CREATING A BEAUTIFUL HOME TO ENJOY IS ONE OF
LIFE'S GREATEST PLEASURES
We all have a vision of how we want to live, but how often do we look at how we actually live? From what we do habitually, to what makes us happy or even what might create tension: does your fantasy match up with your reality?
Whenever I work with clients, I strive to understand the psychology behind the many layers of their desires and needs. It is my firm belief that you can never feel truly comfortable in a living space unless you have found the core of what makes you feel good.
What makes us feel good is, of course, different for everyone, and can also vary depending on what we like compared to what we actually need. And, when taking into account space and budget considerations, working towards this feeling of contentment is an ongoing process that becomes part of the journey we take together.
With over a decade of experience, this is a journey I have taken with clients many times. I have found that people often think that interior design is mostly about how a room looks. But, beyond this, a home of any size should take needs – and desires – into consideration. Your ideal home should represent who you are.
We work closely with clients to guide them through the design process, from the two-dimensional concepts to the three-dimensional reality. Below, we’ll take a look at the key elements of residential interior design, and how we approach them:
Managing the Budget
Consider how you interact with your home on a day-to-day basis: from where you eat breakfast, to which side of the bed you sleep on, to where you get dressed. Every ritual has its own pattern – and in order to create a living space that works for you, you need a design that aligns with your routines.
Writing your wish list should be your first step. It’s always better to start with the big picture and work your way backwards; people are often surprised at what can be achieved by makes a few simple structural changes to make your daily life a little bit more seamless.
Having considered what you need from your home, the next step is finding ways to make your space fulfil these functions. This is the mark of a successful interior design project – it’s more than just the decorative accents.
A lot of houses also have awkward spaces – dark corners, difficult proportions, or odd shapes. One way of dealing with these spaces is to draw attention to areas with more light, harmony or symmetry, making these awkward spaces less conspicuous.
Below we outline some common issues, and how we might go about solving them:
EXAMPLE OF PROBLEMS TO TACKLE
1. Irregularly shaped living room
2. Smaller zone in living room lacks natural light and privacy
3. The long corridor lacks natural light
Problem 1: Irregularly shaped living room
Function was compromised for form, with fixtures and fittings that didn’t maximise the space
A custom-made sofa fits the shape of the room
extendable TV mount means the viewer can watch and be comfortable at any angle.
Problem 2: Smaller zone in living room lacks natural light and privacy
Lack of natural light, with a small window facing the neighbouring block.
Window, beaming and air conditioning unit combine for an odd outlook.
A more peaceful zone is created with a custom-made cabinet with in-built lighting.
A reflective material has been used for the panelling to reflect the natural light opposite,
Sliding door hides the unsightly window and adds extra storage while creating a sense of privacy.
The air conditioning unit is relocated above the cabinet and in the middle of the space to create better circulation.
Problem 3: The long corridor lacks natural light
The long corridor does not carry natural light, and walls and doors make the space feel claustrophobic.
After: Removing the wall separating the corridor from the kitchen and replacing this with a sliding glass partition instantly opens up the space visually while adding extra physical space, with the mirrored grey hanging cabinet reflecting natural light.
There’s much more to interior design than just letting your creativity run free. Good design takes into account the layering of and interplay between different elements in a particular space. To achieve these aims, your design should pay consideration to the following elements:
Once you have an understanding of what you want from each room, you can start bringing your creative ideas to life. A mood board is a great place to start – by laying out all your ideas on a page, you can see what goes together and what doesn’t.
Creating a mood board takes ideas from your head and creates a physical space for you to explore and consider them. It should be a ‘live’ document that you keep coming back to, within which you can move and change things as you gain a clearer understanding of what you want. Its tangible nature also helps communicate your ideas with more clarity, and, for a family home, can give you something to discuss mutual likes and dislikes. Remember, it’s better to make mistakes here rather than in your end result.
Most rooms will have some level of multifunctionality. As such, you need to be aware of the zones within a room – what they’re used for, who uses them, and when. The zones define the layout of a room, and affect where you should position everything from the furniture to the power outlets. Regardless of how many functions a room fulfils, the key is creating a space that looks seamless and unified while creating distinct zones, usually divided according to function. An easy and elegant way this can be achieved is through a change of flooring, ceiling, or materials.
