When designing a room, what catches your eye first?

When it comes to designing a room, there are a lot of aspects to consider. While some may choose to focus on furniture or accent pieces, Alexandra Kaehler recommends starting with the walls. This makes sense, as the walls are often the largest surface area in any given room and can set the tone for the entire space. Here are some of the reasons why starting with walls is a good idea:
  • Walls provide a backdrop: When you begin by selecting a wall color or wallpaper pattern, you’re setting a foundation for the rest of the room’s design. This backdrop can help you choose complementary hues for furniture and accessories, ensuring that everything works together harmoniously.
  • Walls can highlight art: As Kaehler notes, having a stunning collection of art can be a fantastic starting point for room design. When you know what art you want to display, you can create a wall treatment that draws attention to these pieces and makes your space feel cohesive.
  • Walls can set the mood: Different colors and patterns can evoke different emotions, so selecting a wall treatment that matches the vibe you’re going for can be key. Whether you want to create a calming sanctuary or a bold and energetic social space, starting from the walls can help you achieve that feeling.
  • By beginning with the walls, you can establish a strong foundation for your room’s design. From there, you can layer in furniture, textiles, and art to create a cohesive and inviting space that truly feels like home.
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    Designing a Room: Where to Begin

    Designing a room is an exciting and creative process that requires careful consideration and planning. When starting a room design, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and unsure where to start. However, according to Chicago-based designer Alexandra Kaehler, the best place to begin is with the walls. Here’s why:

    Begin with the Walls

    The walls of a room provide a blank canvas for the design elements that will be incorporated throughout the space. By choosing a color or wallpaper for the walls first, you can establish the overall mood and tone of the room. This will also help guide your selection of furniture, textiles, and decor. When selecting a wall color, consider the natural light that enters the room. Cooler colors work well in rooms with ample natural light while warmer colors can add coziness and warmth to darker spaces.

    Choose a Focal Point

    Once you’ve decided on a wall color or wallpaper, it’s time to choose a focal point for the room. This could be a stunning piece of art, a statement light fixture, or even a unique piece of furniture. Choose something that speaks to your personal style and will set the tone for the rest of the space. Pro tip: If you’re struggling to decide on a focal point, try using an item that you already own and love as your starting point.

    Art as Inspiration

    Alexandra Kaehler suggests that art can be a fantastic source of inspiration when designing a room. Rather than trying to match colors and patterns, use a piece of art that you love as a jumping-off point for your entire design. This will create a cohesive and visually interesting look.
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    When incorporating art into a room design, consider the size of the piece and its placement. A large piece of art can serve as a focal point while smaller pieces can be grouped together for a gallery wall.

    Incorporating Existing Pieces

    If you have existing furniture or decor items that you want to incorporate into your new design, consider how they fit with your new color palette and overall aesthetic. Repainting or refinishing furniture can be a cost-effective way to give old pieces new life. Pro tip: Don’t feel like you need to incorporate every existing item into your new design. Sometimes, less is more.

    Color Palette Considerations

    Choosing a color palette for your room can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Start with a few key colors that you love and build around them. Neutral colors can serve as a great base while bolder colors can be used as accent pieces. Consider the mood that you want to create in the room. Lighter, cooler colors can create a calming and soothing atmosphere while warmer, bolder colors can add energy and personality. Pro tip: Use a color wheel to help you choose complementary colors that work well together.

    Texture and Material Selection

    When selecting furniture and textiles for your room design, pay attention to texture and material. Mixing textures and materials can add depth and interest to a space. Consider incorporating natural materials like wood, stone, and leather for a warm, organic feel. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different materials to create a unique and layered look. Pro tip: Mix high-end and low-end materials to create a curated and eclectic feel.
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    Lighting as a Design Element

    Finally, don’t forget about the importance of lighting in a room design. Lighting can set the mood and highlight key design elements. Consider incorporating different types of lighting, like overhead fixtures, table lamps, and floor lamps, to create a layered and dynamic lighting scheme. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different bulb temperatures and dimmer switches to create a customizable, ambient feel. Pro tip: Use lighting to highlight key design elements like artwork, furniture, and architectural details. By starting with the walls and incorporating a focal point, color palette, texture and material selections, and thoughtful lighting, you can create a beautiful and cohesive room design that speaks to your personal style. Happy designing!

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