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How These Basic Design Principals Will Transform Your House

How These Basic Design Principals Will Transform Your House

Home décor is one of those things that seems easy but is harder than it looks. Everyone has their ideas about what a modern home should look like, and far too often, this ends with people cramming a whole bunch of “artsy” objects like vases or paintings together without thinking about the needs of the room. And sometimes there can be a clash between making your home beautiful and functional.

There are certainly excellent guides available with tips on how to decorate your home, but home décor is not just about painting your door red or adding mirrors. It is about taking a holistic approach with your entire home and understanding what design principles work best. It is only when you know what you want from your house that you can begin to focus on the little things in every room.

Understand the Importance of Negative Space

A good writer does not needlessly puff up his work with empty platitudes, and a good home designer does not cram his home with all sorts of junk. An important concept in home décor is negative design, or the blank walls or spaces in your home that have no furniture or art. That negative space can possess artistic value as well, whether it is as a contrast to the activity elsewhere in the room or through its ability to create a peaceful, serene place through its emptiness.

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So, how do you properly take advantage of negative design? A negative space should not just be a spot that stays empty because you cannot think of anything good to put there. It should be a spot which you intentionally leave blank because adding more objects would create further clutter. And, note that negative space can take a lot of forms, whether it is an empty wall or a table with no objects placed upon it.

The goal is, above all else, to create a place where you feel comfortable. If staring at a blank wall is too unnerving, then think about adding something. But, do not feel like you have to add something to make your rooms more artistic.

Pick out a Focal Point

Whenever you walk into a room, there will always be a particular object which you see first. It can be a flower vase on a table, a window, or even a white wall that provides negative space. That area of the room is the focal point and is what any room should be based around.

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Think of the focal point as the sun, which every other object in the room should orbit around. Think about placing objects so that they are located in relation to it, such as by arranging your furniture to frame the focal object and make it more visible to someone entering the room.

By creating and emphasizing a focal point, you have a point which the visitor will look at, from which his vision expands as he sees how the rest of the room complements that point.

Lighting Matters

You can have the most tastefully arranged furniture possible, but that will not matter if it clashes with your lighting. As Elle Décor notes, there are three kinds of home lighting: accent, ambient, and task lighting. Understanding which kind of lighting to use is essential for a properly decorated home.

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Task lighting is the lighting which we often think of first, as it is the lighting which we need to complete essential tasks. This can include a desk lamp in your study or a pendant light on your bathroom mirror that allows you to get the best look at yourself. If you live in a modular home in California, you’ll know that ambient lighting is the most general kind of lighting which we use when we throw the switch to our living room. Accent lighting is lighting specifically intended to illuminate an object such as a painting.

You should aim to have a mix of different lighting sources and strengths. In a dining room, go with a dimmer, lower-strength light bulb which can be used to create a more romantic mood. In the living room, use brighter lights to draw attention to your art and make it easier to read.

Be Careful with Color

Any homeowner who has had a bad paint job understands how important color is to home décor, and so we will often think about what color the room should be first.

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This is a mistake. You should pick a color which will coordinate with your furnishings, not the other way around. And, while you may certainly want to be bold and vivacious, it is better to do that with your furniture than with the room’s color. While negative space has its value, your visitors’ eyes should be drawn to your furniture, not the wall.

HGTV has a further series of tips for how to pick the right color to decorate your wall, and I would strongly recommend picking out a series of complementary, similar yet different colors to decorate your home. But, above all else, do not be afraid to experiment. Your home should show your personality, and a bright home can indicate a bright person.

Featured photo credit: Lennart Tange via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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