Feng Shui the Haute Way: Interior Design Tips for Staying City Chic

Since image is everything and what is more reflective of personal style than your home, what your fabulous condo says about you is essential to giving off the right impression. But with so many options of spaces and stuff- where do you even begin? The basic concepts of modern interior design include straight lines, geometric shapes, contrasting colors, shiny surfaces and a lack of clutter. Here are some tips to make sure you really are living the haute life.

1. Enlist an Expert

Chicago is the home of the Merchandise Mart, the largest collection of luxury boutiques in the world. With more than than 130 showrooms and 2,000 product lines you could spend three days just getting an idea of what you like.  Get some referrals and meet with potential designers first to see if they match the style preferences you have.

2. Choose the Right Space: Form Follows Function

New developments often offer the benefit of choosing features before a unit is completed. Tiles, accent wall colors, trim, fixtures, layouts can often all be customized to your taste. Try sketching out different floor plans with all the major furniture pieces you want before committing to a layout that doesn’t fit your life. There are web and software programs to help or bring your design consultant to help.

Often times, small, open or uniquely shaped areas leave a person wondering what to do with areas too small for normal furniture. This is a great opportunity to see if you can turn them into a functional storage or work space. Wall mounted cabinets are great for this. Another idea is to convert a closet into an office by integrating a metal shelving system and desk that can be cleverly hidden.

3. Shopping: Overwhelming or Intuitive?

Furniture shopping can be one of the most exciting parts of the process, or it can be one of the most daunting (although I would never admit that). Arm yourself with the room layouts and max dimensions in mind before you go. You don’t want to block entries or walkways and falling in love with a furniture piece that won’t fit can be both heart wrenching and costly. Always note the return policy for impulse buys.

Accent pieces are both necessary and tricky for finishing touches. Less is usually more. Bring a camera phone for round one, snap some shots and see how different items would look in your actual space. Too much of the same color or style, odd dimensions or things you’ve seen before are usually items to avoid.

4. Add Some Color to Your Life

The right color scheme can not only pull together the look, but accent colors can also alter the depth, lighting and placement of pieces. Don’t be afraid of darker or brighter colors as they may add a nice contrast. Stay consistent within your color scheme and definitely bring home samples.

5. Get Creative: Personalization doesn’t come from a Catalog

This is ultimately your home and you want it to be a reflection of you. Brainstorm some of the most influential things in your life, whether it be a picture, homage to your favorite musician or a hobby you want to showcase. A mounted guitar could serve as both art and a great conversation piece. Instead of purchasing prints, consider turning your own photos into wall pieces. Gallerydirect.com creates cool mediums out of your images like wood, steel, and acrylic glass mounted with metallic studs. There are a lot of great resources online that specialize in vintage or specialty retailers for unique items no one else will have.

Similarly, unique furniture pieces that needs to serve a specific function often cannot be found in a store. For example, a DJ turntable that could double as an entertainment center for music storage. Consider a custom builder, as you can fit every angle, weight and dimension of your needs, while also being able to choose the wood grain, type of drawers and door configurations that exactly match your style.

Sleek, low furniture with contrasting bright accent colors breakup a large space and create a visually interesting, non-traditional living area.

Stainless Steel Mounted Shelves inside a wall closet to create an uncluttered, hidden office space.

Custom designed image printed with UV on acrylic.

Custom Built Dresser, Entertainment Center and DJ Turntable Station.

Design Tips and Images courtesy of Deepak Mistry (dmmistry@gmail.com) in collaboration with Ashley Misenheimer (ashley@londoneyeinteriors.com) of London Eye Interiors, www.londoneyeinteriors.com.