8 Qualities of Great Interior Design


We identify some elusive attributes of excellent interiors to get you past "I know it when I see it"

Like art, interior design speaks to each of us differently. For me great design comes from stepping outside of your comfort zone, mixing paints, textures and fabrics in unique ways. But for others great design is about simplicity, clean lines and modern furniture.

Regardless of your style, interior design should have a personality. Take a look at the brilliantly designed spaces here and the qualities that make them so excellent. Maybe they'll inspire a great design of your own!

Glamour. Sleek lines and exotic materials give this living room a glamorous look that sets it apart. The floor-to-ceiling bookcase has a metallic wall covering on the back to create a focal point. Although every piece of furniture is upholstered in a different plush fabric, they all sing the same song.

Symmetry. This living space's symmetrical design draws the eye immediately up to the wallpapered ceiling and ceiling fixture. The screens in the back of the room anchor the space, focusing attention on the unexpectedly tall piece of art over the fireplace.

Contrast. Although the contemporary sleek black desk and lampshade stand out as the immediate focal draw in this bedroom, I love how the retro fur accent chairs contrast with them and the quirky zebra painted table. An oversize mirror rests against the wall for height, while the pops of yellow around the room are bright and cheery.

Harmony. Soft color tones and subtle Shabby Chic style are more than welcoming in this guest bedroom. Under a peach painted ceiling, the focal wall is adorned with a '70s large-print wall covering. Identical white beds in shades of blue-green are harmoniously placed across the room from the slipcovered wingback chair. A sisal rug placed on the diagonal visually connects both sides of the space.

Coziness. When treated like a jewel box, small rooms become cozy instead of cramped. The wallpaper and fuchsia lamps on the back wall of this room immediately catch attention, drawing the eye to the back of the room to create the illusion of space. The plush pillows, coverlet and wall-to-wall carpeting give the room extra softness, inviting you to come in and snuggle up.

Boldness. Despite all the white tile, this bathroom does anything but play it safe. The ceiling was visually lowered with black paint and a gold picture rail that wraps around the room. The bold shower curtain and freestanding bookcase are modern touches that contrast with the more traditional elements.

Playfulness. This child's bathroom doesn't need color on the walls to feel fun and fabulous. Accessories in green, yellow, orange and pink give it a whimsical look without taking away from the classic finishes. And I love how the round mirrors match the carpet circles, bringing harmony to all parts of the room.

Coordination. The overstuffed chairs in this chic man cave match the two accent seats on the other side of the room for one uniform color combination. The all-white painted brick wall, full-length draperies and firewood are complementary textures rather than additional focal points.


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