Interior Designers are in fact creative types by nature and love to imagine, dream, explore and follow our intuition. That being said, there are some principles that guide us to ensure a great result for our clients.
I hate to break it to you, but interior designers don’t really follow a secret decorating rule book.
The principles of design are the closest thing we have to a rule book but typically once a designer learns these principles, he or she is equipped to break the rules a little in order to create unique and distinctive spaces. Fully understanding design principles and learning how to interpret them for each and every space is like a language, which becomes instinctive after years of experimentation and practice. However, that doesn't mean you cant adopt these simple considerations to bear in mind when you are wanting to improve your spaces. These have been proven as super effective and I have used them over the years for best results with my clients both domestic and commercial. Consider it as a foundation for developing your own quirky, creative,intuitive approach to designing your own spaces. If you need a little help, you know where to find it. Contact us
1.Choose the paint colour last
I get calls all the time from homeowners who want to choose colours for the interior and exterior of their home. There are thousands of paint colours with various tints, tones and shades as you may know if you've ever been faced with the task or colour selection. And each one looks different from home to home, because light sources and architecture vary, meaning what looks good in your current home might not in your next one. You want the colour that best complements your upholstery, artwork, rug and whatever else.
Most designers when designing a whole space will choose artwork and soft furnishings first and then select paint colours last. Of course it depends on the scope of the project. The client may already have prominent artwork or furnishings to govern the selection and in some cases they don't. A design professional has a huge palette of colours when selecting paint colours but there are limitations to what is available for bedding, upholstery and art pieces. Choosing these limited items first and finishing with the perfect paint colour to complement them will ensure the best possible result.
2.Give your furniture some breathing space Resist overcrowding a room. Gracious living means space to manoeuvre with ease. This is really great news if you are working with a tight budget. You don’t need to fill up a space with lots of furniture and every corner doesn't need something placed in it. This is very important and a common decorating mistake. Spend more of your budget on fewer but better-quality pieces and your room will look better than if it’s stuffed to the gills with flea market finds.
3.Hang artwork at the right height Galleries and museums hang artwork so that the midline (centre) of each piece is 145cm to 152cm from the floor. (The average human eye level is 145 cm.)
In a room like this, where the ceilings are quite high, there might be a tendency to hang the art higher. But remember, it needs to relate to human scale, not the structure’s scale.
If you’re not sure, take a picture. It’s remarkable how much a photo can reveal. Print it out or use Photoshop or an app to draw on the photo. This can give you a sense of whether a larger or smaller piece of art is needed or a tall plant might be best to fill an empty spot.
4.Know how to deal with rugs There are basically three ways you can arrange furniture on a rug. ALL ON: The rug is large enough to place all of the furniture legs on top of it. This creates a more luxurious feel. For this, bigger is better. Just be sure to leave at least 30cm to 45cm of surface free on all four sides of the rug. ALL OFF: If you have a small room, keeping all legs off the rug is a great cost-effective choice. You don’t want to pick too small a rug, though, or it may look insignificant, like an afterthought. The rug should appear as though it could touch the front legs of each of the seating pieces. This approach is best suited when you’re layering a pattern over a larger solid or textured rug.
FRONT ON: Put just the front feet of all your seating pieces on the rug to tie the arrangement together visually and create a well-defined space while lending a feeling of openness.
Visual Edge has a great affiliation with a reliable rug supplier who has a huge range of rugs to suit any space. If you need help selecting the right rug, Lisa can help you decide which rug is best for your space or provide you with a limited range of rugs to make the selection easier. It doesn't need to be overwhelming but choosing the right rug for your room can be very tricky. As some of you know..... shopping with your designer can be fun and very gratifying.
5.Resist the urge to choose ‘themed’ decor For example, the coastal look is a very popular request especially for clients on the Mid North Coast. You know the hallmarks: pine lining, a blue and white colour palette and some ship paintings. But this has been done so many times, it lacks individuality. In this room a coastal vibe was achieved through a palette, artwork and materials that give the effect without drawing on the obvious clichés.
6.Create a focal point There are leading roles and supporting cast members in any production. The same is true in design. Choose your star and make it the focal point to anchor a room. Allow other items to take a secondary role. Knowing where primary focal points and secondary focal points are and how to treat them is key.
Also allow fore negative space (or empty space) to offer the eye some relief in the room. Don’t ask everything to have a leading role, it will just result in visual noise or in some cases clutter. Your focal point might be a dramatic range hood in the kitchen, a mantle and artwork in the living room or a bedhead in the bedroom. Whatever it is, choose something that will draw attention. In this room the fireplace and the lighting work together as a collective focal point, bringing your eye right to the centre of the composition and anchoring it there.
7.Consider sight lines Your focal point should be free and clear from one room to the next so that it feels like you’re being drawn between them. That’s why the best spot for a focal point is usually directly across from the entrance to the room. Here a seating arrangement around artwork draws the viewer into the room because the sight line is clear.
8.Edit your display and decorative objects Don’t hang on to a piece that just doesn’t fit. I don’t care if your great-aunt Sally gave it to you. If it’s not working for you, then find a new home for it (maybe in a different room). The unifying theme here is the use of timber and other natural elements with white.
In design, know when to stop. Too many knick-knacks can easily look cluttered and overwhelming.
9.Vary the scale What looks good in a store may look like an elephant in the room when you bring it home, or could be too tiny to be of any significance. So always be aware of scale and proportion. If you have a large space, you will need larger items to make any impact on the space. A combination of larger and smaller items in one display always produces a great result for tables and consoles - overlapping objects is fine.
10.Add layers of lighting
Professionals build layers of lighting to create interest, intrigue and variety. In a room where everything is lit evenly, nothing stands out. Pick a focal point and perhaps a secondary focal point and highlight those. Add general ambient lighting and some lower lighting, such as table lamps, for interest. This method also gives you better control over the lighting depending on the time of day, what you are doing and the mood you're trying to create in the space.
11.Be bold Personality is what makes a space great. Make your own statement and have fun. The more you try, the more you will begin to see what works and what doesn’t. Abandon trends, expected pieces and pre-conceived ideas of how a space should look and common interpretations if you want a room that will create a ‘wow’ effect.
12.Be Creative Having some guidelines gives people a good starting point for furnishing their home, even if some of them aren’t practical for a particular space. A good designer will not furnish your home like a magazine, she will look at your lifestyle and adapt the design to get the best result which is practical for your lifestyle. When choosing decor for yourself, go with something personal that makes you smile and, above all, is comfortable and practical.