The Design Process Revealed - Space

The Design Process Revealed - Space

Increase the feel of space

For it to work out how big a room is, the brain demands the eye to find its corners. If those corners are disguised or difficult to locate the brain will assume a room is bigger rather than smaller.

The eye and brain crave interesting detail or pattern so concentrate on catching the eye in the middle of a space away from the corners.

Spread Out

Borrow space from outside the room by using the same colour scheme and flooring in adjoining spaces. Whenever possible, use glazed doors, so that views extend from one room to another.

Be Reflective

Always aim to hang a large mirror opposite a window to capture and maximise the light and reflected space.

So that you're not perpetually persecuted by the distraction of your own reflection position a vase full of flowers, lamp or ornament in front of a mirror at eye height. You'll still receive all the benefits of light and space reflected.

Use the same kind of solutions you already employ for clever dressing: vertical stripes make anything look taller, horizontal stripes make anything look broader. Large expanses of plain fabric i.e. oversize sofas will appear more elegant and less dominating if you use a contrast colour or pattern as a runner through the centre, just like a broad belt.

Blur the Boundaries

Skirting boards painted the same colour as the floor or made of the same material will trick the eye into thinking the floor extends further and the room is bigger.

Getting Practical

Although we are all obsessed by the concept of space and light, in fact human beings relish a difference so creating smaller, more enclosed, more cosy areas means you give yourself a refuge or a retreat. I love large open rooms with intimate furniture arrangements away from the walls in the centre, so that you get the best of both worlds.

Creating Illusions

Pattern can be used to trick the eye. A small geometric repeat on the wall will make your brain think that the wall is bigger. A big geometric repeat will shrink a space. The same principal very obviously applies to the scale of floor or wall tiles. More often than not size matters and smaller is better than larger.

Plan your points

Using a piece of paper and a rough plan of your room, work out where your principal focal points - the fireplace, the window, the television. Connect them up so that you get a point where these lines or axes meet. This gives you a framework for the perfect furniture layout. Ensure the position of your favourite sofa allows you a good view of all these focal points. I find the ideal position for the most movable focal point i.e. the television is either opposite another focal point or next to one.

Consider the space you have

People so often have eyes bigger than their stomachs when it comes to buying sofas. Try and avoid sofas that take up more space than they should with over stuffed arms or thick back rests. The smaller the sofa, the less space it takes up the bigger the room will look. I always prefer elegant sofas on legs (actually technically known as settees) because they take up much less space visually allowing light and air to pass underneath.

Always draw furniture away from the walls. If you can create a little air gap, it is amazing how much you will intensify the feeling of space.

Summary of the design rules

Borrow space from outside the room by using the same colour scheme and flooring in adjoining spaces.

Paint skirting boards the same colour as the floor or use the same material to trick the eye into thing the room is bigger.

Always aim to hang a large mirror opposite a window to capture and maximise the light and reflected space.

Remember that vertical stripes make anything look taller, horizontal stripes make anything look broader.

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