A theme is crucial to successful room design. Period. The end. Without a theme, it’s just throwing stuff and seeing what sticks. It’s the ‘spray and pray’ form of decorating — if you keep trying stuff, eventually you’ll find something that works.
A theme is a guideline; it provides a direction. Just like a pattern when sewing a dress, the set of instructions to put the flat-box bureau together, or the recipe for making a cake. Yes, you can possibly get to some kind of end result without the guideline, but why reinvent the wheel?
Every once in a while a really ‘decorated’ room will pop out of a magazine. Maybe a boy’s astronaut-is-king room or a man cave decked out in the colors and memorabilia of the favorite football team. Or maybe a lake or sea-side cottage with rope everywhere, beach glass, port-hole windows, a model sailing ship or two and done entirely in beige, blue and soft green. These are themed rooms. They are rather like a sophisticated bed-in-a-bag.
They work because everything relates to everything else. You won’t find hockey sticks or black and white architectural prints in the beach house; you won’t find pale blue walls and white wicker in the sports room.
Sometimes themes are more subtle. Perhaps the theme is ‘calm, restful, a place of sanctuary.’ Good theme for a bedroom, or yoga studio. Or it could be ‘invigorating’ for a games room or ‘understated classical elegance’ for a powder room. These rooms can be a bit trickier to pull together, but the theme is the key. Follow it, and your chance of success is much greater.
How do you do it? The first rule of designing around a theme is this: “Nothing stays in the room which does not support the mood and feel of the theme.”
The theme suggests the mood and feel. The mood and feel of a sea-side-cottage is ‘elements which remind of the sun, sand and the sea.’ It is achieved with a calming decor of low contrast, muted colors. White linens, grayed or aged wood. White-washed wood walls, braided throw rugs, and bits of old iron.
From that description alone, your brain has created a picture of a sea-side cottage, hasn’t it?
And every theme has an inspiration. This is where the plan for a room starts; it determines the color scheme and the mood and feel of the room, which in turn leads to the furniture style, the fixed elements style — fireplaces for example — the window treatments and the accessories.
The inspiration for a beach-themed room might be an old weathered sign. For the man-cave, the favorite team logo, and colors. For a calm dining room with modern furniture, perhaps a piece of abstract art of muted colors. If it’s a more traditional room, the inspiration could be a more traditional piece of art — maybe a landscape or floral series.
Describe the inspiration piece. How it makes you feel, what the colors are, what the lighting is like, what the mood is. There you go — you have the guideline for the theme. Your inspiration piece does not have to be in the room, if you captured the emotions in the inspiration piece, you may not need it in the room itself.
Now just follow what it tells you to do.
Beach inspiration: Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_alenkasm’>alenkasm / 123RF Stock
man cave: Photo</a>Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_saypro’>saypro / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
music room:Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_archidea’>archidea / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
guitar roomCopyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_hugnoi’>hugnoi / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Living roomCopyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_breadmaker’>breadmaker / 123RF Stock Photo</a>