The Secret to Interior Design: Embrace Your Individuality – Jennifer Ungar, Interior Designer

Implementing your vision of your dream home can be a rewarding but challenging experience. I would like to share some key elements in home design that can simplify the process and maximize results. No matter your taste, there are certain basic principles that apply to just about every space. This is your home; make your mark on it and let your personality shine through with attractive and functional furniture, accessories and color choices.

Before diving into decorating, be sure to plan well. Take accurate measurements, both of the space you have available and of the furniture you wish to purchase, to ensure that everything fits where you need it. Using a room and furniture layout kit or drawing a to-scale floor plan can be helpful too. Never underestimate the role of scale to proportion in successful home design; few things throw off the balance in a room like a super-sized couch stuffed into a small living room, or a large room with too much empty space. This is one of the most important areas where an interior designer can really help you out: many designers use computer programs to draw up an accurate floor plan, and this can save you thousands of shekels in mistakes.

Once you have familiarized yourself with the dimensions of the space, you can begin to source the furnishings and accents; don’t lose sight of your end goals. Sometimes it’s easy to get pulled into buying something you don’t particularly care for, or even keeping a piece of hand-me-down furniture that you feel guilty unloading. It is far better to wait for the right purchase than to settle for something you don’t love. If it may take a while to find just the right piece, get something cheap and functional that you can replace when you find what you want. As far as Grandma’s old dresser is concerned, perhaps a relative can make better use of it. If not – donate it.

When choosing furniture and decorations for your home, don’t get too hung up on what’s currently in fashion. Choose a style that speaks to you and incorporate some complementary trends for timeless appeal. What’s trendy now may quickly look dated. Often people worry too much about which styles are featured in magazines and what other people will think of their home. Embrace your individuality; you are the one living in your apartment and its design needs to speak to your tastes and needs.

Another thing to keep in mind when buying furniture is form and function. You should test each piece out before you purchase it. Focus on the item’s intended purpose and use. A beautiful dining room set will surely make you very happy – unless the chairs are uncomfortable for extended periods of sitting during long Shabbos meals, or they turn out to be too wide to fit both family and guests in your dining room. Choose pieces that function the way you need them to.

Many people become unnecessarily color-phobic when decorating. There is no reason to avoid bold colors, as they can add beauty and personality to your home. A word of caution, however: Before committing to strong tones, do your research. Pinterest is an excellent tool for finding different complementary color combinations. If you are still hesitant, introduce a punch of color with fun accessories. Adding a red vase or a selection of vibrant accent pillows is a great way to perk things up while remaining within your comfort zone. This is also a useful method to test out a new color before committing to it.

One important area of home design often neglected by non-professionals is lighting. Where you place your fixtures, the wattage and color of the light itself and most importantly, how the light disperses, all influence the atmosphere in your home. Installing the right type of lighting in each room can make a huge difference in its aesthetic appeal. Sometimes this is best achieved by placing individual fixtures in different parts of the room to allow maximum flexibility. Other times, an overhead fixture will work well. Simple overhead lighting or basic lamp fixtures can sometimes leave dark areas or cast light in a way that is unflattering. Evaluate the space of the room and its intended function to enable you to make the most effective choices for your needs.

On a purely aesthetic note, don’t ignore your walls! Art and photographs add so much to the appeal of a room. But it would be a shame to hang a beautiful piece of art just to have it go unnoticed! To avoid this, be sure to place it correctly. The average person’s line of vision falls at around 57 inches (about 145 centimeters). Hanging a picture at this height draws the eyes right to it.

In our next article, we will examine issues of design and layout. Maybe your kitchen belongs where you currently have a bedroom, or perhaps your salon should be larger. These are not simple decisions; air, light, movement, and usability are just some of the important factors to consider.


Jennifer Ungar has been designing beautiful spaces for 25 years and has worked on large and small residential projects in New York, New Jersey, Miami and Ramat Beit Shemesh. By listening closely to her clients’ needs and desires, Jennifer transforms their concepts and vision into a design reality. Her specialty is creating interiors that are comfortably sophisticated, yet, relaxed and inviting; interiors that turn your space
into your home.

Jennifer can be reached at 052-448-7050, www.jenniferungarinteriors.com or jenungar@gmail.com

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