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This small apartment in Stockhom, Sweden impressed us with its original layout and stylish decorating scheme. Discovered by Freshome on Svensk Fastighets, the 34 square-meter crib displays comfortable living spaces with a powerful aesthetic appeal. The first interior you are likely to observe upon entering this apartment is the bedroom, creatively separated from the rest of the project through glass walls. Pebbles under the bed, a giant mirror and framed graphics contribute to the Scandinavian personality of this space. A series of accent items such as the coffee table, the candles or the fireplace give the apartment a mixed ambiance, a touch of rusticity and traditionalism, connecting the crib with the historic character of the building. The living zone, kitchen and dining table are organized in an open layout. And when it comes to Scandinavian apartments, an irresistible terrace is a must. In this case, the small balcony extends living spaces, creating a charming venue for having coffee and breakfast during warm summer mornings.
There are some basic exterior design lessons that everyone should know about. Image Source: Cardello Architects
While we all want a spectacular home that stands out amongst the rest; we also want a home that blends with its surroundings and neighborhood.
Designing the exterior of a home can be a complicated process of color choices, materials, balancing shape and lines— it is not a job for novice designers.
Do you ever wonder what makes a home exterior visually appealing? Why are there certain homes on the street that make you stop in your tracks and gawk in awe of its beauty? It is more than likely that those jaw-dropping homes have followed some key design principles. Yes, every design, interior or exterior, needs to follow some simple “rules” of design in order for the final outcome to be visually appealing.
Let’s look at 10 basic exterior design principles that will help make your home a haven:
Follow these basic design principles to achieve an amazing home exterior. Image Source: Vanbrouck
1) Balancing Shapes With Symmetry
Like in all types of design, balance and symmetry play an important role in achieving a well-designed space. The facade of every home needs some semblance of balance and symmetry in order to appear pleasing to the eye and properly designed.
Whether it is the eye-catching appeal of a symmetrical Georgian home, where the door is centered and the windows equally flank either side, or a home where the balance is achieved through pointed roof lines or dormers that are equally placed among the exterior.
There are numerous ways to achieve a proportional home exterior—some through obvious symmetry, while others are not as apparent. Either way, a properly designed home has an exterior that is proportional and balanced.
Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright’s mentor, coined the phrase, form follows function. Essentially, this means that the purpose of the building should be the starting point of the design.
What is the purpose of your home? What do you plan to use your home for? Consider all your families needs and then decide what is required in your home in order to accommodate those needs.
The exterior of your home will mimic the form of the interior designs that you have chosen. Maybe you are an artist who chose large windows because you need natural lighting to paint/create. Maybe you needed a granny suite over the garage, so the exterior of the home has a dormer in order to make the window in that room look balanced. Always remember that your interior design affects the exterior one, as well.
The form of your interior design will always drive the exterior design. Image Source: Avalon CBG
3) House Materials and Textures
With the plethora of options, it is very difficult to decide what materials we should use on our home exterior. Between cedar shingles, vinyl siding, aluminum, brick, wood, stucco, steel…how do we choose?
It is best to balance durability with aesthetics. Of course, you want the exterior of your home to reflect your personal style— are you a country guy/girl? Then you may want tumbled stone and cedar shingles. Are you a modern minimalist? Then you may prefer the lines of sleek steel or simple wood panels.
In order to avoid costly mistakes, it is always best to consult with a skilled design architect. There are also a lot of online visual tools that can help you see what your material choices will look like before you make that final financial investment.
This house is a nice mix of stone, stucco, roof tiles and wrought iron. Image Source: Steigerwald-Dougherty
4) Exterior Color Combinations
Oh, the cornucopia of color choices! How do you decide what is the right color for your home exterior? Do you go bold or basic? As in all decorating, color choice is vital—it can hide flaws or when done poorly, draw attention to flaws.
Sherwin Williams suggest that a safe and effective approach to color placement is to select two tints or shades from the same color strip a few shades apart. Either the lighter or the darker shade could be used for the body and the opposite for the trim. The a third contrasting accent color could punctuate the door.
