I’ve had some time to reflect on the recent downsizing from our home to an apartment and wanted to share a post on what I call the “art and science of interior design”. My reflective thoughts have been focused on why I do what I do, what comes easy to me, where my talents and gifts lie, and what is really important to me. For those that do not know me, I absolutely love the hunt at a great estate sale or better yet, obsessing over the many fabric choices that are available to find the ultimate drapery fabric or that perfectly quirky bold print for an accent chair.
However, my favorite part of the process is moving furniture around to no avail, as I can then easily visualize and see what would work, fit or be better. I consider it a gift and love to share these gifts with my family, friends, clients and my design students. When designing space, we are creatively working to evoke a particular concept or emotion. You know when you walk into a space and it doesn’t have a positive vibe or the contrary, you walk into a space and immediately say, “ahhh, this has good ‘chi’”. Which is essentially energy.
This apartment my husband and I just fell upon. Even though the apartment was in the middle of a renovation, we were drawn to the energy and the light with a bonus of a beautiful view. We put our house on the market the next day!
With the move, this inexplicable feeling was brought to my attention. I loved my old space, it was comfortable and it worked well with a nice floor plan, but it did not have great natural light.
Because interior design follows the same rules as art, it’s important to keep in mind that there is no right or wrong. A space must be functional. It must serve its purpose. But fundamentally, what makes one space “beautiful” and another “no so pretty ” is simply a matter of opinion.
It’s quite subjective.
However, that’s also the beauty of interior design—it allow each person the ability to be unique. Because every space can be completely different, we’re able to be who we are and live how we want. Each design is as different as our unmistakable personality.
Science-Based Interior Design
That said, there are also very scientific aspects of interior design. Certain elements are grounded in math, for instance. These can get extraordinarily technical. Room measurements, geometry and color balance can be very precise. If you’re not skilled at these basic concepts it can be difficult to achieve the look and feel you want in a space.
Now, I agree, there are rules in interior design; but they should never be followed for their own sake. They’re simply the path we take to get to our end goal. They’re tools we use to create the outcome we’re looking for.
Geometry would be a great example of this. You don’t want everything in your space to be squared off, right angles because it has the tendency to look too edgy and harsh. Another example is scale and space planning—how to integrate furniture into a particular space. It’s important to consider the proper height, width and depth of furnishings and draperies to ensure the overall design of the room looks proportional. These are the foundational elements you have to consider when designing a room—the “science” of design.
Design is beauty. Beauty is art. Art is opinion. And opinion is individual.
And that’s a wonderful thing—because that allows us to express our own unique personality and individuality.
The choices and furniture placement in our new apartment combined with creating a mindful area felt quite comfortable. Perfect to work in, sit in, to just be in. It reminded me how important my job is and that I have the opportunity to make my client’s lives better as well as teach prospective NextGen Design Academy students the art and science of interior design. I am profoundly thankful and proud of this work.
Take a look at how I transformed my space below!