Why it Works

Or why it doesn’t work I should say. A couple of weeks ago I started this ‘Why It Works’ section and got lots of requests to do it more regularly. Basically I drill down into an image and give you the key components of why a space works or why perhaps it doesn’t. I get a zillion emails a month from people in a bit of a conundrum about their space, frustrated  with why it’s not totally working. Whilst I can’t answer many of the emails (would never get any work done otherwise) I am hoping this section will be a little bit like a tool kit. You pick out of it what you require and in so doing it will give you the formula for enhancing your space. The image I am about to show you is extremely beautiful, beautiful in terms of colour palette and beautiful in terms of furnishings. BUT yet it doesn’t totally work and here is why.


In order to be truly successful at design you have to introduce key components. No matter what the room is or the style of the room or the country the room is located in there are key components. With that in mind when I look at this image as beautiful as it is the first thing that leaps to mind is its way to leggy. Normally being leggy is a good thing but not in this case as for me at least  that spindly almost spidery feel effects the whole vibe. It just needs the odd chair like a tulip chair perhaps with a moulded filled in base to change it up a gear. Or a console or side table that is more dense, filled in because for me the bookcase just enhances the spindly ness!

Secondly as cool as the texture is i.e. the wooden floor and the brick wall there is not enough contrasting textures. The chairs or that throw don’t add enough softness so it feels very hard, masculine in feel some would say.

Thirdly it needs a touch of colour, subtle as hell but something like a shot of jungle green in I don’t know some foliage perhaps, a plant, some ceramic. As much as I drone on about restricted colour palettes when you restrict it as much as this it feels a little one-dimensional.

Lastly and I say this in my Design School all the time if you look at a room and you can read it in an instant then you have failed. It hasn’t taken you on a sensory journey; your eye hasn’t leapt from corner to corner intrigued to see what is this that etc. etc. In other words there are not enough layers and the thing about layers is when you don’t  have enough subconsciously you haven’t elevated those senses so the room reads as flat.



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