Color can play up so many features of your home exterior. Paint your front porch a bright fresh white to draw the eye to the cozy entrance, or make your too-tall home look shorter with a dark color on top and a lighter color on bottom. The ways that color can trick the eye and play up the positive are endless!
Try choosing 3 colors or shades for your home exterior. Image Source: Sortun-Vos
5) How to Choose the Right Roof
A durable roof is imperative—choosing a roof for your home is more than just deciding upon color and aesthetics.
There are so many building options, with varying costs and life-expectancies. Material like slate and tile may seem ideal but remember that they are very heavy, so be sure your home can carry the load. Asphalt shingles seem to be most prevalent due to their lower cost and easy install. Surprisingly, wood is also a viable option with the same life expectancy ( 25 years) as asphalt shingles. Slate and metal are costly and heavy options, but may work for some designs.
While there are numerous choices, they do not all work within budgets and home design. Always consider cost, durability, weight, and what suits your homes style best.
Deciding upon roofing materials and color can be difficult. Image Source: Design Guild Homes
6) How to Choose Your Garage Doors
One may not think of a garage door as part of our homes style statement—but they would be wrong. Door manufacturer, Wayne Dalton, suggests that buyers go through their online tutorial before choosing a garage door for their home.
Aside from design style, you need to gain knowledge in the doors insulating properties, safety features, material durability spring designs, warranties and cost.
Once you are past the nitty gritty of mechanics, then you can have fun deciding upon the style that best suits your home design. Whether it’s a clean, classic steel door or a cozy carriage house design—the options are endless.
Garage doors are a balance of form and function for the home exterior. Image Source: Witt Construction
7) What Windows Look Best
Just like garage doors, your homes windows are much more than functionality—windows are like the soul of your home, shining light onto all the moments shared within those four walls. We can offer you numerous tips in choosing the right window style for your home.
First and foremost, the windows you choose need to be durable. Secondly, your windows should reflect your homes character. Modern homes look best with large expanses of floor-to-ceiling windows, while a traditional home may look best with symmetrically placed, white-paned, rectangular windows.
Other factors to consider are: UV rating, privacy, proper ventilation, ease of cleaning and outdoor views. Consider all your options in order to open the soul of your home with durable and aesthetically appealing windows.
Windows look into the soul of your home. Image Source: DJ Architects
Design An Amazing Entryway
The most common question: What color should I paint my front door? As we touched upon above in the section titled, Color Combinations, choosing 2 shades or tints from the same color strip is best for the main exterior trim and siding colors. Then a third color should be chosen for the front door.
You can go bold by adding a contrasting color that is opposite on the color wheel of your trim and siding colors, or you can choose a third lighter/darker shade that mimics the trim and siding. In order to make your entry stand out , it is best to choose a darker or bolder shade than the rest of your home.
Aside from color, there are a lot of other features that can freshen up your entryway and speak to your homes style—lighting, plants, door knobs, door knocker, door kick plates, rugs, and porch seating all add to the overall appeal of your homes entry.
Landscaping your home involves much more than simply plunking a tree in your front yard. Most often it is well-placed plants that add that jaw-dropping appeal to a home, making it stand out amongst the rest in the neighborhood.
It is difficult to know what plants to choose for your landscape, so we suggest researching local soils and native plants. Greenhouse staff are usually very knowledgeable in plant species; they know what works best locally, and they can even draft a landscape plan for your yard.
Get your green-thumb on and start planning your lush landscape today. Remember it takes time for plants to establish and fill in, so patience is a must. The sooner you begin, the better.
Landscaping is the final decorating touch for your home exterior. Image Source: Princetonscapes
10) Light Up Your Home
Don’t let your home fade into the darkness. Proper lighting is paramount for home safety and nighttime appeal. Aside from the obvious light fixtures that straddle your doorways and garage doors, there are other outdoor lights that should be placed around your home.
Choose lights that mimic your homes style. Traditional homes look great with lantern-style chandeliers hanging over a covered entryway, or flanking the garage. Angular steel lights add appeal to the entryway of modern homes. Then you must consider what other features of your home could use some nighttime light.
