When designing a new home or remodeling an existing living space, it’s tempting to get caught up in the moment, and there are styles and trends everywhere claiming to be the “in” thing right now. Design shows and magazines are full of “what’s hot” features, and while it’s easy to choose the elements that are trending right now, it might not always be the best way to decide what should go in your home. Just because something is popular, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be right for your home, or that you’ll be happy with it in five or ten years.
That’s why it’s important to keep everyday life in mind when making design choices, or work with a designer who is interested in creating something that will make you happy in the long term.
We talked to David Crosson, of David Crosson Design Collective, in Calgary about how to create a living space that you’re happy with now and for years to come. Here are some of his best tips to make sure you’ll be happy with your choices for years to come.
Use Anything as a Starting Point
When envisioning their dream home, most people go for the high-profile items first — flooring, chandeliers, shower spaces or kitchen cabinets. If you’re not in love with anything yet, though, the choices can seem endless and the task becomes daunting. David recommends starting with something you connect with and build out from there. Your jumping off point can be something large or small, prominent or subtle, as long as you love it.
For example, David recalled a client who fell in love with a toilet paper holder:
“The design inspiration for this space literally came from the paper carriage my client saw in Kohler’s Artifacts line. She loved how it hearkened back to a more traditional aesthetic but still managed to appear thoroughly modern. We then decided to embrace the elegance of past eras by incorporating extensive panel moulding and a furniture-style vanity to evoke that same mood.”
The entire bathroom design sprang from the feeling evoked by the toilet paper holder.
“In the end, we were both delighted with the results,” said David.
Your starting point doesn’t have to be an item either — it can be something as simple as a motif represented in a television show. Shows like Downton Abbey, Mad Men and Gotham all have distinct aesthetics that you can apply to interior design. A designer can help you bring that motif to life in a carefully crafted room.
Your motif inspiration could also be an emotional attachment to something like a cherished rug or painting, or it could be an emotional reaction to seeing something new. This is something David always pays attention to when working with clients.
“Being able to walk through a showroom makes a big difference,” said David, “it’s what people react to that really counts. I have one eye on the product and one eye on the client to see what they react to.”
Choose Elements that Fit Your Lifestyle
Typically, the rooms you see in design magazines and ads are carefully set up situations for a dramatic and artistic effect. It’s a good idea to be careful of taking too much inspiration from these photoshoots. Some of the things you see in these photos are not optimal for everyday living.
It’s easy to get carried away with style and think less about function, but when the initial appeal wears off, you still need to live with your choices every day.
David recommends letting your needs inform your wants, and not the other way around. If you figure out the features you need, then the choice in design becomes easier later.
Don’t Choose a Theme
Sometimes it’s fun to get carried away with a theme, and try to fit everything around that. However, overdesigning can be as bad under-designing when it comes to how a room comes together.
In one of his recent bedroom projects, David recalled a client wanting something “restful but not boring; something with a bit of glamour to it. My response was, ‘Oh, you mean like an old-school Hollywood boudoir, right?’ That resonated with her and served as the jumping-off point for the space, which is both restful and has some personality to it.”
If you try something with a historic flair, there’s a fine line between playing with a motif, and having the room feel like a dated museum piece. Instead of trying to copy the things you find inspiring, David recommends finding elements that give you the same feeling, and will give you delight every time you interact with them.
For example, in the “Hollywood Boudoir” bedroom, the Callie lamp from Arteriors carries the spirit of the idea, but in a modern way. This helped him choose the fabric wallcovering, corded velvet headboard and quilted coverlet.
Choose What Makes You Happy — Go with Your Instinct
Rather than choosing something trendy or relying too heavily on a theme, we recommend choosing something that gives you delight without any pre-conceived notion of what you want.
David said that when walking through Robinson Lighting & Bath Centre, he often sees clients who fall in love with items that completely contradict what they had initially wanted.
“It’s that gut reaction that’s much more valid,” said David.
If you’re ready to find your inspiration, visit a Robinson Lighting & Bath Centre showroom and see what ignites your passion. Come see, feel and interact with the plumbing and lighting fixtures to see what can truly bring you joy.
This post was written in collaboration with David Crosson, who has been featured on CTV News, Western Living and Avenue Calgary. David Crosson Design Collective is a full-service interior design firm that fulfills client home décor needs through a comprehensive network of industry professionals. Based in Calgary, David specializes in tapping into the visions in his clients’ heads and building it out for them, which often involves a walk through the Robinson Lighting & Bath Centre showroom.