5 Myths About Modern Design

Think less is always more? That you always get what you pay for? You might want to think again…

Myths are started by some exaggeration of the facts. Make sure you’re on the right track by discerning between myth and fact.

1. Myth: Less is more.
   Fact: More can be less.

We all know the adage less is more, but have you ever thought about the ways more can be less? Your house will have a feeling of continuity if you use the more of the same materials throughout, rather than switching for lower-cost materials in private areas. Additionally, more can actually cost less. Designers can negotiate better prices on higher volumes. Great materials to try this on are wood flooring, tile, and light fixtures. Repetition is my favorite way to make items feel substantial: a single pendant may seem boring, but five of them in a row can look better and be less expensive than a chandelier.

2. Myth: Modern design is cold and sterile.
   Fact: Modern design is open and clean.

Some may prefer the cozy, private feeling of smaller rooms and smaller windows. Some may find soft carpets more comfortable, despite the fact that it’s harder to actually clean. But don’t insult mod-lovers with words like cold and sterile. I find that people, particularly those averse to change, put negative labels on things that they don’t understand. Modern isn’t a strict set of rules, it’s about questioning how things have been done in the past and implementing innovation.

3. Myth: Expensive fixtures are worth every cent.
   Fact: The no-name is often a better deal.

You’ve seen a faucet that you absolutely love, but you never imagined yourself paying four figures for it. It’s a brand-name, comes with a lifetime warranty, and has a full-page glossy ad in Dwell magazine (all of which explain the high cost). You’ve searched for a better deal and seen a similar “knock off” item for a quarter of the price, but are worried that the quality just won’t compare. But the truth is, many times these faucets are manufactured in the exact same factory; one comes with the warranty and gets the name stamp, the other comes without the costs of advertising and warranty. If your name-brand faucet is faulty, (yes, they have quality problems, too) you’ll have to contact the company to get the replacement parts or new unit, then wait for it to arrive, which can take weeks. If you’re really that worried about your new faucet failing, buy two of the inexpensive ones and stow one away as a backup.

4. Myth: Simplify by getting rid of your clutter.
   Fact: Simplify by giving your cherished items a home.

We’ve been told time and time again to get rid of our clutter, that it only complicates our lives. But some of our stuff is worth it. If you’re hopelessly addicted to shoes and people identify you as the one with the awesome shoes, a solely dedicated closet (pardon the pun) may be in order. I am by no means saying to keep everything, but it is incredibly important to design storage for the things we love. The problem is when there isn’t a home for our things and they end up everywhere. IKEA wardrobes are an attractive way to stash and organize for only a small investment (refer to item 3 above). They have a variety of inexpensive, off-the-shelf components to customize your storage space. Whether its shoes, art supplies, or vintage game systems, a great design creates a home for your favorite hobbies and collections.

5. Myth: Modern designers are always trying out new things.
   Fact: Good designers borrow, great designers steal.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel! When I see a color scheme or a kitchen layout that is incredible, I take a picture and save it. I show these to clients later, not only to get an idea of what they like, but if they love it, I can recreate a similar feel. Modern design is all about improving on what we’ve tried before. I’d rather tweak a proven design towards perfection than start from scratch. It saves time on the design and prevents major mistakes. It’s not that I don’t try out new things; I’ll just try it out in my own home before I’d recommend it to you!

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