So I thought it would be fun to write a blog about bad design. We’ve all seen it even if we can’t all recognize what’s wrong with a space. There’s an inherrent feeling that things are “off.” One of our sales managers plays the game, “What’s wrong with this room?” with us at the store by bringing in some of the latest design magazines. The challenge is to be the first one to recognize the design flaw(s). Yes, this is what designers do when they are bored. You should see how excited we get about new fabric swatches!
There are really tons of examples of designs gone wrong on the internet, but I did narrow it down to a few just to get you all thinking. This room to the left doesn’t appear that bad, although it’s not fantastic by any stretch of the imagination. The problem is really in the corner.
Whoever put together this room actually decided, “why not put a striped chair in front of drapery panels out of the same striped fabric?” Huh?! Does this hurt anyone else’s eyes? There are so many other opportunities for better choices in this space. For the window treatments, I would pick a complimentary fabric that brings in some of the colors of the chair fabric but with a pattern that doesn’t “fight” with the stripes.
Here are two suggestions that would be great alternatives to the striped panels. The first suggestion pulls in the gray, cream and purple from the striped fabric and gives a sense of movement like the pattern in the rug. The softer tones of the background color and grey add a lighter feel to that side of the room. I included the second one because it brings in a different shade of purple. It ties in the tone in the rug since it’s different from the purple of the sofa.
Sometimes designers break out of the “box” so far to be “designery” that they actually create bad design. Exhibit A to the left shows a great example of this. When I initially saw this picture, I thought of a tether ball. Anyone remember playing with tether balls as a kid? It just seems like that low hanging chandelier is begging to be swung around the room. Plus, is the owner going to hit his head everytime he cleans it? It might be hard to converse with the people across the room with the giant orb in the center of your line of vision.
The third example is a modern minimalist design with very ecclectic colors. I found this on a designer’s website as one of his “showplace” rooms. Although this isn’t really my personal taste, I could see how someone might like this kind of style. From a design point of view, the problems lie in the scale of some of the pieces and the functionality of the space. There isn’t any low-level lighting for tasks like reading. Also, no end or cocktail tables appear for setting down your drink or other items. The red chair shoved into the corner is really too small to balance out that side with the heaviness of the rest of the room. If you added an accent table and a tall lamp it might be acceptable. The room as it stands just seems unfinished and not very functional, plus the colors are a little wild. I’m all for minimalist design, but it does need to be functional if someone’s going to actually use the space.
I hope you enjoyed my examples. Feel free to send or post some of yours. Or stop on by the store and show me your “design challenge” so we can work together to fix it. :)