Interior Decoration: Every now and then it’s nice to share some insider knowledge and we thought what better way to start the New Year than to share secret interior design tips with you. The key to creating balanced and appealing spaces lies in paying attention to the subtle nuances of decorating. Some of these tricks are so simple that they seem counter-intuitive.
Play with patterns But Don’t be afraid to mix pattern
You don’t need to stick to one pattern in a room — you can mix two or three prints harmoniously without much effort. Pay attention to the scale of the patterns — smaller, busier prints look best on compact surfaces such as cushions or tertiary elements, such as a floor rug. Bold, large patterns usually work well on focal elements with white space around them.
We see patterns mixing in nature, from the grain of wood in trees to flowers and grasses. And as with the laws of nature, there are a couple of principles that we should follow when it comes to mixing patterns.
The first thing is to play around with the size or scale of the patterns you will be using. If you introduce a large scale patterned wallpaper on the walls, like a large floral design, we would recommend you choose a smaller scale pattern on a couple of cushions.
Always get samples
Samples really help you visualise all the elements of your room together before you commit to spending lots of money. As we select more items online now, it is important to note that colour on a screen can be very different to what you actually end up with. It’s always best to check the colour in your home, against your other items.
Once you have collected some samples from a number of different places, gather them together. You will quickly see that some naturally compliment each other meaning you can discount others. If you have wallpaper or paint make sure you put them on the wall and live with them for a few days.
Style bookshelves right
Learning the art of display makes the difference between practical storage and a beautiful feature. Here’s how to make your bookshelves Instaworthy. Do not overcrowd the space, choose accessories in the same colour and tone and group together in odd numbers. Use books as objects and exhibit them both horizontally and vertically for interest. Aim for two-thirds books, one-third accessories and make sure to include either plants, foliage or flowers too.
The small painting
Sometimes, a single large painting can overwhelm a space. Opt for a collection of smaller paintings, which can be arranged in clusters. If you have paintings that look too small above a sofa, hang them on either side instead of placing them in the centre.
Make your own moodboards to identify your style
A moodboard is a collection of images, samples and things that you love for your home. It can be digital using something like Pinterest to store your collection of images, or it can be a physical, using samples you can touch and feel. It’s main purpose is to help you work out your style on paper before you commit to your decorating plans. Often it’s hard to know what your interior style is, or if you even have one. Rest assured that you do! It’s just a matter of pinning it down, and helping you express your ideas better.
Dress the bed
A bedroom should reflect your personality and as the bed takes up so much physical and visual space it certainly needs attention. So, what better way to make an impact than with versatile bedlinen that can easily be changed whenever the mood takes your fancy. Look for good quality bedlinen in colours and patterns that complement the surroundings and then layer like a pro with propped pillows, a throw blanket and decorative cushions for a hotel-chic vibe.
Layer tonal shades
Using multiple shades of the same colour immediately makes a room look polished and pulled together, and it’s a trick that you can’t get wrong. Layer the same colour or very variations mixing texture and pattern into the mix. Start with a failsafe array of sofa cushions and then move onto larger items and structural parts of a room, for instance, painting a piece of furniture the same colour as the wall behind.
Focus on negative space
Packing too many elements into a room tends to create visual chaos. Empty space helps define focal points across the room. Space out your furniture arrangement to give each piece enough breathing room.
Add a luxurious feel to a room with a shimmer wallpaper
Wallpaper with a gentle shimmer is a great way to achieve a luxurious finish in one easy step! Have you ever wanted to breathe a little luxury into your space? A wallpaper like I Love Wallpaper’s London Trellis in Pewter does so much of the work for you. The background of the paper has a beautiful metallic finish and the glass beads of the trellis design make it contemporary with a sparkle. Papers like these reflect light around the room and work well with a mix of metal finishes. We love the soft pewter colourway, and in our moodboards below we show you how to style it in 2 different ways.
Repeat home accessories
Repeating shapes throughout a scheme is a subtle way to help the human brain read a space as a harmonious whole. Here, for example, a selection of rectangles – in the pictures, sofa and scatter cushions – echo one another, as do the pair of round mirrors, round coffee table and vase. The central ampersand purposefully disrupts the repetition so the scheme doesn’t become too predictable.
