There are people in the world who know how to put a room together without having studied interior design, and it is like they just know what colours go together and how to mix the perfect combination of patterns, textures, furniture, and art.
We need to work harder to understand how interior design works for the rest of us mortals.
Here we offer some basics on interior design to help get you started and maybe tune you into your natural creative instincts too.
Shop around and gather ideas
When we are not designing our rooms and going around buying things on a whim, we find our homes are personal to us but are not a perfect blend of objects.
When looking to shape a room, you need to shop around without buying first and get an idea of the colour schemes that appeal to you, the sort of furniture that will fit into your room cohesively, and the sort of textured details that appeal.
You don’t have to go to the outlets to make these choices. You can sit at home, flick through magazines, and start building a scrapbook of ideas that appeal to you.
You can do the same with catalogues. Skim Better Homes and Gardens or other sites devoted to the perfect homes. Alternatively, the book shows home tours and grabs ideas from professionals.
When doing this, tune into your reactions and emotions and match these to your ideas of what might work. Like all good art, interior design is a strange alchemy of feelings rather than a science of ideas.
Draw out a plan
All professional interior designers will work from a plan. They will have an idea of the dimensions of the room and the way the room needs to work for the inhabitants, and then they will draw out the idea onto paper.
They will likely attach swatches of fabric and offer examples of colour combinations. This is called a maquette and can be a piece of paper, or there are pieces of software that make it look professional.
Moving furniture around as shapes on a piece of paper is much easier than rejigging a whole room and spending money on items you realist don’t work.
Getting the dimensions right
The size of the room will dictate much about the interior design. For instance, a small office can quickly become crowded with a statement desk.
Therefore, there is no point in buying that antique roll desk for the middle of the room and having no storage space.
The sense of the scale of a room also dictates the paints and fabrics you choose. If you want something to look bigger, you want to use white. If you want somewhere to feel cosy and safe, bolder colours are more effective.
Generally, a larger room can accommodate big furniture and lots of patterns. However, the smaller the room, the more you need to reduce the palette.
Learning about colours
The key to success in interior design is knowledge of colour and how they work together. The key to success and mastering this will unlock the rest of the interior design world. While there is a host of research on colour use, any art store stocks a colour wheel that will help you get started.
On this colour wheel, you will see examples of primary and tertiary colours and those considered secondary or complementary colours. The colour wheel offers a guide to balancing these elements for a harmonious effect.
Neutrals are a great place to start with a colour scheme, as they form the foundation from which a room’s scheme can build. An easy starter with colour is to use these neutral colours of white, grey and beige as your primary colour and then use primary colours as accents.
Set a focal point
Interior design, like good art and photography, is about control of the eye of the viewer. You want to guide the viewer through the room in a way that feels coherent.
To do this with mastery is a lifelong lesson in placement, colour, and fabric. However, you need only to think about the focal point that the rest of the room will be built around to get started.
A focal point is that one stunning piece that grabs attention as soon as the person walks through the door. It could be a piece of art or a beautiful rug; it is something that immediately gets a gasp from the visitor because it is what they see first. It is easier to make a window or a fireplace a focal point, using these as the starting point of the design.
Be careful with collections
The biggest mistake made by newbie interior designers is around collections. Collections can bring cohesiveness to an interior design, but they can also create a feeling of chaos and disconnectedness. Think about how a museum handles its collections, gathering them together in themes.
Therefore, if you have a love of black and white photography, keep your collection on one wall in one area of your home. If you have lots and lots of books, have one large bookcase to showcase your collection. Your special possessions form a moment of interest in your home and in a room, rather than being scattered wherever the eye can look.
While there are many rules to interior design, there is also the need to get a feel for what is right. Most of the best practice is intuitive, and we know if a small room is cluttered or a set of colours clash.
So, learning these basics and applying them will offer some success; remember to tune into what you like and what works for you in your home. Then, put your ideas into action.
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