The picture below shows a well-lit home; there are lights on the rise of the stone steps that leads to the entry (adding a nice safety feature and visual appeal), pot lights under all the roof lines and lanterns flanking the garage.
Light up the night with exterior lighting for your home. Image Source: Stonewood
While the design of your home exterior is a complicated process that is fraught with decisions and choices, do not give up—a well-designed home CAN be achieved with patience and a little help. During the design process, we suggest that you follow all 10 tips offered here with regard to color, materials, form & function, balance & symmetry, lighting, doors, landscaping, windows and roofing.
Remember that there are a lot of online tools available that can show you a virtual picture of what your design could look like—it’s always best to see it and love it before you make the final financial investment.
What exterior materials are your favorite? Do you have any unique materials incorporated into your home exterior?
Within the confinement of a small plot, a modern home offering an open layout for enjoying both the inside and outdoors might seem close to impossible. But then again, architects have a way to visualize the given space in its completed stage and walk around construction sites like they’d walk across the finished home. This compact plot measuring 10 meters wide by 14 meters deep stands 20 meters from the property line. In the middle of such a tight space, the modern home was supposed to be basked in natural light and extend living outdoors. Spreading over just 120 square meters, the modern Argentinian house was imagined by Rosana Sdrigotti and Julio Cavallo as having a central courtyard opened to the sky.
Space efficiency was the framework used for stacking up modern design lines. Two opposing volumes generate a void shaped as a relaxing space where BBQs and lounging in the sun can become habitual activities. A minimalist budget and space confinement led to the creation of a highly functional minimalist home with flexible environments. Photographs by Federico Cairoli extend our knowledge about the home’s layout: main living space on the lower floor and private spaces above oriented north for light opposing the volume of the study space that has independent access from the east. This small courtyard allows a full transparency within the home and privacy from neighboring homes. Adorned with an existing palm tree, the compact courtyard allows for a smooth transition between outdoors and indoors.
Beautifully isolated to shape a luxurious environment, the Holmby Hills Residence rests on a 57,250 square feet site in Holmby Hills, Bel Air, Los Angeles, so you can see where it gets its name from. The location inspired not only its name, but its openness towards panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills beyond. Designed by London-based Quinn Architects, the luxury Californian home itself spreads over 15,250 square feet of perfectly manicured spaces. The luxurious villa built for for international property developer Estate Four as a speculative residential development can be easily seen as a hillside dream home.
The design and architecture team worked from the ground up to create a masterfully elegant home design: “A detailed soil survey was commissioned to understand the below ground condition of the hillside, which then became a catalyst for both the architectural, civil and structural design. “The Holmby Hills Residence is surrounded by luscious vegetation and showcases a basement and first floor terrace emerging from the landscape. “The entrance sequence from the street to the house itself was designed to be dramatic, with a significant motor court and powerful 20 ft high canopy above the main entrance. A descending staircase followed by an over-sized entrance door heightens the sense of arrival to the residence.The expansive first floor level gives 7,000 sq ft of living accommodation that is set around 6,500 sq ft of terrace space, that in turn hugs the edge of the 60 ft long infinity-edged pool and Jacuzzi. The terrace gives access to over 30,000 sq ft of landscaped gardens and tennis court, via a sunken gym that is surrounded by rich vegetation. A 75 ft long gallery links the primary living spaces with a private guest suite and is designed to exhibit a significant art collection.”
Designed for an art-lover, the elegantly proportioned luxury villa has plenty of display places and natural light coming from a collection of skylights, clerestory windows and full height sliding panels. Secluded and private, the beautiful residence blends the inside with the outdoors in a successful attempt to wash away any worries.
Inspired by the movement of sunflowers, Studio BAG Disseny designed these rolling flower pots that provide more functionality than regular plant holders. According to the project developers, common pots are static, so ‘why not provide them with movement to enable them to follow the path of the sun, to sway in a breeze or grow at will?’ Handmade out of waterproof terracotta in La Bisbal d’Empordà in Spain, these twisting flower pots display a semi-conical shape and the ability to whirl.
