Tuesday, June 3, 2014

5 Display Style Tips: Using Your Collections to Decorate Like a Pro Interior Designer

I run a vintage selling business from an apartment that doubles as a backdrop for creative photography; frequent re-arranging to maximize efficiency is a must. It's (happily, I say) made me pedantic about balance in a home design. I've slowly researched and applied rules that whipped my crazy 'collector's style' into balance. When you're decorating on a budget, the ultimate way to make impact on a budget is to display your collections creatively. Rules are meant to be broken, I don't follow everything on this list to a 'T', but these professional designer rules are a great way to harmonize your home. Try them out and see which ones like:

1. Group Your Collections Creatively: By Subject, Style, Object, Etc.

Do you have your childhood toys, souvenirs, or stamp collections in a box somewhere? These are the details that make a home unique, and they're great conversation pieces. Frame your favorites (the dollar store is a great place for frames) and group other objects into collections around your home for interest.

2. Use the 1, 3, 5 Rule

This is a rule designers in all fields follow for compositions. Using a stand alone item, grouping by 3, or 5 is a great shortcut for creating balance when you're stuck. This number pattern occurs in nature, how often have you seen a 2 pronged leaf? Now how about 3 and 5?

There's a deliberate use of 1, 3, 5 rule all up in this composition. That's how I roll. It's innate now. Save me, I'm crazy. I'll be in an asylum drawing "1, 3, 5" in my own blood on the walls one day. I kid. OR-DO-I?!

3. Use the "Gallery Height" Hanging Rule

Covered in detail here, hanging everything in your home at "Gallery Height" will create visual harmony throughout your home and allow guests to view your artwork without straining their necks or kneeling on the ground. Unless that was your intended affect for artistic merit. Write that in your 'home design thesis': "For this series on...mole...Pokémon...I hung the artwork near the floor board, prompting viewers to crawl along the ground and get into the mind of this battle monster..."

4. Create or Use an "Anchor"

It's tricky to create "rooms" in open concept or small spaces. Sometimes you need an "anchor" that frames or defines your space. You can use large mirrors or area rugs. My favorite anchor is #5 below, gallery walls. Also, always incorporate some black or dark wood elements into a space!

Gallery Wall Example. This one will be changing ASAP, not pleased with the balance here. Too much. Did I mention I'm crazy? 1,3,5,1,3,5,13,5 allworkandnoplaymakesvanadull...

5. Use Gallery Walls

It's the visual innate design-whore in me, my walls must be covered in stimulation or I can't work. Have you seen my crazy cubicle from my office days with a rainbow explosion of fabric all over every square inch of it? Anyway, as a patient person with a limited budget and freshly purged furniture this is my favorite way to anchor a space. Frame and hang some of your old favorites and get creative.

I love interior design as a creative outlet, it satisfies design kicks while improving my space for maximum efficiency! Try some of these design rules on some of your own projects and watch harmony emerge from the chaos. Then play The Jackson's magnificent Can You Feel It and dance in triumph. Required final step.

Got anymore tips for arranging a home artfully (and resourcefully)? I'd love to hear 'em in the comments. I'll write about it more but I'm challenging myself to use only second-hand finds to furnish my space. Limitations force creativity. (And it saves money! Win/Win.)
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  1. You're right on about all those "rules." There's an old decorating rule: every room needs a touch of black. Ever been in an all pastel-type room?? Hate it!!

    1. Oh I just read that one today :D Makes total sense and explains why I've always innately thrown some dark in somewhere. An all pastel-type room does sound absolutely scary. I bet I can find some in my vintage books! Was gonna stick this one in under "anchor" but I should do some trail and error photos of a room without/without black for a future post to see the eery rule at work!

  2. Yes, I always say, Every room needs a touch of black! ^^ Also the floor is your fifth wall. Pet peeves with us designers is the two assemetrical hanging art work. (a pair, one hung higher than the other...it makes no sense!) or when people become obsessively semetrical....Everything in pairs...two candlesticks on either side of the fireplace mantel. 2 sconces on either side of a wall hanging...Even 2 matching nightstands...You have done a fantastic job with everything you hang, Van! Perfect! Your walls are always my favorite when you show pics of your pad!

    1. Thanks for the awesome tips, I may have to pick your brain for future posts if you'll let me! And yes, I can see how an asymmetrical pair could make a designer twitchy. I need more anchors and work on my floor but I refuse to buy new rugs and I don't encounter non-cruddy non-expensive ones second-hand often. This may lead to some creative DIY rug makin' in the future! :D

      Thanks for the compliment on the wall hangings, it's the only card I have to play right now being as cheap as I am. I'll add more elements when I can make 'em!

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  4. Your place just looks so fab, I can only aspire to such beautiful arrangements, we live in a rental, no screws allowed in the walls, I tried those 3M hook thingies, they were crap and my pictures fell down! I shall live vicariously through other people's (like yours) lovely decor for now :-)

    1. That is the lamest apartment rule ever! I hang most of my stuff with nails and thumbtacks, only used screws for a mirror. They hold up! Most of my stuff is crazy light.

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  6. love the way your rooms look! and thanks for the tips! i have a need (maybe a bit of an obsessive need) that at least one entire wall in a room needs to be empty - for my head, i can't think otherwise it feels. so in our place there's only one tiny wall where i've done a small pictures assembly, but constantly thinking to take it all off and replace it with just one big framed poster or something. maybe i consider your hanging tips before changing it! :)

    1. I do like a lot of empty counters and a streamlined look more than I did in the past. My walls are stimulating but I make up for it elsewhere. I can understand obsessive-anything with design, I think about it way too much. (In terms of banners, cards, apartment, everything, haha.)

  7. Your bedroom looks great. I like a limited color palette and limited pattern in a small space.

    1. That's a good idea, Samantha. Haven't thought of that one in a while. :D

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