Balance your colour scheme
Want a failsafe way to proportion a three-colour scheme? Stick to 60% for your dominant colour, 30% for your secondary colour and 10% for your accent colour and you’ll find it hard to go wrong. To add a fourth colour into the mix, split the secondary colour or, at a push, the dominant colour, but never the accent.
Choose the correct lighting for your colour scheme
One of the most important tips we can give you is to make sure the lighting of your home is thoroughly thought out. It has such a big impact on everything else you put in your home. The worst thing would be to spend a lot of time and money choosing beautiful furniture, paint and wallpaper without considering how lighting can make or break the space.
One common mistake we see when people have a grey colour scheme is to use white LED bulbs in their lights. They create a very cold and stark look which feels unwelcoming. We would recommend the use of a warmer bulb to help soften the whole look. This is an easy and inexpensive way to change the look of a room very quickly. Let us know if you try it!
Use your whole room
Don’t feel you have to line your furniture up along the walls… If you have a big living room, bringing sofas and armchairs into the centre of the space will create a cosy and much more sociable seating space. This works particularly well in open-plan spaces and you can always place a console at the back of your seating so you’re not looking at a big expanse of sofa. If your room is too small for a central sofa, keep it against the wall and arrange a few armchairs at angles (facing towards the sofa) to get the designer look.
Start with a sofa
Trying to design a successful open-plan living space?When you’re working with a blank canvas, it can be difficult to decide where to start. Rather than getting bogged down with accessories in your living room, start with the sofa. Usually the largest piece of furniture in the room, it’s easiest to plan your layout around this key feature. When it comes to positioning, consider the light, thoroughfares and any views you might want to utilise. This also works for other rooms, whether it’s the bed in a bedroom or a dining table in an entertaining area.
Add atmosphere with mood lighting
Mood lighting can instantly create the right atmosphere. Dimmer switches give you the power to use the same bulb as either general lighting or mood lighting, so installing them in every room will instantly boost the versatility of your lighting scheme. If you’re using LED lighting, make sure you choose dimmer switches that are LED-compatible so the bulbs glow brightly enough and don’t flicker. Lamps are ideal for creating a cosy glow at night, and candles, lanterns and wall lights will all help add to your room’s overall ambience. Also, try using LED-strip lights to highlight an alcove or under shelving to highlight your favourite features.
Double-up with two-tone walls
If you live in a new-build, chances are your home may be short on architectural features. Why not try painting some in? You could go for a two-tone wall that changes colour at dado rail height, as shown here, or have a different colour starting at picture rail height and continue onto the ceiling to add height. It’s an affordable way to add interest to your home and very easy to update, too.
Don’t rush big decisions
We live in a fast world. We can order pretty much anything and get it delivered the very next day and that’s great. But it is not so great for interior design decisions.
Our final tip is to not rush the process of designing your home. You want it to be right. This is a really exciting time, and you’ve made a brave decision to start something but it needs to be right. Whether you’re about to move into your new home or are decorating your spare bedroom, take your time and research what it is you like and what you need the space to do for you. Interior designers like us, spend a lot of time researching and getting the design just right for our customers’ needs. If you are taking this on yourself, it’s important you know what you want, and probably most importantly what you need. So take your time, do some research and then shop with confidence.
Balance bathroom lighting
Not many of us would claim to look our best in the morning, but you can give yourself a head start by getting your bathroom lighting right. Never hang a bathroom sconce above the mirror – it will only make you look washed out. Instead, install sconces on either side of the mirror as they’ll light your face evenly and frame you in your most flattering light. Placing downlighters around the sides of the room, rather than the middle, will also help to avoid shadows.
Take the long view
Look at the flow of your home and take into account the room that’s beyond the one you’re painting. The door frame in this picture has been painted in the same pale pink as the wall in the room beyond, tying the two spaces together. It doesn’t have to be a door frame, either – look at highlighting other areas of woodwork, from picture rails and skirting to window frames and bannisters.
We hope these clever interior decor tips will help you create cohesive, happy spaces for you to live in! Do let us know in the comments section.