Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and the foundation of a majority of home decorating. We find rooms we like in a magazine, store or website, and attempt to recreate it for ourselves—sometimes more successfully than others. While it’s impossible to say what makes a great room truly great, we’ve taken some successful ones and broken them down into their key design principles. Here are three successful design formulas and why they work.
BLACK+WHITE+POP OF COLOR
Why it Works:
Taken individually, the elements in this contemporary space could be considered stark, yet they work together harmoniously. A predominantly black and white palette is punctuated by accents of deep purple to create an atmosphere that is bold and graphic. A highly polished floor is reflected in equally shiny chrome chair legs while the sofa is covered in a black and white hound’s-tooth pattern. Natural elements, such as the blooming branches and the oversized image of a classic sculpture add a much-needed softness to the otherwise straight planes and angles of the room. Yet it’s the pop of color delivered by the purple chairs and pillows that attracts the eye, breaks up the space, and injects personality.
SOLIDS + PATTERNS + SCALE
Why it Works:
Patterns work best when they’re well planned and varying in scale. This room successfully pairs solid upholstery fabrics on the sofa and drapery with a large-scale patterned area rug. This gives the eye a place to rest. The two colorful solid blue and small patterned accent pillows work to tie all the pieces together—uniting the blue in the pattern on the chair with the creams and whites of the rug. Its pattern complements that of the rug, yet is a larger in scale, which is essential. The medium scale pattern on the accent chairs pairs wonderful without competing with the area rug. While there are three distinct patterns in this setting, they work because they vary in scale, yet share one color palette.
BOLD COLOR+NEUTRALS+WARM FINISHES
Why it Works:
Orange is a bold, high-maintenance color—yet it shines in this inspiration room. While it’s most often used in modern design, this look is classic traditional. A paprika-hued and white small graphic textured fabric covers the armless chairs and is counterbalanced with a neutral off-white sofa. The pieces are tied together with a third fabric—a solid orange pillow and drapery to help tie the pieces together. A golden area rug creates a warm environment that further softens the deep orange, while rich wood finishes with warm undertones round out the design.
CAPTURE THE FEELING
It can be challenging—or even impossible based on budget and product availability—to replicate an inspiration photo. If you have your heart set on one, try enlisting the help of a professional designer or retail design associate to help you achieve the look. If you decide to do it yourself, you’ll improve your chances of success by identifying what you like about the space and recreating that feeling instead of trying to copy each individual element exactly.