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The Great Interior Design Hoax


Interior design advice is not created equal.  But there is one particular piece of advice which when followed can leave you with an interior disaster rather than a solution.  I’ve seen it in magazines and even heard it from a few A-list designers.  Regardless of who it is from or where it is found or written, this pice of design advice is not good.

Example of a lazy decorator

This single pice of designer-speak literally makes my skin crawl.  Lets’ be real, it is complete BS!  Telling someone they can add any old thing to an interior is misleading at best.  Oh, on occasion it may not turn out hideous but a majority of the time it does.  Take a look around the next time you are in a home faced what you gently call bad, now remember they think it works.

Common twists on this sentiment:

  • Buy what you love.
  • Fill your house with what you love.
  • If you love it, it will go.

Let’s take a look at this for a moment, seriously.  Imagine if you will, your power is out and your closet is completely dark and you need to get dressed for a public speaking engagement.  If it is in your closet, we assume you love it, so you begin to put together an outfit… Bad clothing selection

Following the logic of “if you like it, it will work” allows you to pick anything from your closet including shoes and accessories for a successful outfit.  After getting dressed, the lights come on and voila you look fabulous, not.

The same thing happens, with the lights on, in home decorating when people follow this advice.

  • Everything does not work together.
  • All colors do not work together.
  • All decorative accessories do not work together.
  • Every piece of furniture or fabric does not work with another.
  • A stylish wall color does not always work with the rest of the decor.

Table does not work with rugNo matter how much I might salivate over the above table, I can not put it on top of this rug – too conflicting.

There is no such thing as making it work when it clearly doesn’t, though we will try.  Often our ego makes us ignore what our brain is telling us: “but I paid $500 for it” or “it was my Mother’s” or “but I love it.”  If you catch yourself trying to rationalize some interior object or idea, in most cases it does not work.

Hey, I get in fights with myself over this too.  I love some fabric or wallpaper but no matter how I try to convince myself, it does not work.

Beautiful interiors are created not just from items we love or all beautiful things, but from the combination of parts and pieces.  Good decorating requires restraint and great editing.  As much as I might love a certain wall color, my artwork is more important and white is what features it the best.  If I went for a wall color I love, my living room would look hideous.

As a designer I realize many things are subjective but every color, object or idea does not work with everything else.  It isn’t so much about good taste but about understanding what works together is a science more than it is a given.  One has to learn it and cultivate it.  Telling someone anything works when it come to design is perpetuating a design hoax, it is a lie.Lisa sig

 Clothing photos via Net-A-Porter

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