Want the interiors of your home to look as good as those designed by the experts? Then step a little closer because we’re going to let you in on the secrets of the decorating professionals. Result? You’ll have the knowhow to make every room fantastic.
Get this principle straight and you’ll be off to a flying start: a scheme that looks fabulous, but doesn’t feel comfortable both literally and in its ambience, isn’t a success. In other words, do dress up your bed with cushions, but don’t put so many on there that going to bed feels like a chore; do use textures that please you for a living room scheme (and avoid those that are on-trend but don’t appeal to you personally); and do use the objects and photos that show your history around your home rather than fashionable choices that mean nothing.
Pay attention to lighting
Designers always consider how the room’s lit, and the atmosphere that lighting will create – so follow their lead. Opt for multiple sources and think about the ambient light – which does the job of daylight when it’s not there – task lighting – which means there’s good illumination for reading/working/prepping food and so on depending which room we’re talking and accent lighting – which will show off different areas and features of the room.
Pic: California Shutters
Add black to every room
Why would you want black in each room? Well, because it gives a scheme definition and acts as a contrast to other colours – or just to white if you’re going for the classic pairing. It can be used in big doses, perhaps for a painted wall or piece of furniture, but a touch on picture frames, for example, is just fine. Somewhere in between as in this wallpaper? Perfect, too.
Hang wallpaper in unexpected places
Interior designers love to create decorative surprises: those sudden flashes of colour or pattern you wouldn’t predict but are oh-so pleasing. One of the easiest ways to pull this trick off is with wallpaper. Hang it on the back of shelves, on staircase risers, or even to give a dull and functional cloakroom a huge injection of style.
Pull furniture away from walls
Make like an interior designer with a seating layout that avoids the doctor’s waiting room effect. You may not have much space to play with, but just a few centimetres can make all the difference. Thinking of the seating in a group can help: that’s a cosy L-shape around a rug, for example, or a pair of sofas opposite each other for a more formal feel.
Use a colour in different ways
Colours repeated throughout a home make for a cohesive feel, and designers always focus on this big picture as well as the details. However, use a hue in the same place in every room and the effect will be flat. The key, therefore, is to repeat them but employed elsewhere, with what’s on the wall, for example, used for accessories in another room and the walls in a tint you might have in, say, a rug elsewhere.
Think laterally for artwork
A large-scale piece of art makes a dramatic impact, but if your budget doesn’t run to the size you need, this designer’s trick will create the look you’re after. Simply use a piece of patterned fabric or wallpaper as a hanging instead.
Be colour savvy
When deco professionals are using a colour matched to something else in the room for the walls, they bear in mind that it’ll look different over a large area. Take a leaf out of their book by going for a slightly greyer version of the original shade when you’re buying paint.
Pic: California Shutters
Focus on the windows
The view from outside your home towards the inside is something to which designers turn their attention and if we’re talking curtains, they’ll make sure each lining is the same for a consistent appearance. Choose shutters, though, and you can avoid the whole issue because your windows will automatically have a harmonious and chic finish. Hurrah.
Trust your design instinct
Designers know that decorating rules can be broken with great results. But how to have the confidence to ignore deco tradition? Just remember that you know your home and your taste, and let those be your guiding lights.
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