Tricks of the trade


The beauty of interior design is that there are no hard and fast rules.  The key to design success lies in your own instinct, personal creative flair and imagination first and foremost.  But there are a few designer hacks which are useful to know and donít require years at Design College to master.  


Starting from scratch

If you have a blank canvas and are stuck for colour inspiration, look to what is around you for guidance.  That special picture, or cherished vase, perhaps an old cushion might just have the right colour scheme you were looking to use.  This can then be the starting point on which  to build your colour scheme around.   The bold picture behind this sofa provides perfect colour inspiration.


Avoid being a trend follower 

Unlike a designer handbag, a complete room scheme can be expensive and a hassle to change if the fashion does.  Instead try to individualise a theme or just introduce some key features, ones which can be easily changed when the trend does.  This room above incorporates some key elements from the New England design trend but set against a neutral backdrop, making it easy to adjust when the trend changes.


Give your furniture space

Trying to pack in too much furniture hinders the natural flow of energy around the room and will also restrict manoeuvrability.  Spend your budget on fewer more expensive pieces instead of trying to overfill with too many flea market finds.  Allowing for space and room to move around a room enables you to showcase the real beauty and appeal of the furniture you have chosen.   The beauty and elegance of the high back chairs can be seen in all its glory as they are not overcrowded by the other furniture.


Layout design

If you are lucky enough to have a large room, the trick designers use is to bring the furniture in from the walls.  Lay a rug in the centre of the room with the furniture either placed entirely on it,  or around it with the front legs on the rug.  This arrangement ties the room together visually and creates a well-defined space while promoting a feeling of openness.  The furniture placed on the rug in the room above has created a designated seating area in a corner of a larger room.


Know how to hang artwork

The rule for hanging artwork is that it should be centred at eye level, which on average is 150 cm from the floor.  When hanging a picture, measure so that the centre of picture is hanging roughly 150cm up.  This is a general guide used by galleries and museums to draw the eye to the picture.  So even if you have a high ceiling, as in the room above,  the rule should still apply.  


Choose your star player

Think of your room as a theatre production.  Every play has leading roles and supporting acts.  The same is true in interior design.  If you have too many leading roles the room will seem overdone with each player vying for attention.  Choose your focal point, that stand out piece that will tie the room together and give it the wow factor.  It can be a chair, a mirror or a table, but it must be dramatic and draw attention when you enter.  The starburst mirror above gives this room just the wow factor it needs without overpowering the rest of the scheme.


Clear the clutter

Are you a junk hoarder, or a lover of collectibles.  Keeping too much clutter is something we all suffer from at times.  The state of your home reflects your inner self.  Messy and chaotic surroundings can result in apathy and confusion, not great qualities.  So de-clutter and streamline your surroundings with a select few quality pieces to regain your inner calm.   The stylish shelves in this modern home office are a perfect way to store office essentials.


Light up your life

Lighting is the most important aspect of interior design.  The wrong lighting will cast a dark shadow over the room, making colours appear dull and flat.  A trick professional designers use is to have layers of lighting to create focal points, adding variety and interest.   Add general ambient lighting and some lower lighting as displayed in the picture above, with table lamps or wall lights for a dramatic result.


Be adventurous

Little quirky and bold touches can transform a room from mediocre to having the wow factor.  Make the space your own and entirely unique by incorporating unexpected elements of drama.  Sometimes it is these little touches which take a room from the ordinary to the extraordinary.  The blue circle shaped chair is a bold statement in an ordinary room, and elevates the design scheme to a different level.