designer it is important to understand the design ‘’rules’’, often the best and most interesting spaces are the ones that break the rules. Using your personal taste along with some of the design principles will be the best way to get that stylish, “designer” look that you can call your own.

Design At Your Fingertips – These days design is borderless. You can find anything you want on the internet. So you don’t have to travel the world to get items that reflect your heritage or things that are important to you. So use the internet and research.

Dawn Chapnick is the Principal at Dawn Chapnick Designs. For more information and to book your next project please visit www.dawnchapnick.com