Neutral doesn’t mean magnolia
Neutrals are the ultimate colour palette builder and allow you so much flexibility when it comes to accessorising, but they shouldn’t be consigned to being just flat beige and creams. Heritage paint specialists Farrow & Ball and Little Green are known for their stunning neutral selection, ranging from the softest pinks and greens to cooler greys and blues.
Light it up right
An overhead fixture light is not your friend. The aim should be to create golden, layered lighting from multiple sources. A good rule of thumb is that you need at least three separate light sources in any room (and that ceiling light doesn’t count). Vary the heights and strengths of your lighting to make even your cheapie basics look expertly expensive.
Scale your Interior Elements
When you enter into a room, it should be like a city scape…a combination of different heights. You never want everything in a room to be a the same level or the same size. Accomplish this with different heights/sizes in your furnishings, art placement and window treatments. Scales is the hardest thing to achieve – if the elements are too small, it can make a room look cluttered, and equally, elements that are too big can make a room feel really small. The secret to proper scale is a mixture of different shapes, heights and sizes. If there is only one thing that you hire an interior designer for, it is help with proportion and scale.
Keep the Floor Constant
If you can, keep the flooring of the hallway, living room, dining room and kitchen the same. This makes an amazing difference to how big the space feels. Not only does it link up your rooms, but it also creates a sense of unity in the design. When the doors are thrown open, it will make your home feel far more cohesive.
Don’t Buy the Entire Room in a Day
Skipping the planning phase of design and succumbing to impulse buys can spell disaster for any scheme. It’s better to have a complete concept developed before buying something you think you love on a whim only to realize later that it doesn’t coordinate or, in the worst case scenario, even fit in the room. The same goes for choosing your paint colours – painting before deciding on furniture and fabrics is a big no-no. It’s much easier to match paint to fabric than vice versa!
Hang Some Art
Whether it is an heirloom family oil painting or a cherished finger painting by your four year old, hanging art is one of the things that makes a house feel like a home, and it will seriously up your interior design prowess! If you’re a bit nervous about hammering straight into the wall, create templates on paper of the frames you have and try some different variations by taping it to the wall.
As with the rule of scale, you can group large frames of the same sizes in threes, fours or sixes. If you have only small frames, it is crucial that they are grouped and hung so the centre of the composition is roughly at eye level.
Don’t be Afraid of Colour and Pattern
There we are shouting about the importance of neutrals, then we go on about colour! Colour used well can take a room from basic to breathtaking, as can the use of pattern.
Even if you can be a wallflower, your furniture needn’t be – sofas and chairs pushed up against walls don’t make for the best social space. View your furniture as you would use it. A reading chair will need a table next to it for your drink and a lamp, and your wardrobe would benefit from a chair alongside to lay out outfits or balance laundry as you put it away. Thinking practically about the space will always make the room work better for you, and grouping furniture is one of the best ways.
If in Doubt Hire a Professional
There is no shame in needing help to pull a cohesive design together – that’s why there is a whole industry built around interior design. If you do hire a designer, make sure to be as thorough as possible in the briefing stage – it is vital that both people are on the same page.