10 Design Ideas for the New Year

The New Year. I think of it like an Etch-a-Sketch. Time to shake it up and make some exciting changes to what you do now! Here are 10 design ideas that I hope will excite and inspire you.


Tell a Story of Fantasy

A few well-placed details took the architecture of this space to Morocco. The lamps, art, screens and draping all helped to envelop the guests in a world of exotic and lush design. The floral color palette of jewel tones hat matched the art were key to finishing the look.

Club Glen Gourmet Dinner_resize


Get Bold With Light and Texture

Full wall projections are now so much more possible than they were years ago. I loved this whimsical look we created with pinks and blues (Pantone’s colors for 2016!) and daisies. So simple, and yet, not.

planet holly cubes.jpg


Color + Textiles

Color will always be on one of my Top 10 lists because it is just such an emotional component no matter where you use it. But here, in the centerpiece, guests can’t help but be affected by it. That, coupled with very patterns on the linen made this New Year’s Eve table POP! There is no way anyone would nod off before midnight!



Make an Entrance

The rule of thumb every diva knows we need to always consider with design. Yes, the guests will only see it for minutes. But it is the opening statement that sets the tone … sort of like your design intentions for the year. What you set in your mind for possibilities will come true!



Own It

Branding, even just a word or a thought, is powerful. Words have meaning and impact. Use them!

Fusion Lounge


Create a Space of Mind

Total transformation. This sounds obvious, doesn’t it. It’s what we do as event designers. But sometimes we don’t got far enough in taking our guests into a new space of mind. I understand there are budgets at play, but lighting and draping go a long way. Think of the perimeter first when creating a design and then fill in from there. Because if the guests still see the wallpaper or ac duct, or pipes, then their mind cannot be set free by your design.

Club Glen Nightclub


The Details

Oh yes, the details. So, as I said in No. 6 … there is the big picture, and then the little picture. I think the middle (the furnishings and flooring) fills itself in. But it’s those details that people will take note (and take photos) of.




Even if it’s just a small space — make bling happen! Guests love the surprise, the lushness of it, and the way it makes the event special.



And More bling!

Pay attention to surfaces. Mirrors help amplify your design statement. And there are now so many wonderful event furnishing companies all over the nation from which you c an add special touches such as mirrored tabletops and fanciful furniture.



Going Back to Go Forward

I did this event many years ago, and yet, it’s more relevant now than ever! Keep in mind that your attendees are now of diverse cultures, age groups and visual backgrounds. Introduce them to some of those fantastic designs from other eras, but in a way that is authentic. I am not a big fan of putting a sign up that says the Sixties. In a way, does it matter? You are taking them in to another world of visual information. What happened in the sixties is still happening today. So don’t put too fine a point on things. Don’t SAY it. SHOW it! That’s what design is about.

retro vogue low

As we all go in to the New Year, I invite you to shake it up! Erase old ways of thinking and start to build your new Etch-A-Sketch masterpieces!

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David E. Merrell

In addition to being the founder of DesignDawgs, David Merrell is the Owner and Creative Director of AOO Events. His name has become synonymous with cutting-edge event design for live and staged productions. David is a sought-after producer with a growing list of Fortune 500 and international corporations for product launches, corporate events, celebrity-attended fundraisers as well as intimate weddings.

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