10 Design Rules to Live By
By Megan Johansson, Contributor to Molly Howe Design
Ever wondered how a designer can go from concept to install without a hiccup? Well, friends, it turns out that it’s not by chance at all - in fact, we swear by a set of design rules that guides us on every single project. So today we’re sharing our “10 Design Rules to Live By,” and trust us when we say that these are critical to a successful remodel.
So without further ado, let’s check it out.
1. Measure / Function
Before you do anything at all, it is absolutely crucial to take measurements and decide on the functional needs of your space. The dimensions of a room will dictate everything, including the scale of light fixtures, furniture, and cabinets, and the function will determine exactly how you need your space to work - whether that means incorporating more storage or having a room built for entertaining.
2. Mood Board
A mood board allows you to get inspired and to narrow down everything from colors décor. But in addition to these details, it should also capture how you want the room to feel. In this mood board, we’ve pulled together a bold color scheme with accents of gold and pops of unique patterns to give it a chic and fresh vibe that we love.
When you’re designing a space, keep in mind that the eye is naturally drawn to things that are symmetrical and even. You don’t necessarily have to have the exact same thing doubled in every room, but you should keep things similar in size and visual weight to incorporate balance.
4. Layered Lighting
Having multiple types of lighting in a room is key to creating visual intrigue. Not only do different light sources allow you to highlight multiple areas and change the light levels as needed, but together they also give the room an overall look that feels cohesive and complementary.
5. Mix and Match Textures
Textures are the best way to add interest and pops of excitement to your room while still sticking to a simple color scheme. In this design, we kept everything in the neutral family – blacks, greys, whites, and browns – but we played with different wood designs, stonework, and tile to create a texture-filled space that dazzles.
6. Anchor Your Room
Whether it’s a bed, sofa, bar, or dining table, an anchor point helps to visually root a room in place. This allows the rest of the design elements to pop individually, but also work together as one.
7. The Rule of Three
Think of the “rule of three” as the Goldilocks of the design world – two is usually too empty, four can feel too overcrowded, but three feels just right. Another trick with this rule is to make sure each of the three items are different in size and shape so they form one picture all together – this bedside vignette showcases this perfectly with a collection of three distinct (and adorable!) bud vases.
8. Invest in Quality Furniture
Vases, lamps, and throw pillows can always be rearranged or swapped out, but your furniture will likely stay in place for much longer. When you opt for quality pieces, you’re investing in style that is durable and built to last for years to come.
9. Clean and Tidy
Want your room to look picture perfect all year round? Keep things clean and tidy, and get as minimal as you can. The less you have in terms of clutter, the more your room’s design will shine. (But if you absolutely need to store things, be sure to place them in stylish containers that lend elegance to your space.)
10. Take a Step Back
Finally, when everything is in its place, take a step back and look at it as a whole. It’s not until you see the entire room at a glance that you can make the final tweaks. Maybe a shelf looked great close up, but now it feels too cluttered. Or maybe you need to switch around a few pillows to get the balance you intended. Whatever it is, be sure to view it all as one piece before you give it the final stamp of approval.
And that’s it! Designing can feel overwhelming at times, but we guarantee that if you follow these 10 tips, your room will be the work of art you always dreamed it would be.