Everyone wants their home to be warm and inviting and it’s our job as interior designers to make sure your house creates just that. Our team at Blakely Interiors wants you to be confident in your interior design decisions so in this Blog I will let you in on my Top 9 interior design tips to help make your house feel like a home, at minimal effort and cost.
Stephen Blakely, Creative Director at Blakely Interiors.
1. Colour is key
The first and foremost tip would be to control your colour choice when decorating as this will in large part dictate whether or not you feel ‘at home’.
Begin by choosing a colour band, defined as different shades of the same colour, from very light to black. This will help guide you when decorating your home by creating a flow from room to room. Our interior design team can help you here.
Using the same colour throughout the house will create a cohesive and appealing look, especially if you have an open floor plan or if rooms interconnect. The challenge is to identify each space with a subtly different feeling and still create a harmonised masterpiece.
The same colour band should preferably be used everywhere. You can however change colour from room to room, as long as it’s in the same colour band – there’s a great variety to choose from.
If grey is the colour you want to guide your design, then discover the colour band relating to your chosen shade of grey. Each will be different. In the case of grey, we’d suggest that each room contain one unifying grey element and a variable colour within the colour band.
For example, you can install grey backsplashes and barstools in your kitchen, an elegant grey area rug in your dining room, a grey leather sofa in your living room, and then paint your entryway walls grey. Each of these rooms can then contain some splashes of lighter shades.
Another way to create continuity is to paint all of the trims of the house in the same colour. Consider one shade that complements the colour of your walls and apply it to all skirtings and mouldings so that your eye will flow smoothly from one area to the other.
Colour also has a great impact on the overall mood and how spacious the room looks so avoid using dark shades in small or high trafficked rooms.
2. “Under the foot”
What you choose to put underfoot is another significant aspect of your interior design scheme. This leads me to tip number 2 – flooring.
Textured flooring such as adding a carpet or rug to a space instantly transforms a house into a home. It anchors a space together, warming it up and adding interest at the same time. It is something that instantly makes a room feel more lived-in.
How many of you prefer to walk on carpet rather than wooden or laminate flooring? I would believe more than 80 per cent of would prefer it, even with underfloor heating factored in.
A tip is to remember that area rugs belong under the furniture – all the furniture if you can manage it. Exposing some flooring around the edges of the room is fine, but when using an area rug you want to make sure it’s big enough for all the furniture in a seating arrangement. At the very least you want the front legs of large pieces to sit on the rug (the backs can be on the floor if necessary).
3. It’s all down to texture
My third interior design tip for you is to complete your interior design schemes with a touch of texture. Texture describes how an object feels. Interior décor pieces and accessories can be rough, smooth, or anything in between. Typically, rough, coarse textures add weight and pull focus.
Items such as metallics, embossed wallpapers, wood, glass or marble are a few items that can help create texture in your home.
This makes rooms feel warm and inviting and lend themselves well to both traditional and modern design schemes. In contrast, smooth textures make a room feel cooler as they also reflect more light, which adds a modern feel.
Of course, whilst a room full of smooth textures can look modern, a lack of texture can often leave a living space feeling flat, dull and lifeless. This problem is easily solved by adding a few subtly textured pieces.
For example, think of a sleek, modern living space with bright colours and smooth surfaces. By incorporating a few chunky fabrics like scatter cushions or throws over your couch, you’ll invigorate the room with warmth and depth plus make it ultra comfy.
If you want to add texture to your home but unsure where to start – come and speak to our team at Blakely Interiors.
4. Display your interests too
Putting your own stamp in your interiors plays a crucial part in crafting your home.
I like my clients to display their interests whether it’s through art, sculptural objects or family pictures. This helps create that home feeling every house aspires to.
But there are some basic rules, for instance don’t hang a tiny photo over the back of your sofa. Use either a large piece that is approximately two thirds the length of the sofa, or use a grouping of pieces. If you’re absolutely determined to use a piece of art and it’s too small, mount it in a larger frame. For every problem there is a solution!
Artwork is too often written off as being elitist, expensive and frivolous. But from the earliest days, people have decorated their homes with all sorts of things that meant something to them. From found objects in nature (like collections of shells and pinecones) and family weavings to photographs, sculptures and paintings, art can be anything and everything you want it to be. And, most of all, it adds an element to your home that makes it feel unique to you, your interests and what you find beautiful.
I personally find fairly empty walls to be soothing, but I find that artwork of any type (so long as it’s special to you) adds additional meaning to the architecture around you and highlights objects in a special way. If you’re looking to make your rooms come to life, make a short list of the things that you love and want to see every day.
Your list could include a collection of books you’d like to display in a creative way, a family portrait, a branch you found in your yard or a doorstop you grew up with that becomes a table-top sculpture – or anything else that makes you smile when you look at it. Give these items a special spot in your home (on a table, on a bookshelf, attached to the wall or housed in a display case or shadowbox) and they will take on a whole new meaning that gives people an instant sense of what you find beautiful when they visit your home.
