When it comes to interior design very few of us are experts. We all know what we like though – and thankfully our tastes tend to be very different otherwise it’d be a bit of a dull world interiors-wise.
However, when it comes to designing or planning a room in terms of colours, fabrics, furniture etc there are a few rules to stick to ensure that it doesn’t look as if it’s been designed by a three year old.
Before I go on though do remember the golden rule about letting out a property – it shouldn’t be your taste but rather be ‘tastefully’ decorated. So anyhow, what are those interior design rules? Well, read on…
Some of the main rules centre around the concepts of space, colour and balance:
A room is three dimensional. It has height, floor space and a front, back and middle. The space can be reduced to make the room appear cosy or give the impression of it being bigger than it actually is (usually with a minimalist look). In the case of the latter, if the room is small then it’s a good idea to invest in multi-purpose furniture ie a cubed coffee table which can also be used for storage, a bed with built in drawers underneath the mattress. Another trick to make a room seem larger is to build shelving all the way up to the ceiling. Not only does this draw the eye upwards but it also provides lots of extra storage space.
With the use of colour and light (or lack of) the room can also be responsible for inducing certain moods (having said that, we won’t all react in the same way to our environment – some of us may love a room with bright orange walls and yellow woodwork while for others they’d prefer pale grey and pastels).
Textures too are important. For instance as well as being painted in warming colours such as burnt orange, brown and burgundy, a cosy room would contain rugs, soft cushions, fluffy blankets and lots of table lamps and ambient lighting.
The best way to design a space is to choose a focal point and then work outwards from there in terms of the type of furniture, fabrics, colour etc. At the same time there should be a natural flow from one end of the room to the other ie you should be able to walk through it without any obstacles.
As well as contributing to the size of a room, colours also stir up emotions. We’ve all been in a room that makes us feel calm for instance (usually one that has pale green or blue walls). Red rooms have been proven to increase blood pressure in particularly prone individuals while purple is believed to be a romantic colour.
It’s best to use just one bold colour (or two at most) in a room then accent with the same shade on lamps, cushions, curtains, candles etc. The strong colour should drive the eye towards the focal point of the room.
Another way to bring colour to a room is to introduce a monochromatic theme. This is when the same colour is used throughout but in different shades. This can often make a room seem larger since the eye can roam round the room without being interrupted by a block of colour ie a contrasting colour.
Balance is about creating a sense of equilibrium in your room. Picture frames on walls should be placed alongside each other at the same height or in a step sequence for a stairway for instance. Frames can also be grouped together to look balanced.
There are three main types of balance for a room to choose from – symmetrical, asymmetrical and radial.
Focal points stand out in their own right but they also blend in with the rest of the room or area in terms of colour, style, texture or theme (this is often referred to as ‘visual pattern recognition’ or continuity. It’s what leads to movement in a room ie the room travels from one area to the next, rather than getting stuck on the focal point. Incidentally, focal points don’t just have to be an object, they can also be a boldly painted wall, or one which contains a stunning piece of artwork, even lighting.
There are other forms of balance too that you can use in a room. For instance repetition (where the same texture or pattern, colour etc is replicated throughout the room). Progression is where a collection of, for example, candles or vases altar in height from one side to the other. Contrast is about clashing colours, textures or patterns and is very easy to get wrong!
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I'm Jacquie the Property Go-To Girl. I am passionate about property. I love to help people make the most out of their property investments!