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15th December, 2015

The 22 best kept interior design secrets

The 22 best kept interior design secrets

The offer has been accepted, the paperwork settled, and the keys have finally been exchanged. It takes time and patience to find a dream home, so it’s easy to forget that the interior design will be just as important as the number of bedrooms and location once the move has happened.

To help minimise any mistakes and allow your budget to have a big impact, we have spoken to interior designers from around the world. They have shared their secrets and given insight into the hottest trends of the season. Read on to find interior inspiration…

1) Get seasonal

Judith Todd from Homestyle 4 U says: “One thing I like to do is change colours and fabrics to reflect the seasons. In summer duck egg blue is a favourite of mine, but in the Autumn I change over to colours such as oranges, purples and berry and go for wool and faux fur fabrics. It’s much cosier!”

Jane Yates
Jane Yates, Sweet Lime Design

2) Create a sanctuary

“One of the important things to consider when designing a scheme is how a room feels. These days we lead very busy lives juggling work, family and our social lives. Increasingly, our home is the place we come back to at the end of a hard day and we want it to feel calming and comfortable – a sanctuary almost. Create this feeling through be the whole house or in a single room such as a living room, a snug, bathroom or bedroom. The feeling comes from the choice of colours, the use of different textures and the addition of accessories including cushions and throws,” says Judith.

3) Consider changing your walls

Susan White from Iggi has an idea to give your sleeping area a hotel feel. “Upholstered Walls give a sleek modern look when used in bedrooms and give a stylish boutique hotel feel. You could create this look at home using a bed with a high, upholstered headboard. There are also ones available which extend behind the bedside tables, helping to give the appearance that the wall is covered.”

RTetouched by Davon Wagner

4) Plan ahead

For those who like to regularly update the look of rooms, Susan has some ideas to make changes simple and cost effective. “Use neutral tones on big-ticket items of furniture and add highlights of colour through soft furnishings, pictures and accessories. These can be changed easily when you feel like updating the room.”

5) Make an on-trend statement

“The trend of using metallics in the home is ongoing – and it’s one that I can’t get enough of,” Cathryn Bishop of Cornish Interiors explains.

“If you’re looking to make a statement then introducing a stunning metallic wallpaper will certainly help to set your room alight. Adding a textured wallpaper, or contrasting hard and shiny metallic accessories with a soft textured fabric is a great way to create a sense of elegance and to add another layer of interest to the space.”

Jane Yates 2
Jane Yates, Sweet Lime Design

6) Subtle can be effective

If you’re not prepared to dedicate an entire wall to the metallic trend, Cathryn has some further tips. “If transforming your entire home into a metallic wonderland is not feasible, all is not lost. Accessories are a great way to achieve the metallic glow; think picture frames, mirrors, clocks, lamps and old upcycled furniture but be sure to mix them with different, softer textures to balance them out.”

7) Plan around what you need to keep

Cate Burren from Angel + Blume Interior Design advises her clients to plan their storage carefully. “Work out what you want to store, where is the best place to store it and only then consider what type of storage would suit you best,” she says. “For example, if you have a small kitchen and feel that you don’t have enough storage, it is worth looking at what items you use very regularly which do need to be close to hand and which items you only use occasionally which could maybe be stored elsewhere.”

Picture 344
Cate Burren, Angel + Blume Design

8) Colours

Jane says: “Think of colours in two categories: warm or cool. Warm colours can include reds, pinks, oranges and warm yellows. Cooler colours are different shades of blues and greens. Warm colours create an intimate, cosy effect and cool ones are good for a spacious and elegant feel.”

9) Warm or cool?

Jane Yates, Design Director at Sweet Lime Interior Design has a very methodical way to choose between warm and cool colours in rooms. “Think about the aspect of the room. Which way does it face; north or south?” Jane asks. “Choose warm colours in a north facing room and cooler colours in south facing rooms. This is not a hard and fast rule when it comes to south facing rooms as warm colours can also be used to great effect in these rooms too, but it’s a good general rule.”

Judith Todd, Homestaging 4 U

10) In the middle

If the room is neither north or south facing, then Jane has some ideas as well. “Greens and blues work beautifully with morning sunlight in east facing rooms, and deep, mellow colours such as terracotta and aubergine look lovely with afternoon and evening light in westerly rooms. Applying these simple guidelines will go a long way to helping you choose colours with confidence,” she explains.

