The Fine Art Of Well Edited & Beautifully Accented Interiors – Charlotte Designer Details This Critical Final Step

Posted on | August 2, 2016 | No Comments

Accenting an interior is an integral part of creating a balanced, well put together space. Options for decorative accents are literally endless. Knowing what to place where, how to group items, and – perhaps most importantly – when to say when – is essential to a design that tells a compelling, consistent story and comes together in a gracious and seamless manner. Charlotte interior designer Donna Livingston, of DL Design, Inc. is well known for creating spaces that are well edited, highly elegant and very refined, radiating with her client’s distinctive personality. Part of the reason for Donna’s success is her thoughtful and very thorough accenting process – a method which she recently shared with North Carolina Design.

Donna turns her attention to a home’s accents once the larger elements of the design are installed. “I honestly don’t take a long view of the statement I want the design to make, or the overall aesthetic,” she observes. “I really just do what I feel each individual space requires, considering scale, and color, and finishes. I look at it and observe – Does this area need something tall to make it pop? Something textured to add interest? I find that when I focus methodically on each of these details, the rest falls into place.”

“I don’t necessarily keep an eye out for items that will work for the space early on in the process. I am always visiting showrooms and boutiques, and I take a lot of photos of selections. I file the photos away, and when I’m ready to add accents in to a design, I pull them out and look through them to get ideas of things that may work. It’s so much nicer than going through catalog photos.”

Donna has found that thorough planning is the best way to achieve success, and she puts a great deal of thought into each selection. “I go in after everything is installed and I take photos of the space,” she recounts. “I print out the photos, and I sketch on top of them, adding in all of the accents – a lamp here, a table here – so that I can really visualize how the whole space will work together. I study the sketch carefully and go over it many times.”

Choosing accents and layering them into a space can be a challenging process, but Donna has developed a tried and true system. “I start out with the items that are the most limited and narrow in terms of options, and I move outward from there,” she explains. “For example, there are only so many patterned rugs that will work for a given space. But you can find any paint color in the world.

“It’s much easier to find paint colors that work well with a rug you love, than to find a rug you love that works with a color you have already chosen. So, I plan things like window treatments, rugs and pillows first, and I let their colors and patterns drive the design. And I leave new artwork for last, because you can always commission an artist to create something that’s a perfect fit for the finished space.”

Art is very important to Donna, and she counsels clients to make selections wisely. “I encourage my clients to invest in quality pieces that are very meaningful and reflect who they are,” she notes. “If they seem stuck, I encourage them to think about pieces that reflect their hobbies, or their favorite places. I’ll go with them to help them figure out what they like. Or I’ll show them work by a local artist that suits their aesthetic, and then we’ll commission an original piece.”

When it comes down to smaller decorative items, Donna relies on intuition and trial and error. “I’ll pick out fifteen things, hoping to find five that will work,” she says. “I will arrange and rearrange everything, mixing textures, colors and sizes until it’s right. I’m very deliberate. I don’t want to overdo things. I want everything to flow together in a very satisfying and effortless way. Achieving that for my clients is worth every bit of the hard work and energy I put in to each project.”

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