5 INTERIOR DESIGN SECRETS TO ENHANCE YOUR SPACE
We all deserve to live in a beautiful, functional space. A space that reflects us – our lifestyle, interests and passions. Our home should be our haven and a little pocket of the world that is true to our individual aesthetic. The big question is – how do you achieve that ‘wow factor’?
A gorgeous dining room with glamorous emerald green accents, set against a largely monochrome palette. Pure perfection! Image source: Bogdan Bulgakov
Now, this would be the obvious place to mention hiring an interior designer. A seasoned professional, dedicated to helping you achieve all of the above. To elevate your vision. Someone working towards your goals and objectives with an excellent eye, extensive industry contacts and exciting, original ideas that will set pulses racing. But, more on why hiring an interior designer is worthwhile in a future post. This post is all about unlocking design industry secrets to enable you to make a difference yourself. Ideal for the budget conscious or if you just enjoy the process and want to make a difference.
INTERIOR DESIGN SECRETS – THE NEED TO KNOW
A gorgeous living space, designed by interiors guru, Kelly Hoppen
As an interior designer, I often get asked by clients, friends and family about how can they get the most out of their existing spaces. If I have any must-have, fail-safe interior design secrets or top-tips. What can be done to improve the overall look and feel in their homes? They have the ‘fundamentals’ in place – they think – but the rooms don’t feel quite ‘done’.
Essentially, I often get asked – ‘How can the interior be improved, or how can my space look better – in some quick, simple steps’?
Now, obviously this is an extremely open-ended question and one that every interior designer will answer slightly differently. Creativity is, after all, pretty subjective and every designer works in their own way and follows their individual style. However, for me, there are a few ‘design hacks’ – some top, industry secrets – that everybody should consider when redecorating or just ‘sprucing up’ their space. I thought I would share these very secrets with you and would love to hear your thoughts:
INTERIOR DESIGN SECRET #1 – RAISE THE CEILING (LOWER THE FLOOR)
Oh, to have a double/triple height space to work with on every project. Ceilings of the Buckingham Palace/Savoy ballroom variety, where even the most oversized chandelier would hang elegantly overhead. A space a little like this –
The White Drawing Room at Buckingham palace is beyond awe-inspiring. Those ceilings are so intricate and HIGH. This is the dream space to work with! (Image source: http://uk.businessinsider.com)
In reality, most of us live in homes with lower ceilings than this (sob, sob), which automatically leaves a space feeling smaller, more restrictive. And yet, so many people still paint their coving or cornicing white, along with the ceiling – something that automatically lowers the room. I often advise clients with a standard ceiling height (around 240cm) to paint out their coving the same colour as the walls. This tricks the eye into thinking that the ceiling starts higher, thus exaggerating the feeling of space within the room. To take it one step further, you could also think about painting the skirting the same colour as the walls too – this avoids the colour being broken up, thus creating a longer line and feeling of verticality. And hey presto, you have height!
Paint out skirting and coving (if applicable) in the same colour as the walls to ‘elevate’ the space. Image source: framework.eu.
You can exaggerate the feeling of height with vertical stripes, floor to ceiling curtains (hang them just under the ceiling, or – better still – inset the rail within the ceiling) and items such a tall mirrors. Essentially, anything that encourages the eye to look up.
Tall, vertical panelling and mirrors really help to extend the feeling of height in a space. This is also true of vertical stripes and installing straight-hanging floor to ceiling curtains, as above. Image source: Unknown, Pinterest
INTERIOR DESIGN SECRET #2 – CREATE A FOCAL POINT
Image Source: Leverone Design
It’s all about creating a stand out feature in your space – something to entice your eye and draw you into a room. Once you have established this, everything else can follow. Often, in period properties (which I adore), this is a fireplace with a statement surround, which you can elevate with a statement mirror. If you are not blessed with a fireplace, clever joinery can help. Build a central unit to house a fireplace or even a decorative niche (recess within the joinery) which you could fill with flowers, oversized church candles or a statement sculpture.
Image source: Sarah Mailer Design
Alternatively, create a focal point with a punchy piece of artwork – this can incorporate colours and/or textures from the space, or use a patterned or textural wall-covering, clever feature lighting or contrasting paintwork to create interest. For a children’s bedroom, you could opt for a graphic mural or wall stickers to add some punch and draw the eye into the space.
This amazing crystal mural wall-covering demonstrates how a focal point can be made of a fairly bland, understated space. Just add decorative trunks alongside a few choice accessories and ‘voila’! Image source: muralswallpaper.com
INTERIOR DESIGN SECRET #3 – BALANCE YOUR SCHEME
I have discussed this in some previous posts, in the context of introducing an accent colour (How Millennial Pink Can Work for Your Home) or metallic element (Rose Gold Accents) to an existing scheme. In truth, balance is everything. Want to introduce blue to your 50 Shades of Grey room? Do it – but ensure you balance its placement. The key to a cohesive space is to harmonise the elements. If you introduce blue patterned cushions, for example, to your dove grey sofa, perhaps consider a blue velvet occasional chair, in the corner of your scheme. Then throw in a coffee table book with a blue cover – and gold foil text, no less – some blue glassware to grace your shelving and ‘voila’. Try to avoid keeping your accent colour in one place – consider how you space it out but also, be careful not to overload the design with your new flavour. Less is always more.
