Ruth Chafin Interior Design

The Inland Empire's "voice of Experience" since 1979

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How to design a great room

(originally appeared in Inland Empire Magazine, June 2011)
Start with a Vision. You know in your mind what you want. But plucking that image from your head and turning it into a workable space that’s also beautiful and functional isn’t easy. A good interior designer, however, knows how to draw that concept from your imagination and turn it into a tangible success. It starts with a design concept based on an important architectural principle: form follows function. This is the foundation of good design.
From there, a designer will assemble the tools necessary to turn your dream into a reality. The building blocks of good design are rooted in the elements and principles of interior design. Your designer will evaluate spatial relationships, material relationships and product choices to bring together the final objectives of sound design which are utility, economy, beauty and character.

Elements of Design

Writers use words, mathematicians use numbers and musicians use sound as the language to express their ideas. In design, expression is achieved through organizing the raw ingredients of good design: spatial and material relationships.

Spatial Relationships

This process uses the left side of the brain, the analytical side. The development of this part of the concept regards how the space functions in its entirety. You will want to explore the possibility of moving furniture around, moving walls, utilizing closets in a different manner and developing a furniture floor plan. This is an important step because it determines the scale of the furniture and the proper amount of space needed for your pathways. .
Once the furniture floor plan is set, you can develop a lighting plan. Overlooking lighting promises future problems. All the expense of your project will be underutilized without a proper lighting plan. Therefore, a lighting designer can be very critical to the success of your design.
Develop your space plan accurately and then find a lighting designer to assist with the design of the lighting components. A lighting specialist can help you develop the desired atmosphere in your newly designed space and help find components that are energy efficient and that will ease the transition between how your space is used and how your furnishings are illuminated once the project is complete. Stay focused on the function and intended use of the space. A well thought-out plan will consider the changes needed as your family grows; a well thought-out plan is timeless.

Material Relationships

This process uses the right side of the brain, the creative side. This is where we are developing all the pretty products and how they relate to each other. This part can be somewhat overwhelming. There are so many products from all over the world to choose from, many sources and price points that can easily sabotage your design concept and you will not realize this until it is too late.
The materials in your project have a relationship with each other, and if they aren’t combined well, there can be difficult consequences. Questions to ask yourself might include: what will your furniture look like on the carpet? How will you transition flooring products with the baseboard? Do you realize the consistency provided by a metal finish can act as a bridge between multiple industries- plumbing and lighting fixtures, hardware for cabinets, doors or hinge, appliances, accessories, furniture detail, art framing, floral containers. These are some prime examples of using the elements and principles of design to make calculated decisions.
Developing a design concept is a difficult process that needs a creative vision, analytic thinking and detailed planning. It requires resistance to impulsive product options that may sabotage your plans. Calculated decision making and clear guidance from industry professionals can provide you with valuable insight, preventing you from drifting from your final goal. Build a team that will make your home remodeling or decorating dreams come true.