This is a write-yourself concept. Twice in the past week, I have seen sketchy (I am being nice) Interior Design, so I guess it's time to begin tackling "bad design".
Today is Part 1:
Bad design can be based on ugly or bad choices (most obvious), hasty choices, inappropriate or unsafe choices. Bad design is sometimes excused by budget problems or urgency, but neither of the recent awful visions I encountered involved lack of funds or lack of options; they were just plain UGLY (sorry!) and I always worry about bad design being imitated.
The study of Interior Design includes basics of scale and proportion -- the size of objects and how they relate to the space and to each other and "line": the actual shape of the furniture (how busy, complicated, fussy). We also learn about color the "color wheel; and how dark or light or vibrant the color is. And we learn and work with combining colors, materials, and textures.
We also learn historical interiors, architectural history and detailing, drafting and rendering (of course, now by computer), model-making, and sourcing.
Other than on paper (and maybe in someone's mind) I saw a hotel last weekend that looked more like a warehouse of furniture than a planned environment. The colors are fun: gray with green and purple with black accents. It works - even theoretically. Light walls, darker woods and marble were in proper balance. Several Knoll (brand) Platner and Saarinen tables (classic mid-20th Century furniture designers) were sadly buried amongst the big (and/or maybe too numerous) chairs of questionable origin. I would guess that maybe 1 in 100 guests might even see the beautiful classic tables. Shiny brass metal on many large contemporary pendant light hang from the lobby ceiling. And, in a corner, one of the very modern "green design" chairs I saw at the Dwell show. Oh, a satin fabric of sorts was on the stools. It just was not well designed.
What would be better? With wonderful accessory items or furniture, make that a focal point! Don't bury what can make the space extraordinary with what can't measure up! Even too many great pieces will be distracting: your eyes can only look at one beautiful thing at a time. That's why galleries are spare!! The brass trim was much too bright overhead; even chrome would blend better with gray. OR simplify the furnishings and make the lights a focal point. Especially in contemporary design, cluttering doesn't sync:: too much stuff with too much going on is a "NO".
The other interior was a home that I saw on TV last week. Completely different in look and style from the hotel, it was traditional. Only part of the house was shown to demonstrate a Designer's own use of "favorite things" and the rooms shown were furnished with unusual choices, The good lesson: absolutely use your favorites, because it IS in the "eye of the beholder". If you want to only make yourself happy, I completely agree with a DIY policy. Poufy white upholstered seating in the kitchen might work for a specific family, but not for most; not with sticky fingers! And, again, it's not good design when the space becomes over-furnished. The table shown in the adjacent family room was pretty, but MUCH too small, especially in proportion with the family room seating for a more typical home. No room on the top for much of anything. Maybe I am contradicting my own DIY statement by not approving, but I can't help it. I worry about watchers and readers and shoppers learning from bad examples. Maybe a disclaimer in the story might have helped? It's a far better lesson to see a professional's home that is sophisticated or "fun" rather than quirky as an admirable example. Watch out! Don't assume that because it's in the public eye that it's work to imitate.
Next time: bad design that is inappropriate (no, not "X-rated).