The plant can be easily moved by subtly manipulating the base. This way, more sunlight can reach its roots and leaves, which contributes to a healthier growth. Some say acknowledging the fact that each plant is filled with life will make it develop better. This includes talking nicely to flowers and even playing calm music around them. This has never been officially proven (only experimented with), but I guess the innovative rolling flower pots presented here will be a chance for plants to express their personalty more. How would you personally comment on this design?
Located in a beautiful Art Nouveau building in the center of Gothenburg, this captivating Swedish apartment (discovered by Freshome on Alvhem) is packed full with inspiring decorating ideas. Comprised of two rooms plus kitchen, the 57 square meter home also comes with plenty of attic space for storage. Step into the small entrance hall and you will have access to all the key living spaces. Filled with light and powerful color contrasts, the social zone is charming to say the least. During long Swedish nights, this cheerful interior filled with books and painting makes for a wonderful refuge. The kitchen showcases a distinct personality mostly defined by an exposed brick round wall, adding a rustic touch to the interior scheme. Nooks, crannies, posters, flower pots and original lighting units make for a welcoming atmosphere. The bedroom is particularly inviting with the king-sized bed and generously-sized windows. The gray wallpaper was perfectly complemented by a minimalist metal shelving system, which has both a functional and an aesthetic appeal. Enjoy the virtual tour and tell us what other indoor design ideas you find interesting!
We can all achieve a well-decorated space by following a few design tips. Image Source: James Rixner
Think of this as a little 101 in decorating. While we all cannot possess the eye for exquisite design and detail — we can decorate our homes as though we do. In some ways, interior decorating can be thought of as a formula with specific steps; building blocks that will help create your very own interior design.
On the other side, there is an art to decorating; a flair that doesn’t really follow any rules or formulas. While you may not have an artful flair, you can begin to learn how to develop one.
How? Well, there are some basics when it comes to pulling together the interior design of a room. By following these 10 steps you can begin to create a peaceful and functional interior space that takes your four walls and makes them feel like home.
Interior design must begin with a functional layout of a room. To begin, we suggest looking online for the numerous free offerings of online tools for room layout and design. In these design programs you can input room measurements, furniture measurements and then play with room layout to see what is most optimal.
We learn a lot of our floor plan mistakes the hard way, so why not virtually design your room first, avoiding the drudgery of moving heavy furniture around, and failing repeatedly to get the proper layout.
Functionality of your home is very dependent on individual lifestyles. If you have an empty nest, then you may be more willing to invest in expensive pieces and room decor, while busy families may prefer an open floor plan that is unobstructed by numerous decorative objects. Consider your individual living needs and then choose the right design software that can help you achieve your ideal layout.
Most designers will tell you that if you are going to splurge on one item, then let it be the sofa. Choosing the correct seating for a room is overwhelming! What color do you choose? What fabric? What size? How much should you spend? What is a good quality sofa? This New York Times article offers some insightful advice when it comes to choosing a high-quality sofa.
Visiting numerous design showrooms will also help you in the initial search of style options that suit your needs and tastes. But before venturing out to shop, MEASURE! It would be awful to fall in love with a piece only to discover that it is too large for your space.
We suggest you narrow down your choices to a few final options and then choose based on highest quality. A sofa can be a lifelong investment when the best quality is purchased, so buy the best that you can afford. Oh, and choose a fabric that you won’t grow tired of…who wants to live with a floral patterned couch or a dated “it was hot when I bought it” color the rest of their lives?
Don’t be cheap when it comes to buying seating. Image Source: DKor Interiors
3) Decorative Objects
It seems frivolous to add objects into a room that have no real use. Why would I buy something that I cannot use? Well, the answer is simple—because it makes a style statement, thereby adding to your decor.
An eye for appealing aesthetics is something that you may not posses right away, but through trial and error, you can discover the correct assortment of decorative objects that work in your home. A lot of interior designers say that if you absolutely love something, then buy it, you will find a place for it and a way to make it work. This mantra may work for those of us with a seasoned design knowledge, but not for the more timid newcomers to design.
