Friday, July 15, 2011

3 Secrets Of Design: Bijou And Boheme

Hi there a la moders, it's Christine here from Bijou and Boheme and I'm tickled pink to be taking part in Shelli's series, 3 secrets of design.
I have to start this post off by saying I'm not actually a designer so take what I'm saying with a grain of salt...or at least a poppy seed etc...
Although I'm not formally trained in such things, I do think I have some idea about what makes great design.
So here you 3 cents on the matter.

One: Buy What You Love
I know, I know...this seems obvious but in actual fact, it's not.
I can't tell you how many times I've stared at something at a store, put down the old/overused MasterCard, and purchased something that I really didn't heart as much as I thought I did.
The trick to good design is to look at every item as if it truly is important...even if it's just a vase or a small trinket...ask yourself, do I really LOVE this?  Will I think about it days for now if I don't buy it?  Will I be jealous of the lady in the next aisle if I put it down and she grabs it?  Will my room/space really be improved if I put this in it?  If you can answer yes to all of these questions, slap the money down and purchase...assuming you have the necessary funds and all that:)

Two: Your Needs Matter
When starting to design a room decide what you want to use it for and what you need from the space. 
If you have 5 kids, don't buy a glass waterfall me, I have 3 kids and mine lasted a grande total of 24 hours- no lie.
If you want the room to be a relaxed space to entertain and watch the game, don't fill it with French antiques that you can't rest your feet or a glass on.
I could go on and on but I think you get the idea.
Start a space by really thinking about what you want from it.
Take measurements, draw it out (paper and a pencil will do- no fancy computer programs needed here) and start playing around with where you want the furniture and how the room will work.
Once you have a basic layout, deciding on the pieces that you can re-use or buy, becomes much easier.

Three: Variety is the Spicy  
(as in the spice of life)
After arriving at a plan for your space, the real fun begins.
And by fun, I really don't mean heading down to your local Leon's and buying their 'Contemporary Living Room' or 'Baroque Dining Montage'...STAY AWAY FROM SETS.
Take your time with shopping.
Back to point one, only purchase things you really love and don't for heaven sakes buy them all at once...Rome was clearly not built in a day.
The more time you take to look/shop/compare/search, the more you'll discover the little treasures hidden along the way.
In the end, you want your space to look collected/curated...this can only be achieved by taking the time to seek out and capture those little gems that are off the beaten path.
Don't be afraid of the hunt...look, look some more, and then look again.
And PS, back to my main point here, the less things match, the better (in my humble non-professional opinion). can decide on a basic palate/feel for the room but once you do, make sure you add in a variety of textures, shapes, patterns, materials, and colours...this layering is most certainly what makes any they die!!!
Oh and don't forget at least one whimsical/ugly-pretty item...every room needs one- think ceramic zebra, brass gazelle, dalmatian bookends..again, I could go on and on.

So there you 3 secrets of design...I'm not sure if they're actually hush hush concepts but they certainly are the ones I follow and they haven't really let me down yet.

Thanks again to Shelli for having me...was a delight to visit!!


Don't forget to enter this adorable nap mat giveaway! 


  1. Great tips! Definitely agree with going with what you love.

  2. Love the staying away from sets! Another pet peeve where everything is so matchy matchy, think outside the box! Also cannot agree more with buying what you love, it pays off in spades. I hate when you compromise and its never ever quite right and generally you end up replacing it in the end which really ends up costing more than what it would originally have cost!!!! Great post Christine!

  3. I feel like I say it all the time..but Christine never disappoints me! I truly adore her with all my <3

  4. such great tips, love. and i adore all of the shots you included!

  5. So true, Christine! I love variety, but I most relate to tip #1. Buying a cheaper alternative often isn't worth it in the long run.

  6. Love the tips! I for one wish I knew them BEFORE I bought my couches last year. I love them, but they match and now I wish I had 2 mismatched chairs with my sofa instead of a matching love seat. Next time. Thanks again

  7. Fabulous post, Christine! Thanks so much for the tips. I can definitely use them :)

  8. Fantastic tips. I have definitely learned to take my time which might account for how frustrated I get with how long it takes me! But no regrets in the end.

  9. Great tips from Christine and I love her blog. Her tips seem so simple but they really do mean a lot. I often times get frustrated that a room isn't "done" but I just remind myself that it takes time and it will all come together at some point.

  10. Genius advice, Ms. Christine! I now completely abhor those stores that sell complete rooms because I can see how much better and more personal it looks when you put it together yourself! I have to work on the "design for your needs" part...that is a toughie! Have a great weekend!!!

  11. Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Great tips! I've been jealous of that lady in the next aisle at checkout for grabbing what I put down! How funny! We have a VERY large ceramic zebra in our living room bay window. I had to have him when I saw him and he brings just the right amount of whimsy to our room as well as being a great conversation piece.

  13. Fabulous tips! I love Christine and her style is DIVINE. Hugs,
    Nancy xo

  14. A fabulous, practical and well written post. Should be titled the '3 Laws of Design'!

  15. Christine doesn't give herself enough credit...she's a fabulous designer with spot-on taste! Love her tips!

    And love your head fave is the 2nd one, but both are grand. Better yet, let's talk about your dress!!! Deets!

  16. What's not to love here...The tips and the talented Christine....a wining combination :)

  17. Wonderful post from a WONDERFUL designer!!