Now that many of us are spending far more time in our homes, perhaps you’ve noticed that your surroundings are not exactly ideal. Maybe your colour schemes were perfect for the new millennium or your room layouts suited the needs of your toddlers, but things have moved on.

Whatever your reason for considering your interiors, whether you are building a new home or revamping your existing one, our guide to interior design will give you some useful tips and inspiration:

Look at the Layout

Before you start bulk-buying cushions and throws, look at the space available to you and how it will be used. This is the most important aspect of your interior design—the “design” part. There is no point in finding the perfect shade of teal for your couch, if you are going to bang your shins off it every time you try to squeeze past the coffee table to sit down.

Even the most transformative décor will not make up for a room that does not work. So, make sure you have planned how each room will function before you invest in paint or new furnishings. Think of who will be using the rooms you are decorating and how they will use those rooms. Make space for active and quiet zones. Consider whether the furniture you would like to add will be comfortable. These are all the kind of things you need to bear in mind before you get started. Pay particular attention to workflow in heavy-traffic areas such as the kitchen.

Be Guided by Your Personality

Once you have considered how your soon-to-be-transformed room(s) should flow, don’t be tempted to pick a style of interior design and stick rigidly to it. By all means, have fun looking at books, websites, magazines, and TV shows for inspiration, but make sure you incorporate your personality.

This is what will turn your house into a home. Incorporate design features that reflect things you love—from beautiful framed photos to ornaments and soft furnishings you may have brought home from holidays or you’ve had since childhood. The ideal interior for you is one that you can live comfortably in—not one that looks like it came straight from the set of an interior design TV show.

Look for Inspiration

Inspiration can come from anywhere, but what matters is what you do with it. If you like elements of various styles, it is perfectly fine to mix them up. Approach your interior makeover as you would your wardrobe: You don’t blindly buy entire outfits and wear them without variation; in the same way, you can take elements of an interior design you like and blend them with your existing style.

You will find some of your best sources of inspiration on websites such as Houzz or Pinterest. Your favourite period dramas or other films and TV shows are other rich grounds for ideas. Keep your phone with you wherever you go, so that you can take photos of anything that appeals to you and incorporate elements of it into your design.

How to Approach Colours

First of all, don’t feel bound by colour rules: If your space is small, but you want to use a strong colour, go ahead and make a statement. That said, remember that bold or dark colours will make a room appear smaller, whereas lighter tones will expand the perceived space.

If you are striving to create a modern style, aim for a neutral palette with bold primary colours and monochrome accents for individual items of furniture and statement cushions and throws. Minimalist styles demand simple colour palettes. Remember, if you want a look that you can tweak as times go by and fashions change, you can always use a neutral palette for wall- and floor-coverings and reserve strong or fashion-forward colours for features you can change more frequently—such as window dressings, cushions, throws, and art work.

Lighting

The right lighting can create a mood, establish zones in a room, and add extra interest. Think of your lighting in layers: Your main lighting will be in the form of a pendant light or spots. Task lighting will be needed for worktops in kitchens or for study areas. Ambient lighting from floor and table lamps adds atmosphere to the space.

Don’t forget about natural light too. If you have paid attention to your layout and workflow, the design should maximise the amount of natural light entering your rooms. The benefits of abundant natural light go far beyond energy and architecture concerns to include enhanced mood, less fatigue, greater productivity, and better eye health. Most important, it helps introduce contact with the outdoors.

5 Quick & Cheap Tips

  1. Don’t forget the power of greenery: Houseplants are the quickest, cheapest, and healthiest way to update your interiors. From big leafy plants to tiny cactuses, indoor greenery will add a touch of style and help purify the air.
  2. Put your cherished items on display: Show off your favourite photos and collectibles on a prominent shelf. Frame beloved pictures or keepsakes and hang them together.
  3. Play with frames: Using frames of the same colour but different styles can be very effective. Cluster differing styles of frames or hang a row of identical frames at precise spaces; whichever suits your style and space.
  4. Upcycle: Give old or unloved furniture a new lease of life by stripping old layers of varnish or paint and refinishing. Reviving old pieces can be remarkably satisfying and cost-effective.
  5. Pull the rug: You can make an instant difference to your room by changing the rugs. This is less expensive than investing in an entirely new carpet or sanding your floors, and it can transform the space. A rug can be a cosy place for your feet to land first thing in the morning or a statement piece in your living room. If it is for the living room, buy the biggest you can afford and try to make sure the front legs of your sofa and coffee table are on it.

Need advice on how to transform your interiors? Contact us for expert advice on any aspect of your new build or refurbishment.