Saturday, July 22, 2017  

Design, Arrange, Inspire
Invaluable Advice on Interior Design

We are very fortunate to have interior designers and decorators in this area who have a wealth of experience in helping their clients find the appropriate styles to compliment their tastes and their needs.  When designing and decorating a space it is important to keep in mind three key aspects; style, scale, space.


The first element of design is, and always will be, style.  This primarily deals with the style of the client.  “When we meet with a client the very first time we sit down with them and try and get an idea of their style based on pieces that they already own or pieces that they are drawn to,” explains Suzanne Hill of Designsmith Home & Design in Montross.

“As a designer it is important to understand an individual’s taste.  I truly believe that the best designed rooms look like they have evolved over time so I try to incorporate existing pieces into the theme of a room,” notes

Cindy Lloyd, interior designer for Nunnally’s in Warsaw.  “If everything looks brand new it looses something in the translation and isn’t as welcoming.”

“I like to tell my clients that if they already have a piece that they love, and fits with what they want to do with a room, then we can build the room around that particular piece,” remarks Paula Perrone Thomasson of Chesapeake and Cresent in Kilmarnock.  “The rules have relaxed about mixing pieces.  We are seeing rooms that have mixes of French with English and even Asian with American.”  Many pieces can work within a given room as long as it is fitting with the other design elements of the room.

Knowing a client’s style can allow decorators and designers to better make suggestions on how to change the feel of a room.  While some may fall in love with the idea of stacking chicken coops and topping them with glass as a coffee table, it will not work in every room.  Similarly, a white upholstered sofa will not work in every home, especially those inhabited by toddlers.  Hill explained that designers and decorators have the experience to know what will work for their clients and what will not.

“Visiting a home will allow you to experience how it flows from one room to the next,” explains Lloyd who visits at least one client’s home daily.  “This also allows me to get a feel for a client’s tastes and to see what their needs are.”  Once a client’s style is determined it is easier for a designer or decorator to know the parameters of the project they are working on.


In interior design and decorating scale will play a large role in which type of furnishings will work within your room.  Scale deals largely with the size of the room and the size of the furnishings.  “If you have an enormous room, it can handle larger pieces,” notes Thomasson.  “Some people try to make a small room look larger by using big pieces.  This sometimes works, but when attempting this I recommend seeking some outside assistance.”

Often times we you are trying to pair pieces of furniture together scale can be a problem.  It’s hard for a person’s eye to carry not only the style and color, but also the size of a piece of furniture from one location to the next.  Designers and decorators have many tools to help their clients understand the importance of scale.  They use everything from automated drawings, to storyboards, to pulling different pieces of furniture together on the showroom floor to determine the appropriate scale.  “It is important to understand that just because you like two pieces of furniture and the colors match does not mean that they will work well together in a room.  You can’t put an oversized sofa and a Victorian chair together, they just won’t mix well,” explains Hill.

Just because a particular chair and sofa will not work well together does not mean that you have to throw everything out the window.  Designers have a wealth of knowledge on the types of products available.  They may be able to find similar pieces to what you are interested in that are on the right scale.

 “Our clients are excellent at doing their own research, but with all the information available on the internet they still may not be able to find everything that is available,” adds Lloyd.  “Sometimes internet research can be more confusing than helpful.  With our understanding of what is available we can listen to their needs and make recommendations that they didn’t even know were available.”