If you are at a loss, we suggest browsing through magazines and interior showrooms to see what you love. Take notice of the way showrooms display their decorative objects; notice that most things are placed thoughtfully into groupings and not strewn about individually through the room. Most of all, buy what you love; what speaks to who you are.
Adding decorative objects may seem silly, but it adds to the overall style statement of your home. Image Source: Residents Understood
4) Add Some Green
Plants are commonly an after-thought. This is a design mistake. You may think that you have a room completely, immaculately designed, but look to see if you have incorporated plants and natural elements.
It is amazing what happens to the warmth and design spirit of a room the minute that you add a tall potted palm plant. Immediately the room seems fresher and more properly put together.
The Huffington Post offers numerous houseplant suggestions that make your home brighter and the air cleaner. Even if you consider yourself anything but a green-thumber, you can still incorporate easy-care houseplants into your interior design—you will be so that glad when you admire the new level of interior design your room achieves thanks to greenery.
Layering a room is paramount to comfort and visual warmth. Look to the room in the image below. A fuzzy area rug is layered over the rooms main carpeting; pillows are perched in layers on the bed and on the chairs; curtains layer the windows; a blanket layers the side of a chair….
All of these elements form a cozy stratum within the room that help it achieve a well-decorated aesthetic. While considering the layers that you would like to add to your design think about choosing varying textures and fabrics— think velvet pillows, silk curtains, mohair blankets, and plush area rugs.
All of these different textiles make the layering effect even more lavish. Go from blah to beautiful by layering your room today.
This little-known trick works! No matter what your design tastes— country to minimalist— every interior design should incorporate a few splashes of black.
Why? Black adds a sense of depth, character and focus to a room like no other color can. It can be as simple as incorporating pictures in black wooden frames, or a black graphic print on your curtains, or a black stripe lining throw pillows… it doesn’t matter where you choose to incorporate this bold color, as long as you incorporate it somewhere.
Some may argue that this same effect can be achieved through other bold colors, but we suggest you just try it with black and see what happens.
Use black in a room for drama and to add depth. Image Source: lda-Architects
7) Create Vignettes
As mentioned above, decorative objects can take a space from bland to outstanding. Not only do you have to incorporate decorative objects, you also have to place them into proper vignettes.
In home decorating, a vignette is a grouping of objects or furniture. You can create a vignette through a grouping of art on your wall, or a grouping of objects on a table, or a grouping of chairs near a window to create a conversational seating. By arranging your items in this manner, you create areas for the eye to stop, relax and stay awhile.
Try arranging your favorite objects on a coffee table, or create a centerpiece of candlesticks on your dining table…anything goes as long as it is a cohesive grouping. If you are new to this idea, then start slowly and keep your groupings limited to 3 items that have common elements such as color, theme, or texture.
Creating little vignettes all around your home can add to its appeal and functionality. Image Source: MHouse Inc
Make It Yours
This is where you get to have fun and showcase your personality. There is nothing worse than a home that doesn’t speak to the owners loves, travels, tastes, passions, and hobbies.
If you love color, then find ways to incorporate color through pillows and removable wallpaper. If you have travelled the world, then showcase the pictures you have taken or the items you collected while traveling. If you love giraffes, then incorporate some giraffe print on a foot stool or area rug.
Get the picture? Make the interior design speak to who you are. This is where you get to have fun and create your own personal masterpiece.
Don’t be scared to add your own personality to a space. Image Source: Arentpyke
9) Stick With Classic Lines
Whether you are a poor student trying to furnish your first apartment or you are upgrading to the home of your dreams—it is always best to keep the lines of your larger (more expensive) furniture pieces classic.
Classic lines are classic for a reason—they will never go out of style. Why spend $5000 on a sofa with bold angular lines that will date itself in 5 years? You can incorporate trends in less expensive pieces, but its best to keep your main furnishings simple, clean and classic.
Look to the dining room in the image below. The black dining chairs are classic and go with any decor; they stay on-trend via the leopard fabric that can easily be changed, while the shape of the chair will never go out of style and is a great investment piece.
