When you look at a beautifully decorated interior, it’s so easy to think that it was just thrown together without much thought or effort. Some people just have ‘style’ right? Not necessarily. Planning your space well and paying attention to detail, can take your ho hum room to an interior knock out.
Here are ten tips I live by, to create a beautiful space:
1. Plan Your Space
It’s tempting to pull the decorating elements of your home together over time without much consideration for style, colours, material or layout but I’ve never seen this unplanned decorating approach work well. Not to say that interiors can’t evolve over time – I think the best interiors are ever evolving! They just need a great concept to evolve from.
From the exterior choices, right the way through to the bathroom splash back and doorhandles – style consistency is the key, for a knock out interior. So how do you decide on ‘your’ style?
So to get you on the right track, before you buy a single item for your space – sit down and work out what you’re trying to achieve. Look at your inspiration images and try to identify what makes you love that particular style, then look for clues in the colours to create your own colour palette. Are you gravitating towards images of modern interiors? Boho? Coastal? Industrial? Country?
Once you’ve settled on a style, work out which materials suit that particular aesthetic. For example, natural materials like rattan and timber really suit coastal and boho styles, while metal looks fantastic paired with timber and concrete for an industrial vibe.
Floor plan and layout is another critical planning consideration. Think about how your space is used. For example, your lounge room is a place to relax, watch TV and sometimes entertain but may also be used as a thorough fare between different areas of your home. Make sure your layout accommodates and enhances the way you use the room for a well designed, practical and free flowing room.
2. Lighting is King
Light has a huge impact on the feeling of a space and how you perceive everything within the room, so it’s a very important consideration in the design process. If your room is lacking light, consider putting in a window or sky light to bring in the sunshine. If your budget doesn’t extend that far, consider using mirrors to promote light (I’ll talk more about that later).
Task lighting can create atmosphere, so always consider how your space will be used and let it guide you in your lighting placement and selection. A lamp placed by the sofa for reading, some pendant lights above the kitchen bench to light up dinner prep, or a big pendant light over the dining table to create atmosphere, will all contribute to the practical use and feeling of your space.
3. Start With A Hero
Choosing a hero or feature piece is such a great way to start the decoration of your space. If you start by selecting something you love which makes a big statement in the room, it will be much easier to select the next furniture and decor pieces for the space.
Make sure your piece works in with the style and colour palette you’ve selected for your room. Or, if it feels easier – let your hero piece guide your colour palette and style for the space. For example, if a huge vintage poster is the hero of your space, perhaps you should consider retro or eclectic styling. Where possible, position your hero piece somewhere immediately visible when you enter the room to maximise impact.
4. Zone and Layer Your Space
Floor rugs are an amazing styling tool to create zones in bigger spaces and to add a feeling of comfort and style even in small spaces. BE GENEROUS with your floor rug. An undersized floor rug will make everything else in the room seem disjointed. A generously sized floor rug will deliver a luxurious vibe that contributes to a sense of flow and seamlessness. At least two legs of each piece of furniture in the zone should sit ON the rug. Also make sure that your floor rug extends past each side of the sofa/side table/arm chair by at least 20cms for a well balanced, layered look.
Also consider other ways to add layers and interest like grouping a selection of items together on a shelf, or installing sheers and arranging a selection of cushions on the sofa. Layers help to add interest and beautify your space, helping to achieve a ‘well finished’ look.
5. Think About Scale and Proportion
To start with consider your furniture items in relation to each other. For example it can be reasonably easy to buy a side table without considering the height of your other furniture and then get it home only to find it’s taller than the arm of the sofa. We’ve all been there before!
Low profile furniture can make your wall height seem higher so be sure to use it in rooms with low ceilings.
When arranging decor or creating vignettes, group items in uneven numbers (three is usually a great amount) and heights – a variance like this in size and shapes has been found to be more interesting and appealing to the eye. However as a general rule, don’t repeat this grouping style more than once, as sticking to the same ratio and proportion over and over again can become boring. Contrast in vignette formation adds to the interest of a space, so mix it up.
