Judges' Tips: Harmonious Design

Design Star judges Candice Olson and Vern Yip share their design tips for mixing styles, finding the right balance and how to work with your surroundings.

Mix Different Styles for a Cohesive Design

I love the beautiful blend of contrast here: the marriage of low-slung casual lounge furniture that reflects the casual nature of the guitar, xylophone and tuba with details like nail-head trim, damask and metallic fabric accents that reflect the more formal attitude of the trumpet and French horn. — Candice Olson

Find the Right Balance

Two brass plates anchor the corner of this mural wall while pieces of wood elegantly drift away from them. Nina's freeform lines counterbalance the structured nature of the wood and brass, much like music balances the structure of melodies with freeform notes. — Vern Yip

Have Fun With Design

The staggered timber wall is a playful patio feature that helps define the dining area as a space for fun and good times. — Candice Olson

Create an Exciting Space

Stacey selected the trumpet as the instrument that inspired her the most and she interprets this instrument to be upbeat and bright. The wood fence and the table setting are both easily interpreted as upbeat and bright with points of light from the candles and gleaming glints of light bouncing off the silverware and metallic rims of the glasses. — Vern Yip

Add Life Through Plants

Alex selects the conga as his instrument of choice. He interprets this instrument to be about passion and relaxation, and it is manifested through a giant blue pillow topped with a sad, blue blanket. We would have loved to have seen lush tropical plants in pots sporting saturated hues, and a more widespread use of intense color and contrast to help convey the feelings he has about his instrument. — Vern Yip

Think of Everyday Objects in a New Way

I think the lyrical quality of Michael's steel/wire/light bulb is a brilliant solution to this challenge. However, instead of positioning it to cover a beautifully textured brick wall, it would have been better positioned as a focal point on the vast expanse of barren back wall. — Candice Olson

Don't Forget the Details

Trent's translation of partying and good times for the keyboard inspiration is almost nowhere to be seen. We would have loved to have seen candles, classic outdoor string lights with old-fashioned bulbs and a clearly defined beverage area. — Vern Yip

Remember Your Surroundings

The first thing we see as we walk out through the patio door is a large gray wall (against an urban backdrop of gray?) and a large lighting feature that is more of an eyesore than eye-catching — not a particularly inspiring first impression to build a room around. — Candice Olson

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