Lessons from the Runway

This past weekend I binge-watched the latest season of Project Runway All-Stars. As I sat there mesmerized, it occurred to me that there are so many takeaways that can be applied to designing your home.

  • Color—Color is a huge part of the design and what you think will work in the store doesn’t always work out in practice. Impulse buys are rarely a good thing. It’s much better to go in with a solid plan!
  • Juxtaposition—I love this word! In case you’re not familiar with it, it’s the placing of things close together for a contrasting effect. Think leather and lace, masculine and feminine, Industrial Chic, Rustic Luxe, etc.
  • Don’t be boring…but make sure you step back from crazy—Tim Gunn and Joanna Coles are constantly reminding the designers to “edit, edit, edit” and it applies to your home, too. The key is to play different textures and styles against each other without it looking like a bunch of random crap thrown together. It’s basically a giant balancing act.
  • Sometimes you have to scrap your plan and start over (just make sure you’re staying true to YOU)—I know you’ve seen the designers get advice that their design just won’t work and they need to come up with a new plan. Has that ever happened to you? A friend or family member came over and criticized what you’ve done in your home and now you are faced with whether to scrap what you were doing or just keep on keeping on. My first bit of advice is that as much as I love him, Tim Gunn isn’t always right. Same with your friends and family. Listen to what they have to say but don’t automatically jump to what they’re recommending. For example, your sister loves Tuscan but you’re a Modern Farmhouse kind of girl. If she says you MUST have a gold paint on the wall, but you really love the look of white? Don’t listen. If she says that the sectional you’ve been dreaming of is going to be way too big, you might want to re-check your measurements and maybe even map out the size on the floor with painter’s tape.
  • Pay attention to the details—How often do you hear the contestants say that they hope the judges won’t notice the wonky seams or unfinished garments? And how often do the judges notice? Yep, every time. It shows in your home, too. You can find all sorts of genius hacks and cool projects on Pinterest that can transform your home; just keep in mind that you want the finished product to look amazing and high-priced, not cheap and unfinished.
  • Accessories can make (or break) the design—The Project Runway designers add jewelry, shoes, and hair and makeup looks to complete their vision. You and I both know that the outfit can be great, but the addition of the wrong accessories or goofy makeup will get the judges’ attention in a hurry—and not in a good way. Same thing goes if the designers neglect those things. How does this apply to your home? You can have the best furniture layout, the most gorgeous (and comfy) sofa, the perfect paint color, and still ruin the look with puny lamps or overdone drapes.

The biggest difference, though, between Project Runway and your home is the time. Remember, it’s not a competition and it’s not a race. You really don’t have to have everything finished righthissecond.  

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  1. Rebecca Robinson says:

    It is funny how connected fashion is to interiors! Great blog!

  2. Dixie Willard says:

    Thank you, Rebecca!