With construction complete on the 2017 Idea House, interior designer Denise Enright was asked to furnish and decorate the 3,200-square-foot, three-story home from top to bottom. Here’s a look at her strategy and tips for your own home (new or old).
So, you’ve finally found the home of your dreams. It’s spacious, the floors are beautiful, and there’s plenty of natural light. But then you remember finding the perfect space is only half of the work – you still have to furnish and decorate. Where do you begin?
Continue reading to learn Denise’s tips for designing and turn your huh? moment into an aha! moment.
Pull Inspiration from Your Location
Designing a space from top to bottom doesn’t come without a healthy dose of inspiration, even for experts like Denise. When on location, she decided the best place to start was to pull ideas from the setting right in front of her – beachy Rhode Island.
From there she was able to set a color palette with beachside blues and grays; colors already reflected in the home’s shingles, window frames, and front door.
Consider Who is Living in the Home and How They Spend Their Time
A common mistake made by homeowners is to design a space with only aesthetics in mind, meaning beautiful rooms go unused because they aren’t set up in practical ways. To avoid this mistake, consider who will actually live in the home, what they like to do, and how they spend their time.
In this case, Denise envisioned an established couple. “We tried to make the home more sophisticated and a little bit richer because we’re designing it for older home owners who have younger generations coming to visit,” she said.
This insight spurred Denise to create what she calls a “sophisticated beach house” look throughout the home. Traditional beach house aesthetics including linen, distressed white, and seashells were swapped for modern favorites such as velvet, deep blue, and driftwood.
“Don’t go with your first inclination,” Denise said. “Try to stretch that boundary and try different things with different patterns,” noting you can go bold with patterns as well.
Identify Your Focal Points and Must-have Pieces First
Staying true to her concept of sophisticated beach house, Denise began selecting décor by identifying focal points, another important factor to consider when decorating an entire home. She starts with seating areas and large furnishings – a dining table, chairs, and area rug, and works her way outward to the smaller details such as end tables and lamps.
In addition, don’t forget about budget. Denise recommends budgeting for your must-have items first, and purchasing smaller items with any amount remaining.
Stay True to Your Color Palette
The simplest element to tie a home together is color. For Denise, it was shades of blue inspired by the ocean and the home’s front door.
“The blue is amazing,” she said, noting that blue and gray set the tone of the entire home. “It’s calming, classy, and sophisticated, but not at all boring.”
It’s OK to Stray
Straying from a specific design theme or color is OK, Denise suggests, as long as you provide a transition between spaces. Looking to create an urban, eclectic vibe in the upstairs game room meant a transition was needed in the stairway leading up from the mudroom.
To do this, she used a combination of bold colors and graphic photography as a preview of the décor to come at the top of the stairs. A surfboard triptych in the game room maintains the beach house theme of the home, while providing an entirely new color palette to choose from.
Overall, Denise recommends looking at everything in the home as a single group. As long as nothing looks isolated, you’ve accomplished what you set out to do.