Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Rule of 3

I am frequently asked by clients in the midst of bare living rooms and freshly knocked down walls if there are any "rules" to remodeling. While there are plenty of technical rules, the design aspect is often a wide open range of possibilities. A harsh thought for any rule followers out there. In my study and work in interiors I have discovered what I like to call my Design Rule of 3.

The rule is quite simple, at least 3 different colors and 3 textures in every space. I created this rule to put an end to "matching." Which in extreme cases is the use of the same floral print fabric for your valance, curtain, and pillows. Matching perfectly to the couch which also matches the pale wood coffee table that matches all the end tables. A vicious cycle that can eventually take over.

Extreme cases of matching.

Putting an end to the matching craze

One tacky print at a time

Stop matching and think coordinate. What colors can you live with that look nicely together? A forest green and a firehouse red? A buttercup yellow and a deep sea blue? What patterns work together? A geometric print curtain with an ikat pillow?

In this living room there are three base colors, a bright yellow, a forest green, and a heather gray. Utilized over the solid couch, printed club chairs, painting, and ikat pillows to create an interesting environment where each piece compliments the next.

For a more subtle approach it can be as simple as using two different shades and tying them together with a neutral. Here they used a deep grey with a hint of blue and a lighter blue accent wall both wall colors are in the tile under the mantel. They are tied together with a cream color found in a solid love seat, in the geo patterned rug, curtain panels, and the accent plate. They finished the look off with the black accent tables and hints of silver. See how nothing actually "matches" rather each piece highlights the next.

Coordinating your interior space rather than matching everything together lends for a much more interesting space. Not only will you enjoy the details of the space for longer but when it comes time for a change it is much easier to swap out accessory pieces when everything doesn't "match."

3 different patterns with the same base color.
These bold reds and yellows complement each other.

The trick to using bold colors in a design is using them more than once. Here purple is found in the pillows and as a lighter shade in the rug and the black and white tapestry is accented by the ornate urn.

In this example all the colors are tied together in the painting but instead of matching the deep blues they went with a shade of purple for the chaise. The chairs accent the cream in the painting but they opted for a textured pillows for more interest.

A lot of times I have people ask me how I know different patterns and colors are going to look good together. To achieve this complement each bold move with a safe one, a brightly colored end table with a neutral coffee table, or a busy patterned accent pillow with a solid throw. Adding interest and thought to every decision without just adding pieces because they "match."

Coordinate your way through your new space! 

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