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Top Interior Design Tips

Top tips for giving your home an Interior Designer’s touch.

It might be that you’re simply redecorating a small space, or maybe you’re renovating your entire house; whatever your project, there are some key concepts to consider to give it an Interior Designer’s touch.

Designing your own home can be tricky and sometimes downright overwhelming – I get it. I’ve absolutely been there. My first toe dip in the design ocean was when I designed a huge side return kitchen extension on our Victorian Terrace house at the time. I dove headfirst into a massive project having done very little research and having had even less experience outside of a few Saturday morning trips to B&Q to impulsively choose a paint colour that happened to take my fancy that day. A few very fast (and expensive) lessons were learnt that way…

Luckily for me, the pressure of the large-scale extension gave me the kick in the behind that I needed to get educated and organised. Turned out that I absolutely adored the creative process, and I lapped up every part of it like a sponge. Now I get to support others in simplifying the process and creating spaces they adore.

So, I’ve pulled together 20 of my top Designer tips for you. Whether you’re looking for simple ideas for paint or lighting, how big or where to place furniture, consider this your free consultation!

1. Find your inspiration

Get all of the magazines and live your best life on Pinterest. Tear out those pictures and save those photos like it’s your day job. Once you’ve gathered a healthy selection, analyse those photos and pull out the key elements you see repeated throughout. Then it’s time to Moodboard.

2. Moodboards for the win

Mood boarding is so useful for giving you the visual clarity you need on what is and isn’t working off the bat, without making potentially expensive investments that just don’t then work together.

More and more interior designers are offering E-Design packages these days too which are totally affordable and give you the blueprint for creating a beautiful space.

Check-out the services we have available at LVD on the 'Our Packages' tab.

3. Don’t rush!

Try not to get yourself into a position where you’re having to make rushed choices. You ideally want to take the time to consider all aspects of the room – starting at the foundation, the walls, panelling, any additional lighting and build inwards until you’ve got a vision of the space as a whole.

4. Be considered with colour

Be tactical with colour choices – you absolutely want to carry a few seamless styles and colour threads throughout the home for cohesiveness, but avoid being drawn to a single colour or shade and painting the whole house in it!

5. Try before you buy paint and paper

Don’t forget that colours change depending on lighting – that can be through varying artificial lighting, but also natural lighting at different times of day. Try painting your samples onto A4 (or bigger!) pieces of paper, more than one if you can, and move them around the room to get a feel for how they look at different times of day and against varying artificial lights. Same goes for wallpaper!

6. Be consistent with styles

‘Cohesive’ is a word that I feel I probably (definitely) overuse, but it’s so critical to creating design that flows seamlessly. One element that feeds into a ‘cohesive’ (sorry) design is ensuring your design carries a similar narrative throughout – particularly when mixing patterns.

7. What’s the temperature of the room?

In general - warmer colours conjure excitement whereas cooler colours tend to be more relaxing. Before deciding on the colour for your room – consider the kind of space you’re trying to create and how you want to use it. Inspiration for your colour combinations will follow once you’ve worked out the function of a space.

8. Inject your personality!

Your home should visualise your personality, so don't be afraid to put your own quirky stamp on it. Most interior designers will start by getting to know you, what you like and then help you to display this throughout your home – but no one knows you better than yourself.

9. Find your balance

Good taste comes from having a knack at finding the perfect balance between too utilitarian (think a Desntist’s waiting room) and too cluttered (think Hoarder SOS). For me, a well-designed room has the right balance between being clean cut and rationalised, and having the right amount of accessories without it looking too busy.

10. Add some drama

Not everything HAS to be ‘light and bright’, dramatic use of colours and textures can truly bring a space to life. If you’re scared, have a play in a small room, perhaps an understairs cloakroom, and let yourself be bold and inspired! I have no doubt you’ll be chuffed with the outcome.

Equally, if you go bold in a small space and you hate it, it’s only a quick lick of paint to reverse the damage!

11. Be bold with paint ideas

The days of strict paint rules are gone! It’s time to embrace using paint in a way that works for you. Skirting board, ceilings, door frames don’t only have to be painted a pure brilliant white anymore – the rule book has been thrown out the window so be creative!

12. Don’t be afraid to size up on your furniture

First, it’s obviously key to decide what fundamental furniture you want in your room. Consider scale – in a large room you want to lean towards a big sofa with a large footstall, but don’t be afraid to use an oversized statement piece in smaller rooms too. Something large and statement will create balance alongside your smaller pieces, think a large headboard in a small bedroom for example.

13. Mix it up

Mixing up both materials and textures in your home creates contrast and depth. Think wood against metallics, or linens with hard metals like iron. These options don’t require you spending a fortune necessarily and have real impact.

A personal favourite of mine is antique gold with neutral soft linens and jute or rattan. A match made in heaven!

14. Incorporate antique finishes

Antique brass has a BIG place in the world of interiors, as do many other aged finishes – that’s not a trend that’s going anywhere. These finishes once again don’t have to be expensive (although they can be if you want them to be…!) – get yourself down an antique’s fair near you, or even local charity shops and second-hand furniture stores. You can nab yourself a bargain, and even better, it’ll be one of a kind!

15. Use wallpaper within shelves

Applying wallpaper to the back of shelves is a very classy way of bringing in extra texture and interest to a space in a very subtle way. It’s great for anyone who doesn’t feel quite confident enough to wallpaper a whole room for example!

16. Transform old to new

Starting from a blank canvas is easier of course, but quite often we have no choice but to work with existing furniture like rugs or sofas. Think carefully about the style of these items, and the colours within them – perhaps you can draw on one or two of the key tones in the rug, or reupholster the sofa to give it a new lease of life?

17. Accessories are key

Accessories are so key to making a space feel complete and are a great way of injecting some personality into your room. Try mixing higher end products with lower end - for example a vintage sideboard would contrast more beautifully with a simple woven wicker basket than, for example, an antique ceramic vase.

The great thing about accessories too is that with so many fairly priced options out there these days, you can quite easily switch out and rotate throughout the seasons!

18. Use artwork to create a unique look

Artwork is absolutely a reflection of your personality and is a key opportunity to showcase it! There are so many ways of finding artwork, there of course is the wonderful world wide web, but why not also try local charity shops, antique fairs, small businesses or even contact a local artist and commission a one of a kind!

19. House plants for the win!

House plants are a wonderful way of bringing colour to a space without overwhelming it. According to the most random article I’ve ever read, a study of 2,000 adults found that more than half of them felt more productive and 60% felt happier in general.

60% of the time, they work every time…. IYKYK

20. Don’t be afraid to be you

Interior Design is not all about making your room mirror something out of a glossy magazine – that’s not real life. Allow yourself to inject small but noticeable snippets of your personality, maybe in an upcycled piece of furniture or some artwork for example.

So there you have it, a starter for 10 when it comes to designing a space with some Interior Designer je ne said quoi. For more inspiration, tips, tricks and behind the scenes on my own home renovation, please follow along at @LaneValleyDesigns.

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