From Good to Great: 3 Key Design Ideas to Master for Sophisticated Spaces

From Good to Great: 3 Key Design Ideas to Master for Sophisticated Spaces

Adrienne Breaux
Nov 9, 2014

What's the difference between rooms that come off as full, sophisticated spaces that look like they were created by a top designer, and ones that look good but not as good as they could? There are a lot of tips, tricks and secrets, but three of our favorite for taking a room from good to great are here.

1. Have a design concept

For a room (and preferably the whole home). A concept helps laser focus the design of space, being a filter for what should fit in the space and what shouldn't. It's not about limiting yourself; it's about giving yourself a clear road map to create the kind of space you want. You could go with a concept anyone could recognize (like mid-century modern), but it'd be even better if it's your own unique mish-mash of styles that are meaningful to you.

Rooms and homes with these kind of concepts often look sophisticated and finished, but also more personal, especially when you give your concept a highly unique name (mine's: "1970s-inspired cat-lady school house chic"). If you're starting with a blank room, look to inspiration boards to find the concept that best applies to your tastes. If you are starting with an already-decorated room, grab adjectives from the decor you've already got and mix it with descriptions for the kind of space you'd like to have to help you figure out what to add to your space.

2. Carry the eye through a space

You may have heard of spreading design elements, like a color, in a few spots in a room to create a balanced space. Take it a step further by creating a room that carries an eye through the space. Start with an eye-catching element nearest to you in the room, and then identify secondary focal points that are located around the space, like maybe an art piece or a favorite chair or a pillow with a pattern you love.

Then, use common design elements like color, shape, pattern or repetition to let your eye "hop" from element to element, as your eyes make visual connections between decor items, sweeping smoothly through the entire space. So a bold patterned blanket might catch your eye, and then a color from the blanket might show up in a stack of books on the coffee table, which might connect with a piece of art a little bit farther in the room, that might mimic a shape of a furniture piece all the way in the back.

Why put so much effort into this key design idea? Your efforts will pay off in the feeling of elegance, and potentially even peace, because your eye is taking a simple visual tour of the space, not jumping back and forth erratically between disconnected elements.

3. Design up high

We tend to design at or below our own heights — since that's where our eyes and our arms often reach. But to create a really sophisticated space, considering a room's entire volume is a great thing to do. Whether by adding design elements to the tops of shelves, throwing a bold color on the ceiling, adding a modern mobile to a forgotten corner of a room or letting a hanging wall art collage creep dramatically high, there are plenty of different methods of employing this idea.

How have you incorporated these key design ideas and made your rooms more sophisticated for it? Share your tips and ideas!

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