5. Dress those windows!
Window dressing is by far the most important aspect to me when completing interiors. Whether it is a dummy blind, automatic sheers or curtains, they all complete your interior design scheme. The overall look and feel of a space will be dictated by the light that’s cast into the space and how the windows are framed.
I have found that architects and self-builders alike are eager to substitute brick and mortar with glass at any opportunity. Dazzling skylights, glass-blocked interior walls and dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows are a few ways glass continues to be used in homes in 2017.
This modern approach to a building enhances the space and natural light and gives the wow factor which I love. However, if windows are left bare they can leave the space feeling cold, lifeless and lacking in privacy.
So where to begin? Your choice of window dressing will truly depend on your budget and personal requirements. The shade of colour is always chosen from your colour band which helps the colour and mood to flow from room to room.
When choosing textiles don’t be afraid to pair your florals with stripes or checks to add more character to your space and always pair prints and patterns with a plain weave or texture to complement the flow.
Our interior design team can help you nail this! We have an extensive library of fabrics for you at Blakely Interiors. With our manufacturing facilities in house too, you will not be limited to options in design.
6. Let there be light
Lighting is a huge element when completing any interior design project, which leads us on to our interior design tip number 6.
Always use a mix of overhead lighting, floor lamps and table lamps. A floor lamp looks great at the end of a sofa or behind an accent chair. Table lamps look lovely on side tables, shelves, and even mantels. Lighting needs to be placed at different levels in order to be properly balanced, so use it liberally throughout your room.
You could have the best interior decoration in the world but unless you have made provisions to light it; it could disappear into oblivion.
If you have discovered your lighting needs reviewed, don’t panic, there are a number of options available to illuminate the room without having to change fittings. But make sure to speak with an interior designer for expert advice before you invest in any expensive ideas.
Everyone loves flowers and plants – right?
This leads me to tip number 7 in our journey of transforming your house into a home.
Always add plants to your living space. In fact add them to every room, small or large, few or many. If you want to start small, you can begin by growing some herbs in pots on your kitchen bench.
Plants are an inexpensive means to accessorising your space and adding colour and calmness. Not only are plants beautiful but many can clean household air and balance humidity. They can absorb pollutants and remove harmful gases from the air. They’re also known as mood-enhancers.
No home should be without these wonderful greens!
8. Furniture Arrangement
My next tip is number 8 – plotting your furniture.
This can be a daunting task. When you’re faced with an empty room knowing how to fill it can seem overwhelming. But all you need to do is follow a few common-sense rules and you’ll find that arranging your furniture isn’t so scary after all.
When it comes to arranging furniture it’s best to plan. Either use an online floor planner or old-fashioned graph paper to sketch out your desired floor plan or leave it up to your interior designer, your go-to expert. It’s the only sure way to know whether things will fit the way you want.
- Choose a Focal Point
Never underestimate the power of a focal point. Sometimes they appear naturally as windows or built-in mantels, while other times you create them yourself, as with media units and tvs. Whatever your focal point is, make a decision and stick with it. You’ll want to arrange furniture around it as much as possible.
- Create Conversation Areas
People should naturally be able to talk to each other without having to crane their necks or shout across the room. You want the sofas and chairs to face each other, not necessarily straight on, but close so you can have a natural conversation with the person seated across from you without having to raise your voice.
If the room is too large, create multiple conversation areas.
- Don’t Push Furniture Against the Walls
The size of the room will dictate how far you can pull your furniture away from the walls, but even in a small space you’ll want to give pieces a little breathing room by allowing a few inches between the backs of furniture pieces and the walls. Despite popular belief, this little bit of space can make rooms feel bigger. Of course if you have a larger space feel free to arrange furniture in such a way that conversation areas are created in the middle of the room, leaving several feet between the walls and the furniture.
- Find Balance When Arranging Furniture
Balance is always important in decorating, and when it comes to arranging furniture and determining where to put items in your living room you’ll want to consider both size and placement of the various pieces.
Don’t group all the large or small pieces in one area, or to one side of the room. This will make the space feel uneven. Also make sure there’s variety in the shapes. If you’ve got straight-lined seating, consider a round coffee table – or vice versa.
- Consider Traffic Flow
One of the most important things to consider when arranging furniture in any room is circulation space. People should not be tripping over furniture, or each other, to pass through the room. Make sure there are a couple feet (give or take a few inches) between the coffee table and sofa, and between chairs. Create a clear path so people can walk from one end of the room to the other without difficulty.
9. It’s all about you
To conclude – it’s all about what you like when it comes to your home interiors. You may be inspired by your friends, family and fashionable trends and colours but you MUST consider your own style, needs and home characteristics when designing your interiors, before following through with any funky ideas. We don’t want you to be carried away by current trends that may only be a short-term fix.
If you have any further questions on how you can “create your home” please get in touch with our team at Blakely Interiors.
firstname.lastname@example.org 02840622666 www.blakelyinteriors.co.uk