Let’s Talk Interiors - Top Tips!
As an interior designer I am often asked for advice on where to start when embarking on a project. If all you are changing is the colour of your walls it can feel easy and logical but if you are looking to completely transform a room or your entire home it can feel overwhelming.
Knowing where to start is key so if you are about to start your project hopefully these top tips will help make the process easier and more enjoyable.
Context is King.
This may not be an obvious one but understanding the building, its location and the neighbourhood is important.
Considering its history and what made the building special, especially if it is a traditional building, will ensure that you create a design which works with the building and does not stand out for the wrong reasons.
It is even more important if you are planning on selling on your property at any point in the near future to ensure it appeals to prospective buyers.
The Space Must Flow
The way in which you move around your space is fundamental.
If you do not understand how the space flows, the way you interact with the space and what you need from it then basics such as where a plug socket is positioned and where you need a table lamp will be wrong.
If you are remodelling and doing any serious alteration work, this needs to be understood so that your home works for you and you are not forced to make compromises. It would be so frustrating to have to go without or locate a cosy reading area in space just because of where the plug socket is.
Start Talking, the Sooner the Better.
When you first start thinking about reworking your space, whether that is reconfiguring a room in its entirety, adding an extension or simply moving the master bedroom into what was the guest bedroom you need to engage with your Interior Designer, and Architect if required, as soon as possible.
They will help you to formalise your thoughts into concepts, review and establish a budget and a timescale for the work to be completed. You will have a clearer more cohesive idea of what you are trying to achieve and they will work with you to help you realise your dreams.
You will also have a better idea on lead times on any bespoke items and can make sure everything is ordered in time and in the right order so you are not left with missing pieces or storing furniture for weeks on end.
Doing all this work up front and on paper allows for revisions and amendments to be made with little, if any, cost implications in comparison to making changes when walls are erected and you are needing to make decisions quickly or the schedule will be held up.
Making decision under pressure is never a good thing. It should be a fun process not a stressful one.
Use Varying Levels of Lighting
Stunning lighting will elevate a space. Combining floor, table, wall and ceiling lights will help create different moods in the same space.
You will be able to layer lighting to create subdued moods. Using different heights will also add textural interest to a space. Dimmer switches are a great investment so that on an evening the lights can be dimmed to allow for a more intimate and cosy space.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match. Creating your sense of style need not mean it has to come from the same design era. Introducing contemporary elements into a more period setting can still look cohesive. Similarly, introducing a vintage piece in a contemporary home can help create a more lived in feel and be less of a show home.
Display artwork in every space. Artwork should not be reserved for the main rooms in your home. Bathrooms, kitchens and even downstairs WC’s should also have artwork in them. Your personality should extend to every room.
Mood is a must. When entering a room it is important to be able to identify what the mood is. This could be bright and reflective, soft and elegant or plush and opulent. If you cannot identify the mood then something is missing.
Identify your style. If you are struggling to identify what your style is, look at what you like to wear, this can give you a better clue than looking at wallpaper samples. Do you gravitate towards stripes, bold colours but only on your socks, are you all about layering different fabrics but always in beige? Once you have identified your style, think about how you can introduce this into your rooms.
Rooms don’t have to match. Rooms should have function, purpose and personality. A room that has none of these is a room that is lacking. A room does not need to match or be mirrored throughout the property, but it should have an identity and a common theme or thread. This could be an accent colour which is you use in every room to a greater or lesser degree or the same flooring that runs throughout. What you don’t want is to feel like every room could belong to a different person and be in someone else’s home.
Get inspired. Magazines are great to help present ideas but go and visit gorgeous shops, hotels, art galleries, museums, restaurants and anywhere else you can take inspiration from. Look at how they have played with the scale of items and the colours they have introduced. What are you drawn to and what leaves you uncomfortable? Use your initial reactions to guide you when it comes to selecting what to introduce into your home.
Be pragmatic. When it comes to placing items in a room consider what you are trying to achieve. It could be that you are wanting to draw attention away from an ugly corner of the room or make something the focal point. Alternatively you may want to create the illusion of scale and make the space appear bigger. Using lighting and reflective materials such as mirrors can help with this.
Create an element of surprise. Adding a pop of colour that is unexpected or a piece of artwork which is slightly controversial is a great way of lifting the mood in a space whilst also injecting your personality.
Create A Budget And Stick To It. It is vital that you work out the costs for each room you want to work on. Include everything from the structural work if you are having to underpin or move walls to the finishing touches to make it shine.
Add it all up and then determine if you can afford it. It is recommended that you have a contingency of 10-20% to help cover any unexpended expenses that can arise on projects. This may need to be more when renovating older properties as they can often lead to additional and unexpected work.
It might be easier to have a budget for the structural work and a separate budget for the decorating and furnishings so that you can see exactly where your money is going and on what. Splashing out £1,000 on a kitchen tap might seem like a great idea but not when you put it into context of the other costs involved and the need to not go over budget. Desire is one thing but being practical and mindful is what will make your project a success and minimise stress levels.
In summary, there is a lot to consider when making your property work for you and I hope this has given you food for thought, and even the confidence to undertake your project. If it has made you think that you need some help, then I would encourage you to speak to a professional. They will not only get you the results you need, they will also make it an enjoyable experience.
If you have any design questions or would like any help with your project then please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org