Home & Garden

Aim for variety on your design journey

The beveled glass light fixture in the entryway complements a mirror framed by multicolor beveled glass squares. The bas
The beveled glass light fixture in the entryway complements a mirror framed by multicolor beveled glass squares. The basket and sign bring texture. The double decanter repeats the glass material and is reminiscent of the 1960 era of the home. (Erin Owen)

Imagine if there was a game called Design, modeled on The Game of Life, that guides players through their design journeys. Players strive to achieve milestones of Childhood Bedroom, Dorm Room, First Apartment, First Home, Vacation Home and Retirement Home. Could you collect all the pegs, and what would they say about you?

The places we call home take people on a design journey from first apartments to first homes to first vacation homes. Starting off with hand-me-down furniture and college leftovers, it’s hard to imagine a time when your home could have pieces from a high-end furniture store. From the splurge purchase to DIY projects, a first home accelerates the design journey. We won’t get everything right along the way, but hey — we learn from our mistakes. Along the way we fall in love with different styles, colors and go from maximalist to minimalist design approaches.

I’ve been through a koala phase as a child, poster phase in college, media display phase as a young adult and art and basket phases in my current home. Baskets are much more fashionable than in the past, and there’s never a shortage of items to store.

We will accumulate many items during this journey. Some are bound for the donation pile while we hold onto others long after the style has gone out of fashion. Most of us then likely have a collection of accessories, art and furnishings that can best be described as eclectic. That’s a description in which we should take pride.

Starting from scratch when furnishing and accessorizing a home may mean a person will purchase the items from Stores A and B. Items purchased at the same time are more likely to be similar than those collected over a number of years. This can result in a home looking too one-note and lacking the unexpected or unique.

Figuring out how to marry styles is the challenge. It’s fun. Try making a game out of it.

Award 100 points to the person who has combined two seemingly opposite styles, such as Art Nouveau and Federal. It’s the unexpected pairings that make homes interesting and exciting. Deduct 25 points if more than four items were bought together at a single store. A home isn’t meant to be a store catalog. Win 50 points for every item older than the person living there. Some pieces are timeless.

The goal, I believe, is to make a home cohesive without items coming from a single source. That’s what interior designers do and what we should all aspire to do. Again, it’s something that won’t be perfect on the first attempt. Experiment, re- arrange and do something out of character. No one has to know about the mistakes. High point totals, however, are something to share.

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Winning the game of Design will look different for each player. That variety is the beauty of interior design.

Erin Owen graduated from the interior design program at Kirkwood Community College. She has worked as a commercial and residential interior designer. Comments: erin.n.owen@gmail.com

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