This scheme, designed by luxury brand Boco Do Lobo, combines neutrals with blue accents. I particularly love the detail in the upholstery – the back of that occasional chair is upholstered in the accent colour, for a subtle nod. It will help to add the colour to the room as you look at it from that particular angle.
Note how I balanced yellow accents in the scheme below, which I designed at Sarah Mailer Design. I carefully considered the different vistas that would be seen as you looked around the room. The key is also to avoid going overboard so, for each piece, consider necessity and ask yourself if its inclusion will enhance or impinge on the scheme.
INTERIOR DESIGN SECRET #4 – MIX MATERIALS (TAKE THE ROUGH WITH THE SMOOTH)
It’s very easy to get carried away with a texture or material you like. Until recently this was the case with high gloss in homes. I can see why this happens; if you lack confidence (or time) in design, repetition of a material makes decorating far easier and ‘safer’.
‘I know that this white gloss table will work with my white gloss kitchen and white gloss coffee table too. Oh, go on then – I’ll take the white gloss clock and frames in every size please’.
If you love ‘matchy-matchy’ (but essentially an overtly one-dimensional look) then this formula works. However, if you wish to achieve that ‘interior designed’ look, variation is key. Think about incorporating a number of textures and finishes into your space which helps create depth and interest. This will help you achieve a layered finish, which is something interior designers achieve.
I mixed herringbone knits with flat sequins, appliqued satin, shot-silk and Mongolian fur in this scheme for a fun, frivolous finish. Image source: Sarah Mailer Design
I like to mix highly textural (wood with visible grain, rough weave linens, Mongolian fur cushions, quilted or thick knit throws, nickel cast bark, coral, embossed and relief canvases) with smooth (flat velvets or silks, mirrored glazing, hand blown glassware, cast concrete or marble worktops and tiles…). I cannot stress enough the importance of variation in finish.
You can, indeed, design an entire space in one colour (e.g. white), as long as the textures used offer enough interest and variety. In fact, this is a gorgeous and exciting approach and a method that should not be overlooked. In fact, a one-colour but multi-faceted, multi-textured space can look extremely sophisticated and layered.
All white (and some cheeky neutrals). The textural variety makes it! Image source: Royal Furnish
INTERIOR DESIGN SECRET #5 – PERSONALISE
Interior designers can do most of the hard work for you but it’s what you add over time – how a space evolves organically – that really makes it a home. Personalisation has been a huge, growing trend over the past couple of years and that’s largely because we have reverted back to ‘us’ – to ‘me’. Although our world is getting smaller, with global connections tighter through the power of the web and social media, as everything becomes more generic we are striving to promote our sense of self. Your home is your personal space – an extension of you. What you choose to display within it makes it totally unique and individual.
A photo or art wall can be a great way to personalise your home. Artwork and imagery can help fill empty wall space, tell a story of your past or glimpse into your personal style preferences. Don’t overlook the power of some well-placed art.
Personalising a space doesn’t happen all at once. If it does, then it probably isn’t truly authentic. Once your overarching scheme has been devised and installed, it should continue to evolve as you collect items along the way to inject into it. Gorgeous shells or a bowl from your travels, an accent cushion you happened to come across and had to have, books you discovered and loved, photos of happy times, a bunch of flowers you bought yourself; ‘just because’.
Flowers add instant spark to a space and are a quick and easy way to personalise your interior. (We all have our favourites, after all). If they co-ordinate with the scheme then so much the better! Image source: Sarah Mailer Design
I always advise my clients to keep adding to their schemes whilst striving to maintain the look and feel we’ve achieved. And, much in line with a wardrobe cleanse, when you do buy something new, do reconsider the old. Are you holding on to it for any particular reason? Does it actually add anything or is it just ‘gathering dust’? Don’t mistake ‘personalising’ with clutter and always assess/edit your collection. Take some design risks too – scary as they may be. Often such risks really pay off so be brave!
This gorgeous monochrome mosaic floor at Gucci, Selfridges works in stark contrast to the other, less ‘busy’ flooring around it. It just goes to show, it’s great to take risks and add some personality into a space – it makes it more memorable too
So that’s it for now folks; 5 top interior design secrets spilled. I hope you found my top tips helpful and look forward to hearing about your own projects. If I’ve missed anything key or you have interior design questions plaguing you, please feel free to ask them here or on the social sites. Click links to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest or leave questions/comments below.
Girl signing off,