Ever wondered why that model home you just toured makes you want to plunk down a deposit STAT? You didn’t even know how badly you wanted this home until you saw the model, right?
Why do we want to grab our rose colored aviators to swoon over the hardwoods and dream layout of a model home?
It’s a thing. Model home designers know how to push your buttons. Big time.
Interior designers know how to create the kind of crave-worthy lifestyle you see on HGTV. They create your “dream home in a package”. Smells brand new and looks right out of the pages of a magazine!
What folks see when they walk through the door of a model is an “ideal” home. Right down to the cookies on the kitchen counter.
You can’t help but fall in love!
So you’re saying OK I got it. But how does that help me with MY far from perfect home that’s already got some miles on it?
It’s easy peasy. Use the same tricks professional designers use and turn your casa into a castle!
How to Achieve that Model Home Look
1. Design Themes Inspire a Model Home Look
A theme gives you a playbook for your model home design makeover. Your theme or style could be anything you love; beachy, rustic cabin or farmhouse. Pick a place or feeling you adore. Where do you like to go in your head when you want to get away?
Once you’ve picked a fav, your theme or style makes every choice you make easier. Just ask yourself does this fit? Is it going to help me create my dream getaway at home?
Another tip; find one piece and use that as your theme’s “avatar”. It could be a barn door or an antique rocking chair handed down to you. Maybe it’s piece of art or a blowup photo of your favorite beach. Use that as the kickoff to making your style come alive.
Start a Pinterest board for inspiration. Instagram and store websites can be another source of ideas to pin from. Don’t forget you can also use print magazines to create an actual vision board to leave up as a reminder of your style must haves.
2. Pick a 2-4 Color Palette
When it comes to setting a theme or mood, color packs a huge punch. In fact color has the power to create or break your model home look. You’d use soft blues, sandy and cream colors not reds, purples and black for that beachy or coastal look.
Think about what colors are naturally part of your theme/style. There’s a reason you won’t find model homes with too many bright colors. Although they can be fun to look at in your favorite restaurant or store, bold colors may be hard to live with and quickly go out of style.
It doesn’t mean you have to settle for beige or white. Navy blue can be a neutral if it’s used the right way.
To create a harmoniously appealing style start with one or two “neutral” colors. Then keep your accent colors to two or three at most. Repeat these colors throughout to create symmetry and balance. Not just one green pillow but two or three. A rug or curtains with green in the pattern works too. You get the idea.
3. Use Inexpensive Paint for Big Impact
You can’t talk about color without bringing up the cheapest way to make a splash. Paint! Make your home look like it could walk the runway with paint. It’s cheap and if you mess up all you have to do is paint over it. Take one or two of the neutral colors you picked and use one of them on your walls.
Perhaps a painted accent wall could add personality to an otherwise ho hum room. Making a fireplace wall a focal point with paint or wallpaper is a great way to use your one of your accent colors. Or make a fake half wall or wainscoting effect by painting a darker color above or below chair rail molding.
Paint is truly a magic weapon when it comes to creating style on a budget. Just make sure you check the paint swatches in natural light at home before committing!
4. Pick a Focal Point or Create One
A focal point is a natural place in a room for your eye to go to such as a window or a fireplace. Don’t have an obvious focal point? Then create one. A large piece of art or a wall display is a surefire way to create a center of attention.
Model home decor is all about creating drama, and that’s what a focal point does. It sets the mood, it says here I am look at me! So why not make it special?
- A window with a view can be framed by gorgeous curtains mounted near the ceiling for maximum wow factor. Make sure the view is not blocked by furniture or a TV.
- If your focal point is a fireplace; consider a special wall treatment on the wall around it such as accent paint or wallpaper. Hang a fabulous wall hanging or photo of your fam above the fireplace. Install a stunning mantel to frame the fireplace.
- If you’re improvising; use a gorgeous vintage armoire or credenza in the middle of wall as your focal point and mount a wall art display above it. Create a collage of enlarged family photos or treasured scenes. Make sure the frames fit in with your theme.
- Use a headboard and artwork to create a bedroom focal point.
The whole idea of a focal point is to give the room balance. Use your focal point to arrange your furniture by creating at least one seating group that faces it. Now sit back and enjoy the view!
5. Group Items and Furnishings
The art of grouping is the best kept secret among interior designers. It’s what separates a meh room from a “wow I want to live there” one.
Grouping takes 3 or more items and puts them together in a way that makes the room feel pulled together.
- One sofa with two chairs facing it or angled towards it
- Three decorative accessories grouped on top of a table
- Three photos or images grouped on a wall
Take it the next step further and have multiple groups of related items in your room like this room above. Doing this creates little mini focal points throughout the room. When you group things together it’s easier on the eye than having to look at a bunch of things scattered around the room just hanging out by themselves.
You’re creating little mini vignettes or displays that tell a story about you.
Try it. It’s fun. Each item in a group doesn’t have to be the same. A lamp can be grouped with a stack of books and a vase for example. Or a surfboard can be mounted on a wall with a couple of photos.
6. Duplicate Items to Create Balance
When you find a great lamp, buy two if you can. You don’t want to be too matchy matchy but put some balance in your dream home by using pairs. Let’s say you have two different lamps but they’re about the same height. In that case use matching lamp shades to make a pair.
Same rule goes for pairs of pillows on your sofa. Have two pillows in the same size and color. Then have fun mixing up the other pillows. Another trick is to use larger pillows on each side. This creates a balance of color and scale.
7. Large Scale Art is a Model Home Secret
Scale is another secret that model home designers use. Go big or go home. When it comes to accessories don’t be afraid to use something big. One big item has a lot more wow than a lot of small ones. That’s another reason for grouping. It’s a way to make smaller items feel big. Sneaky huh?
Large scale artwork can also create a sense of space. Why not experiment?
If you have high ceilings, use a tall piece of furniture like a bookcase or armoire to draw the eye up. This principle works with average ceiling heights too.
One large sofa or sectional can make a room feel larger. This is how model home designers make even those small sometimes awkwardly shaped living areas look spacious. They “float” a sectional or sofa in the middle of the space and then group everything around it.
8. Leave Space in Room Settings
One flaw I’ve seen some model homes suffer from is being overstuffed. When the floor space is covered up, there’s your sign. The best designers know when to stop. What to leave OUT is as important as what to ADD. You want a room to feel inviting not overwhelmingly decorated.
Have you ever visited a model home that feels cramped or too small? Rarely, right? The whole point of good design is making the most of the space and quite honestly can we ever get enough?
So take a tip from the model home designers who leave enough floor space to make the room feel bigger than it is. Experiment with different furniture arrangements until you get it right. Float the sofa away from the wall and make a seating group with your chairs. Not only will it feel cozier and more like a conversation area but your room will feel bigger too.
Group your photos and frames on one wall in a sweet collage display. Not only will it make an effective focal point but keeping other walls free of art makes them visibly move back and feel more open.
Now that you’re inspired, what model home tips are you going to try?