By Samantha Grose, designer for JP&CO and Optima Homes

modern kitchen, movementHave you ever walked into a room and immediately felt cramped and uncomfortable without really knowing why? Maybe the room was neat and tidy, with everything in its place, but it still seemed cluttered and chaotic. Why might that be?

The answer: The room was probably over-designed.

There are numerous ways a room might be over-designed. It might be over-crowded with furniture, have too many patterns, clashing design elements, poor lighting, or clunky furniture. All of these features can create a claustrophobic or uncomfortable atmosphere—something that no one wants in their home.

The solution? Take a more minimalist approach when it comes to design.

But how? Here are some basics:

1. Minimize patterns

living room, patterned rug

A Twin Cities area living room, designed with clean lines and colors and a patterned rug for an accent piece

It is incredibly easy to overdo patterns, which can cause a room to look cluttered and chaotic. If you do decide to incorporate a pattern in a particular room, make sure it’s an accent, and not a focal point. Try a couple of patterned throw pillows in your living room or a subtle mosaic backsplash behind your kitchen stove.

2. Think about negative space

kitchen negative space

The kitchen Twin Cities 1950s rambler, reinvented (with plenty of negative space)

Negative space is the part of your room that doesn’t have “stuff,” like your walkways and open areas. It’s important to give your home room to breathe. Make sure you’re not filling a room to the brim with furniture and other fixtures and that there is plenty of room to move. Pick pieces that fit the space (not too large or small) and do not block entryways or natural lighting.

3. Brighten your room

twin cities urban kitchen

Twin Cities urban kitchen with plenty of natural light and subtly bright walls

You don’t have to paint your walls lime green to create a bright, vibrant space. Instead, the first thing you should do is focus on utilizing natural lighting. This could be as easy as rearranging your furniture so that it doesn’t block windows or purchasing sheer curtains to replace heavy, opaque ones. Another way to brighten a room is to use clean, bright colors for your walls and furniture. A soft yellow, bright beige, or shades of white are colors that will stand the test of time—it’s much easier to replace your vibrantly-colored throw pillows or wall art than it is to repaint!

The Take-away: 

When it comes to interior decorating, remember to keep it simple, think about functionality, and don’t ignore your negative space. You can still have a bold, unique room without the clutter and passing trends. Contact me for more great ideas!

Samantha GroseAssociate AIA, Allied ASID Designer for JP&CO and Optima Homes

Author: Samantha

Samantha Grose is both Associate AIA and Allied ASID. She is the lead designer for Optima Homes and JP&CO. She takes a unique approach to design creating spaces that are casually sophisticated and timeless in design, where you and your family can live comfortably. She has worked extensively throughout the TWIN CITIES area having completed many new homes and large scale whole house remodels.

Samantha received her BS from the University of Minnesota majoring in both ARCHITECTURE and ART. She is deeply committed to a creative approach giving you highly functional spaces with an aesthetic appeal for everyday living.

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Written by Samantha

Samantha Grose is both Associate AIA and Allied ASID. She is the lead designer for Optima Homes and JP&CO. She takes a unique approach to design creating spaces that are casually sophisticated and timeless in design, where you and your family can live comfortably. She has worked extensively throughout the...
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