How a game helped me design our home

Confession: I may be addicted to interior design games. What started out as a distraction from the 2016 news cycle has evolved into years of designing fictional rooms and spaces on Design Home. In the 2020 election news cycle, I also added Redecor to the mix.

Here are some of my designs from Design Home:

The game features 3D renditions of real furniture/decor items from real brands. Over time, I became quite familiar with each brand’s style and price range. I was shocked to find out that all of these brands are real! It made it more fun, even though I don’t think I could afford most of them. It’s nice to see how they look in different rooms, and be able to look at them from all angles in the 3D rendering.

A handful of brands featured in the game.
This Article sofa is indeed a real one that you can buy.
The Game

For each design, you’re given a room and a pre-defined list of requirements. For example, in a living room you may need to pick a sofa, two chairs, two ottomans, a coffee table and a side table. Plants, table lamps, rugs, artwork are optional. There’s usually additional requirements on the style of furniture or the brand to use, which sometimes results in designs I would not personally opt for in real life.

What I’ve learned about design from this game
Color palettes will make or break your design.

A consistent color palette is key.

Usually, sticking to two or three main colors and one or two accent colors work best. More colors will look and feel busier, while fewer colors give a sense of space and calm. Too little color and a room becomes frigid and boring.

Natural wooden tones tend to blend well with almost anything. Varnished wood: not so much. Natural wood also makes a room warmer/earthier.

Lighter colored furniture give the room an airy feel. It helps make small spaces seem larger.

Very bright colors are best as an accent color, rather than a main one.

Plants are the secret sauce I didn’t know I was missing.

Large plants add height to the design, creating visual interest.

Medium to large plants in corners make a room more inviting.

Small plants on tables add to a cozy feel. It’s also a great decor option for those who are not into vases, candles, trays, etc.

Artwork gives a room some character and warmth.

Artwork can help pull a look together by keeping it consistent with the chosen palette.

When displaying multiple pieces together, it’s best to avoid clashing palettes or having too many different palettes.

Everything does not have to be equally spaced and aligned. Getting creative with the alignment can add interest to the design.

Proportions are essential. A large piece of art needs enough space to not look cramped. Large walls benefit from large pieces or collections of smaller pieces grouped together.

A large wall without art needs texture.

An accent color section, wallpaper, stone, wood veneer, can be used to break up the empty space.

Rugs define a space.

Furniture seems to be floating in an untethered mess in large multi-purpose rooms like living-dining areas, unless there is a rug or two to define each space. Rugs can help tie everything together and should be consistent with the color palette. Personally, I have a hard time implementing this one in real life, because I hate cleaning rugs.

A vocabulary of decor styles.

I learned a lot about various decor styles and found that I like elements of mid-century modern, contemporary, industrial, tropical, eclectic. Modern pieces with a rustic touch are interesting. I like clean lines, natural wood, and nothing too busy or glam. Not crazy about French, traditional, Mediterranean, all of which tend to be very ornate and bulky. Ornate means hard to clean, so that’s a no for me. Although I find some luxe designs visually appealing, they usually have too much gold for me.


Coming up next

I had no idea that playing these games would actually have real-life applications, but I was thrilled to implement everything I had learned when we moved to our new home last year. In upcoming posts, I’ll go into a few of my design choices, the compromises we’ve had to make for various reasons, and before/after photos. Stay tuned!

PS: I am happy to inform you that I have been fully cured of my game addiction ever since the Biden administration took over and vaccines are being rolled out throughout the U.S. I have high hopes of receiving a vaccine in the near future.

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