By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon
Most of us have been in homes with fantastic views. We remember homes with majestic panoramas of beautiful mountains or breathtaking vistas with city lights twinkling in the distance. Of course, these views usually come with a hefty price tag.
Here, a window is reflected in a mirror left of the center cabinet, allowing the outside view to be appreciated from other parts of the room. Mirrors are useful in adding light, an illusion of space and interest to room interiors.
This means that most of us have homes in less spectacular locations. The views from our windows may be the neighbor’s house across the street or the back of someone’s garage. Often that unpleasant view can be crafted and designed with landscaping features. But, we can’t forget interior views. If we get creative, we can build spectacular views in our homes.
First, we should consider the sight lines in our homes. This means as you stand in one place/room, what do you see both in the room and beyond? Consider each corner and wall, and then look at the other rooms you can see from where you are standing.
Rooms that you see together should relate to each other in color and design. This does not mean all the rooms have to be the same, but they should coordinate. If you have ever been in a home that has different colored carpet in every room, you know the disjointed feeling it creates. Uniform, or at least coordinating, floor coverings are critical in composing pleasant sight lines. For example, using the same flooring in a living room and dining room unifies the two separate spaces. When going from carpet in a bedroom to tile in a bathroom, the flooring material can change but the colors should coordinate.
Paint is another tool that pleasantly pulls the eye from one space to another. Again, you don’t have to use just one color. Using different hues in the same color family gives variety and avoids clashing or dueling colors. Paint companies make it easy to accomplish this by the way they market their colors. Simply choose two colors from the same sample card and be assured they will complement each other.
Besides making sure rooms are visually connected in color and design, check out what you see when you look from one space to another. The worst example would be if you are standing in an entry hall — or any other space — and look into a powder room to see the toilet! (It happens more than you may think..) Anyway, the goal (at a minimum) is to have nothing offensive visible but at best to have something interesting, charming or unique to draw the eye into the next space.
A beautifully framed opening draws the eye to a striking cabinet beyond. It is not enough to design each room independently; rather, each space must be considered within its context in the home.
If you are designing from scratch, a sure bet is to place windows so the eye is drawn through a room and out to the yard. This gives an impression of more space than the house actually contains. In an existing home, this may not be possible, but you can create pleasant views with works of art, dramatic lighting or displays of interesting furniture or collectibles.
Keep your interior sight lines open to give your home the maximum spacious feeling possible. Try not to block sight lines with large pieces of furniture or doors you don’t need. Typically, older homes have doors on everything from downstairs to the basement and to the hall going to the bedrooms. You can create more open space just by removing the doors in your home that no longer serve a purpose.
If you create interesting interior views, then you won’t even need that spectacular vista to add value and appeal to your home. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.