This might be one of the most important steps. After all, a picture is worth one-thousand words. Standing back and taking a snap shot of your room allows you to peer through a new perspective. In a way, a photograph allows you to see the room for the first time, through a visitor’s eyes.
Suddenly it becomes glaringly obvious that a picture needs to be moved because it is hung too high, or that you have too many small objects cluttering the room, or that the pillows really don’t work.
Taking several snapshots of the room from different angles is the best way to edit a room of its clutter and items that simply don’t work in the space.
Take a picture of your completed room in order to see what needs to be edited; the things that do not work in the space. Image Source: O Interior Design
Do you feel like this was a little 101 in decorating? While this certainly doesn’t cover all the design secrets (only an interior designer can do that), it does get you started on the right path to creating a well-designed home that is functional and attractive—a home that speaks to who you are.
Everyone can incorporate these tips: layout the room properly, splurge on a great sofa, arrange decorative objects into vignettes, layer your rooms, add plants, incorporate black, stick with classic lines, take pictures to edit, and most importantly make it yours.
What little tricks do you have up your sleeve to make your a home a well-designed space?
When you think about Scandinavian apartment interior design, you might get a picture of a minimalist space where white and light play a huge role. This bright and cheery two bedroom apartment seen on HusmanHagberg enhances that idea while adding a warmer tone to the overall appearance through carefully chosen patterns and textures. Spreading over 936 square feet of bright spaces, this Stockholm apartment oozes modern Scandinavian design from every corner. The open living space also shelters the kitchen and dining space, creating an inviting place where the retained color palette and functional furniture build up to an elegant aesthetic.
The two bedroom apartment in Stockholm is perfect for a small family. Reinforcing the coolness of the white space, pillows and fur throws create a welcoming environment during winter. The open concept layout invites bright natural light while the dark glossy floor reflects it to induce a feeling of coolness. Large windows extend sight lines far beyond the apartment’s walls and invite you on the cozy terrace for some fresh, frisk air. On the other hand, the private spaces invite to relaxation and sleep. Inside the master bedroom, you find a perfect comfort space under the window and a queen size bed. The kids room shelters a crib under a net that instantly sparks up a picture-perfect family lifestyle.
What’s your favorite detail you stumbled upon in this wonderful family apartment?
Designed by Quentin de Coster Design Studio for French company Cinna, LASSO lamp pays tribute to minimalism and functionality. As its name suggests, this unconventional lighting unit resembles a lasso, but also a suspended torch: “I wanted to create a poetic light that invites users to interact with it. I tried to give shape to the idea in the most minimal way possible and it was only afterwards that I realized it looked a bit like a torch. But it is fun, and I like to refer to archetypes in my work“, De Coster explained.
LASSO is a suspension made of a steel tube and wire offering a new way of guiding light. Usually unattractive, the electrical cable is here used to direct the lighting by a sliding motion turning it into a nice graphic element. On top of it, the LASSO lamp adopts different triangulations according to your requirements and draws beautiful lines in space. In a nutshell, a contemporary light that is interesting both off and on ! [Information provided via e-mail by Quentin de Coster Design Studio; Photography: Julien Renault]
ONG&ONG Pte Ltd. completed the design and development of 65BTP-House, a private residence with a luminous contemporary character in Singapore. The project is surrounded by a vast garden that converges at a colossal pre-war rain tree of such magnificence that its presence is ingrained within the very architecture of the house itself. Throughout this home, there are numerous encounters with nature whilst still being very much indoors. An artistic vibe is subtly released in key areas, starting with the white sculpture in the garden and continuing with a painting and statue in the living room. A wooden deck frames the swimming pool, creating a fascinating outdoor area for relaxation: “Capitalizing on the site’s sloping typography, the basement was designed such that it opens up into a lower section of the garden, thus making it feel almost like being on ground level. Interestingly, the skylights also provide a spectacularly clear view of the rain tree even from here”. As you can see in the house plans at the end of the post, the residence features two levels plus basement, a sculptural spiral staircase providing the connection between the various living zones. [Photos by Derek Swalwell]