We all want our homes to be a sanctuary, a place to relax and entertain. More and more, we’re staying in to watch films, socialise and spend time together as a family, so it’s a place that serves many functions, as well as being a space for us to show our creative flair through interior design. However, many of you will know that when it comes to it, designing your home and getting it right is a huge undertaking. Here are 10 tips for making sure the end results are as beautiful as you imagined.
1. Don’t forget the details
Once you’ve secured the structure of your home, the next layer is the details, like the plastering, lights, switches, doors, handles and skirting. These little details, might seem boring, but will be the difference between a poor or high quality finish.
2. Assess your lighting needs
Lighting needs to work for the activities you do in each room and set the right mood. For example, in a home office, you might need bright light to work in, whereas bedrooms might require low lighting that’s flattering and relaxing. Ask yourself what you use each room for and the different moods you want to create. Consider using LED bulbs where possible. They last a long time and are energy efficient, which will save money on your electricity bills.
3. What to do with period features
With so many of us living in older properties in the UK, we’re often gifted with beautiful Edwardian fireplaces, brass doorknobs, stained glass or oak floorboards. Sadly, many features have been ripped out over the years, but with their current popularity, it’s best to keep hold of the features you have and make the most of them. Putting them back in is an expensive option, so if you find yourself in a property void of period features, you could instead choose to go ultra-modern or look at the many companies who do great period-style pieces like the London Door Company.
4. Don’t compromise on function and comfort
It’s easy to get caught up by a beautiful piece of furniture that you later find does not suit your needs. Consider how you use your home and each room. Do you always have a lot of guests to stay? Consider getting a comfortable and stylish, Multiyork sofa bed. Multifunctional furniture is becoming more popular and some great designs are available. Think of what you need first and then research to find if something suitable exists. The likelihood is that it does!
5. Less is more
Even if you’re not a full-blown minimalist, de-cluttering regularly will make your home more beautiful and stylish, which is particularly important if you are trying to sell your home. One trick is to take photos of all your rooms. When you look back at pictures, it’s easier to spot the areas that are letting the design down.
6. Be careful choosing artwork and adding colour
When someone asks what you’re favourite colour is, you may have a ready answer, but that doesn’t mean that colour will work all over your house. As with lighting design, consider what you use the room for, what moods you’re trying to create, colours of furniture you already own and the type of natural light you get. Abstract art can really work when trying to create a certain mood in the home too. For example, a moody Rothko could work in a bedroom and a bright Matisse could bring energy and movement to a room like the kitchen.
7. Get your window dressings right
Window dressings really make a room look complete, but be practical too. Need to keep the heat in? Choose thermal curtains. Need pitch black for sleep or using a projector? Choose blackout blinds. If your room is overlooked, consider voiles or blinds, but remember that dusting blinds can be time-consuming!
8. Know when to indulge
What’s most important to you in the home? Whether luxury to you is a fully, kitted-out kitchen, a spa-like bathroom or a huge, comfy sofa, your home deserves a splash of luxury. Knowing when to splurge is key to getting a stylish and luxurious feel to your home.
9. Consider future owners or your own changes in taste
It’s unlikely that you’ll stay in your current house forever, so having one eye on the value or appeal of your home to a wider audience in future is important. For example, you may never use your bath, but prospective house buyers, particularly families, might. If you are going to stay put, remember that your own tastes will change. Putting in something heavy-duty like a stone fireplace might be great now, but consider how much work it would take to alter later if it goes out of fashion.
10. Know your style
Finding your own design rules and style is crucial for you to make decisions about how to edit the design of your home. William Morris’ quote, ‘Have nothing in your house which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’ seems like a great rule to live by. Use a site like Pinterest to find images of interiors that appeal to you and keywords to search that will help you find things you like, such as minimalist, mid-century modern, country cottage, etc.
Finally, it’s important not to worry. Designing your home is a fun way to make use of and cultivate your creativity. Interior designer, Michelle Elzay says, ‘There are no rules’, so get stuck in. If you do find things that aren’t working, you can always undo them!
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post