Scale and proportion are particularly important for Artwork. Make sure you choose big artwork for a large wall otherwise your piece will look lost and your space will feel disjointed. This sounds like a simple tip but one that people over look time and time again. And while we’re on the topic of artwork, always hang your piece at eye level and if you’re creating a gallery wall, start with your hero piece in the centre at eye height. This allows you to appreciate your artwork properly and contributes to a sense of peace and flow.
6. Use Plant Life & Consider Your Surrounds
Plant life and greenery or flowers can make a huge difference to a space, making a room feel lived in and inviting. Plants also add texture, creating interest, improve air quality and can introduce movement to a space – instantly giving your room a retreat style vibe.
Consider where you live and reflect the surrounding landscape in your interior to create a peaceful flow from outside to in. For example, a relaxed coastal interior style would be a beautiful option for a seaside location but perhaps not as preferable for an inland farm, where you might opt for Contemporary Country. If you love a style that doesn’t reflect your surroundings, you can always add a twist – Contemporary Country with a hint of seaside styling as an example, would still be beautiful in a rural location.
7. Mirrors Are Magic
Let’s face it – we don’t all have huge rooms with ample natural light, which is where mirrors can come in handy. A huge mirror can create a sense of space and reflect something beautiful, so consider using one in a small room or somewhere it will reflect something worth looking at like a garden or pool.
Mirrors are also an amazing styling option to bring more natural light into a space. They reflect light, so if you position your mirror so it’s facing a natural light source like a window, you will increase the amount of light in that area and we all know that natural light is interior gold. Wow I used the word ‘light’ a lot in that sentence!
8. Don’t Forget About Materials and Textures
It’s easy to focus on colour and layout in interiors but material and texture are two important considerations that people often overlook. Choosing three or four materials and then repeating them with different fixture, furniture and decor items throughout your space can create a professional free flowing finish. The same can be done with textures, some woven rattan on an armchair, would be beautifully complimented by some woven rattan pendant lights as an example.
Paying close attention to materials and textures can have a huge impact on the style and professional finish of your room. For instance, woven rattan furniture adds interest for the eye while creating a relaxed, coastal aesthetic; shaggy or woven cushions can add texture in neutral tones to promote comfort and tie in with an on-trend boho theme; and metal legged furniture can create a cool, contemporary industrial feeling.
Using the same material and or texture over and over can create a feeling of over or underwhelm, so while it’s important to repeat from time to time, always remember to also vary your selection.
9. Quality Over Quantity
For a timeless interior, always choose quality furniture and decor items over quick fix styling options. Quality furniture is usually better designed and always well made, helping your interior to feel ‘well designed’ too. These pieces may be an investment but they will last longer and are more likely to enhance your lifestyle, saving you reworks and money in the future. You can also access trade pricing if you select your pieces through Minted Interiors, so check out our Furniture Selection Service and email me for more info if you’re ready for an update.
As a layout side note – furniture does not always need to be pushed up against walls. In fact placing furniture a meter or two away from the wall can create a sense of flow and make the space feel cosier and more inviting. It also frees up the wall behind for styling opportunities with perhaps shelving, a bookcase or if you have a window, some beautiful sheers.
10. Edit Edit Edit
Finally, make sure you are always editing your space. It’s so easy to buy things for the sake of ‘finishing’ a room, which can actually end up making your room feel cluttered or unfinished. Never include decor in your home that you don’t actually love. This sounds like a no brainer but it’s very easy to overlook pieces that no longer mean something to you, or contribute to the space in a positive way.
If you’re at home now, look around you – I bet it’s easy to find at least one thing you no longer love or never did. A much loved room is a room full of things that have meaning, memories and items you connect with, so get started with your declutter today by losing the things that frustrate you.