The Art of Restraint in Design

My most recent design client is Mr. Bruce Levinson. Over the past month, I have been slowly transforming the space between his modest four walls at work. My goal is to purchase the best item at the ideal price. This requires a process and I will often try three or four pieces in a space before I commit. 


Here is his new retro, yet modern and slightly industrial petal chair.  It is such a focal point that it deserves to be the star of the show. So, when I found a dramatically wood shaped side table to live in the office for a couple of days, he became attached. But alas, I had to coax him to let go of it for a simpler piece. As a matter of fact, no matter what I bring in from the largest to smallest of objects, he gets attached.  


I have been encouraging him, "Good design requires restraint."


For furnishings and details in a space to be appreciated, they need breathing room to bring a sense of aesthetic order. This requires disciplined editing and often saying no to beautiful things. The goal is to bring harmony in the overall design of the entire of room. 


Some ideas for RESTRAINT in design:

PATIENCE: Don't be afraid for the process to take time.  

PROPORTION & SCALE:  Consider the size and space available.

COLOR: Showing restraint with color can help you gain all the delight of using a vibrant tone without sacrificing sophistication.   

SUBTLETY: Avoid clutter. Accessories make a stronger statement when they aren`t competing.  Extreme shapes can be overwhelming. Mix them with plainer pieces.

LOVE: Creativity involves options. Try several choices. Only keep an item if you are in-love with it. Try it for a few days. Keep your receipts and return when necessary.  



Tracy Levinson -


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