Design Star, Episode 5

Design Star, Episode 5

Rebecca Orlov
Aug 17, 2009

This week's episode of Design Star had the six remaining contestants designing for two military families. The challenge - designing a multi-purpose small space. This a big topic at Apartment Therapy - making a small space functional. After the jump, check out how the teams did and what Vern had to say this morning about mixing and matching furniture and working with neutral palettes.

The team designing for the Maladano family went with a modern space that was supposed to include tons of storage, a gaming area and office space. While the painted chevron pattern on the wall was a success, the overall room did not work for the judges. It failed to include the function and zones the family had asked for. Basic function was ignored by lack of storage and non-working curtains (forgetting the rods and going for, well, nails). All of the furniture was traditional (in a modern space?) and by not building the office desk, the request for gaming was ignored and not re-introduced into the room. Mixing and matching design elements is a great way to showcase your design style but a lot of us have trouble with deciding what and how to mix.

  • Vern's tips: Balancing the different styles and the design in the room will make a difference. Look at the overall plan of your space and how to pull it together by punches of the same color or the same frame styles.

The Olson team spent a tense few days designing and discussing the tan for the wall choice. The family wanted a neutral palette in a warm, cozy family space that was comfortable as well as accessible for therapy sessions for the children. The built-in media center was the bright spot for the judges, who liked the smart solution for the family to enjoy both movies for her and football for him. They also like the blue paint citing it as, yes, a neutral. Understanding and interpreting the neutral palette is often a design challenge for many of us to figure out. It's not just earth tones and browns.

  • Vern's tips: Expand how you think of a neutral palette. Neutrals tend to be things your eye is already accustomed to. For example, pale blues like the sky, warm greens like the grass, grays like stones and browns like soil. Introduce bolder color pops through accents like artwork and throw pillows. [Keep in mind] that the more saturated the color is, the less neutral it will be.

What do you think of the small spaces? How have you made your own small space functional?

Check out more posts covering Design Star on Apartment Therapy:

Images: HGTV

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