11) Always on trend

Eleri Lloyd, Head of Design at Landmass, has noticed that her clients usually want the same things, regardless of what is on trend at the moment. “Ask people what they want from a house and the words ‘airy’ and ‘light-filled’ will inevitably crop up. But this isn’t easy to achieve in the UK, where space is tight and houses often closely packed. Yet there are ways to bring light to even the dimmest of properties. Often it just takes a little imagination. For us, light and space planning is often considered more valuable than any new trend.”

Landmass London

12) Put yourself first

“Think about how you want to use your home,” Cate suggests. “It is important to recognise that everyone uses their home slightly differently. Some people much prefer a separate dining room that may be used every day or may be for high days and holidays, and others like a combined kitchen and dining area. There is no right or wrong, but by recognising what you want from your home, you will get a better result from your design and you may create some additional space to work with.”

13) Follow a trend: windows

Eleri has taken note of some of the current trends within the interior design world. “The industrial look is here to stay with Crittall windows making an impact in many of our current projects,” she says. “They invite light into space that would otherwise be dingy and make for wonderful features. While they are costly, mixing this modern industrial style within a period building creates a stunning contemporary theme.”

14) Follow a trend: open plan

“Study any of our floor plans and you’ll see that they tend to be very open, with large, relaxed living areas and spacious master suites,” Eleri explains. “The more open plan you can leave the living spaces, the better, Our designs are often called Nordic as we try and keep minimalist style but not overly clinical. Using architectural details like shadow gaps and recessed skirting are lovely touches that we consider.”

Landmass London
Landmass London

15) Follow a trend: exposed brick

Exposed brick have gained huge popularity in the interior design world. Eleri says: “They bring an industrial yet homely feel to a space. We designed a converted warehouse which incorporated exquisite brickwork throughout the open plan kitchen/living room.”

16) Look up

It’s easy to forget about the impact the ceiling has on the look and feel of a room. Susan recommends coffered ceilings within open plan spaces. “They help to segment areas, and the addition of pendant lights or subtle LED strips can highlight these areas creating the feeling of a separate ‘room’ within a space.”

Roebuck House - R Recep - Gdn

17) Functionality

As important as design is, think about the functionality of a room as well. Rooms should be beautiful as well as lived in. “Ambient light is important for setting a mood, but don’t forget that you will also need direct light for reading,” says Elle, marketing and sales director at Elle Interiors Marbella.

18) Lonely corners

Even with the best design, it’s easy to end up with parts of a room that look a little bare. If this is the case, Elle suggests adding some life. “Nothing softens a lonely corner, especially in a big room like many I have designed in Marbella, like a huge potted plant. It gives a room some life, fills a gap, and adds natural colour.”

Elle Interiors Marbella
Elle Interiors Marbella

19) Revoutionise your bedside table

“Forget bedside lamps as autumn and winter are all about utilising pendant lights either side of the bed. This also frees up the nightstands for flower displays or other accessories,” Susan suggests.

20) Glass

Using glass can make a property look much larger, as well as giving a room a light and airy feel. Eleri likes to include it whenever possible in her designs. “In general, the higher the ceilings, the fewer the rooms and the more glass you can introduce, the better it is when it comes to creating light,” he said. “In a rectangular Belgravia mews house that was enclosed on three sides, we designed an atrium with a retractable glass roof on the top. A bespoke copper and limestone waterfall that went down three stories made for an extraordinary light-filled home.

Landmass London

21) Reflect your personality

Style can mean different things for different people. “For me, a stylish home is one that reflects the owner’s personality so rather than thinking about what is current in the interiors market, I always start by understanding what style a home owner likes and we build on that,” Cate explains. “I think it is important to have things in your home that you love and mean something to you, so try to forget trends, what your friends have and what is in the media and start by thinking about what interiors you really like.”

22) Professional assistance

Eleri Lloyd, Head of Design at Landmass has some advice for those who don’t want to do their designs alone. “Working with an experienced project team is invaluable. Our complete approach covers every aspect of a refurbishment from the initial design concept through to the delivery of an exceptional home. An experienced team ensures your project is managed correctly and the client is protected contractually throughout.”

To find properties perfect for putting your own stamp on, visit www.fineandcountry.com

Thank you to the following designers for helping us with this blog:

Landmass London

Sweet Lime Interior Design

Bloom to Blume

Cornish Interiors

Elle Marbella

Homestyle 4 U

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