Friday, February 11, 2011

Designing Your First Home

 This Bog entry is a modified version of my article for Good House Keeping Magazine Philippines

Your First Home: Design 101
In between planning your wedding and starting your fairytale life comes designing your first home.  Every newlywed will benefit from having their own space.  Be it a modest flat or your dream house with a pool and garden, planning it together has been proven to be fulfilling and fun.  Most people don’t know where to begin, and may actually put this off until after the wedding, however coming home to your own private space will be worth every effort.  With these simple steps you can design and arrange your own home while planning your wedding.

Something old can be your own treasure
You may have furniture from your old home that you can take with you, or your family may have items to pass on.  Keep in mind that pieces can always be re painted, and altered to fit your new area. A sofa can look new by changing its upholstery to a plain textured modern fabric.  Knowing what pieces you already have will help you plan and save on what you don’t really need to buy.  Whatever furniture you decide to keep must of course match new items you will purchase. 

Meublair furniture

Start with the biggest pieces of your home
The easiest way to get the design process going is by acquiring the large pieces first.  These are most of the time the most needed in a home.  Buy a sofa, dining set, and bed.  Smaller furniture like side tables, consoles, and shelves should come after, so that you know what spaces to fill.  A great way to ease you into space planning is to get overall dimensions of each furniture piece. Mark them onto your actual floor with tape or chalk so you can visualize and see if it fits.  Location and angles can then be repositioned depending on how much space is required. 

Storage, something every home cannot live without
Although everyone must learn the art of tasteful restraint when accumulating items, storage will always be a necessity.  Be aware of dead space, nooks, and corners that you can turn into a closet, or chest.  All you will need is wood and a few hinges to build closet doors and conceal it.  You can be creative by making it look like a part of your wall, or highlight it with contrasting materials to build a focal point.  Buy furniture with drawers, or shelves, and invest in space saving fixtures like corner carousel shelves for hard to reach areas. 

Herman Miller Meridian Filing

Spruce up your home with color
There can be many ways of adding color to a home. Artwork, linen, as well as accessories all give a punch of color but nothing spices up a room like wall paint.  Though neutral colors work best, you can experiment by adding accent walls or focal points.  Re enforce that color by adding accessories like jars and throw pillows with the same shade or tone in them.  Computerized paint mixing stations found in home depots and mall hard ware stores make it easier to select colors and even paint your own walls.  

the bella life

Toby Fairley

Sentimental Art Work and Photographs Make the Home
A great and inexpensive way to decorate your home is to use your own family portraits and artwork.  Having them printed and framed in black and white is a great way to re live those memories.  Be it a grouping of pictures, or a collage of items from your wedding day, creativity will certainly bring satisfaction as long as your artwork is according to proper proportion and location. 

Travis Isaac's photostream

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I have a new addiction… Polyvore.  It is an online site that allows you to create and design anything from fashion to interiors.  Check out and try your luck as a designer.  Polyvore allows you to create a mood board or actual room using items that can really be purchased in online stores.  Too bad these aren’t available in our country, but just playing around with different colors, furniture, and accessories will get you hooked. 
I created three mood boards or designs that I hope you all will enjoy.  You’ll never know if you’ve got that hidden talent unless you try! 

Blue as Bianca is a combination of contemporary and playful design.  This will probably work for a condo unit.

Moroccan Whimsical denotes soft, feminine details.  This will be perfect for a girl’s bedroom.

Romantic Lemon is a combination of Mediterranean and old world design.  One can use this for a house with Mediterranean, Filipino or Moroccan themes.

Here are other Polyvore  entries by other users.  I haven’t really studied the whole thing thoroughly but I think you can use your own jpeg pictures of blank rooms and fill it up.

The nice thing about decorating is that there are no rules.  I’ve learned by browsing magazines, and studying design books.  Although innate taste is an advantage, decorating can be acquired and developed.  There are so many items to choose from in Polyvore, I simply type words like “furniture” or “lamps” in the search bar and a whole galaxy of items come out.   I hope you all get inspired to create your own design and try your hand in decorating.  As for me.. I’ve got another Polyvore project to finish.