Top 10 interior design tips as shared by Mercer School of Interior Design student Gabrielle Reinhardt
- Mixing Pattern
Mixing several different patterns in different sizes and colours lifts a room from the safe and mundane into a fabulous and striking space. But mixing pattern such as florals and stripes and geometric and animal prints is not as easy as it looks. The trick is to mix large and small pattern motifs together or to mix different patterns in the same colour. Play around with the fabrics until it looks right!
- Choosing your design style
Some people like to decorate according to a pure design style such as French Country, Scandinavian or Moroccan but others like to mix styles such as combining French Louis arm chairs with a modern linen sofa and a mid-century glass coffee table. Which is better? There is no right or wrong but pure design styles can date while mixed design styles creates a more dynamic and interesting space and are less likely to date.
- Adding texture to a space
Adding texture to a room gives it a warm and welcoming feeling and more depth. Texture can be in the hard finishes such as the walls, floors and fittings or in the furnishings and fabrics. Spaces designed with all hard shiny surfaces often feel cold and unfriendly. Timber, natural linen, leather, wool, rattan, old brick work, stripped timber floors, antique furniture, rustic metal and concrete add texture to a space.
- Planning your room
Before purchasing any furniture, rugs, lighting for your room it is best to draw up a floorplan to scale and measure the furniture and accessories to make sure it works in the space. Look at the whole scheme together before you go shopping. A lot of people buy on a whim and then are disappointed when the furniture doesn’t fit in the space or does not work together.
- Choosing Fabrics
There is a huge range of interior design fabrics on the market in a range of textures, colours and patterns. It is important to understand the different textures and weaves available and which fabrics are suitable for the different uses such as curtains, lampshades, upholstery etc. For example a light weight silk fabric will not be suitable for an armchair and a heavy damask would not be suitable for a lampshade. It is also important to look at the width of the fabric and the pattern repeat. Interior Designers are trained to help you select the right fabric.
The right lighting gives a room mood, feeling and makes you feel comfortable in the space. Task lighting is important in areas like the kitchen and laundry while mood light is important in living areas and bedrooms. LED downlights are perfect for lighting up a space when needed but it is a good idea to add dimmers to the downlights to create mood when required. Pendant lights are beautiful and functional additions to dining rooms and over kitchen benches. Floor lamps and table lamps not only add to the interior design scheme but give a room intimacy and mood. At night all the downlights can be turned off and lamps turned on to create a totally different atmosphere. And don’t forget to add candle light for romance.
- How much to spend
Everyone has a budget when decorating but it is a good idea to carefully consider how much you want to invest in your furniture and interior design scheme. These days there are a lot of affordable and cheap furniture on the market which makes decorating a room easier. But you need to consider the quality of the products, how long you want them to last, and the comfort factor. Generally the more you spend the better the quality, the longer it will last and the more comfortable it will be and the better it will look. In the long run it is actually more economical to invest in quality long lasting furniture than to buy a product that will only last a year or two and have to be replaced. Consider saving up and waiting for the quality sofa you would love to buy for your living area or beautiful linen curtains for your bedrooms instead of purchasing the cheap copy sofa you can afford now or the ready-made curtains that you will want to replace in a years time.
- Ready-made vs custom made cushions
There are some beautiful ready-made cushions on the market and they are often a more affordable option than custom made cushions and a quick fix for immediate decorating solutions. Custom made cushions are a luxury item but can be the piece that makes a room ‘sing’ or pulls a whole interior scheme together. You can choose the fabric of your choice that fits with the interior scheme or is a fabric you particularly love, you can choose to have the cushions finished with piping or fringing or other options and you can choose the size and shape you want. Best of all you can choose the insert which defines the comfort and quality of the cushion. Ready-made cushions will often have cheaper foam inserts while with custom made cushions you can specify a mix of feather and down which makes the cushions feel comfortable and sit beautifully on your sofa or bed.
- How to update your room without spending a lot of money
An easy and less expensive way to update a room without spending a lot of money is to dress a room with scatter cushions, lamps and a throw rug. These items could be purchased online or in an interior design store or for a more unique and personal look could be custom made in beautiful designer fabrics. It is amazing how different and updated a room can look by simply replacing or adding throw cushions, new lamp shades and a throw. You can also choose to recover a favourite piece of furniture in a contemporary fabric for a fresh and updated look.
- Creating a room that is ‘You’
Your home should be a reflection of you, your family, your needs and your taste and interests. Think about what your needs are, how the room is used, the size of your family, how your needs will change. Think about the colours you like, what style you like, what items you want to keep, what items mean something to you, fabrics you like, furniture you love. Is there a piece handed down to you from your grandmother that you love and can’t part with but looks dated? Do you have pieces you have collected on your travels that mean a lot to you? These old or meaningful pieces can be combined into your new interior scheme to make your house a home and a place where you feel comfortable in.