At its most basic form, a room is a three-dimensional cuboid made up of six surfaces: a floor, a ceiling, and four walls. As empty shells, these surfaces are all canvases that can be explored both vertically and horizontally, as in a grid structure. This grid forms the bone structure of your room, and acts as a firm foundation that should inform every element you bring into the room. If everything is chosen and placed with the grid in mind, no element will look wrong.
SYMMETRY AND BALANCE
The human brain craves symmetry – it creates order among chaos, and imbues a space with a natural sense of calm. Even in asymmetrical spaces, a sense of symmetry is still important, if a little more difficult to achieve. To explore this key design element, incorporate the grid concept to a space, and work within the vertical and horizontal planes to instil a sense of order.
SCALE & PROPORTION
A sense of scale and proportion are can transform the mood of a room while enhancing its architecture. Consider the size of the items you choose to put into a room to ensure scale and proportion.
COLOR & TEXTURE
Colour and texture are perhaps the most primal of the design elements. These elements are key for a space demanding attention while manipulating how someone feels within it.
Objects and fixtures with contrasting textures and colours can create impact while enhancing the other’s characteristics. Contrast is key to bringing a sense of balance to any room.
Well-planned storage can add an extra aesthetic element to your overall design, while allowing you to keep your space free of clutter. Without adequate and appropriate storage solutions, a room can descend into disorganised chaos. But there’s more to storage design than what many people first image – in fact, the process begins at the very start of your design journey.
WHERE TO BEGIN WITH STORAGE DESIGN
When thinking about storage design, we need to go back to the function of a space – what you need from the design based on how you plan on using that space. Storage should be built into this conversation.
To begin, it often helps to write a list of each activity you foresee taking place in a particular room, and what items you might need on hand to facilitate these functions. Where will you keep your sheet music and the children’s art supplies, for example? How about your beautiful china pattern or your treasured book collection? How do you want to organise and access items that enable you to make use of the room seamlessly? What do you want to have on display? These considerations are key when thinking about storage design.
FUNCTION AND FORM
Whether you choose in-built or freestanding storage, any design should fit in with your overall scheme. This can be a delicate balance – an item that is purely functional can compromise your entire look. On the other hand, storage that prioritises form over function might turn into a source of common frustration. Begin by identifying the functional needs of your storage design, before incorporating materials, colours and textures that build on your scheme.
Cabinetry is not just about storage, but about display and concealment as well. A custom-made piece can incorporate elements such as bookcases or floating display shelves, and can also help to conceal unsightly yet essential fixtures such as air conditioning units.
LIGHTING AND STORAGE
Consider a lighting scheme that complements your storage. Not only will this help you locate things, but, when done well, can also adds an atmospheric layer to a room. If your storage contains display elements, adding accent lighting can highlight some of your showpieces.
Good lighting reflects mood, while acknowledging that your mood is subject to changing throughout the day. Each activity also brings its own function and mood especially in rooms that are multipurpose. It is therefore essential to understand types of lighting and what they can achieve before setting out on realising your design scheme.
Shape your lighting scheme in the initial stages of your design plan. Rewiring and moving power points can be a messy and disruptive business, so if this does need to happen, it’s easier to do it before you decorate a room. Remember that successful lighting is all about layers, and should enhance the way you live in a comfortable and relaxed way.
In general, lighting should provide enough illumination in a space to create an appropriate backdrop for actually making use of the space. Wall and floor washing are now seen as more attractive methods than the central pendants that can be found in many older homes.
Task lighting focuses on areas where additional illumination is required for certain functions, such as reading, cooking, or even applying make-up.
Mood lighting is all about ambience – making a room feel inviting and comfortable. Remember to match the lighting to the tone you want to set in a particular space.
Spot lighting can be used to showcase and draw attention to special features, such as artwork.
MANAGING THE BUDGET
So, you’ve got your ideas down and you’re ready to start seeing them come to life – but how much is it all going to cost?
Changing your mind after you’ve already started is an expense that can be easily avoided, so remain focused and make decisions after careful consideration.
Study your list of needs against your budget – it’s important that you are honest with yourself throughout the process. It’s okay to have to compromise at some stages, as there are always alternative solutions that can be found if your budget starts to become an issue.
The most important part, yet the easiest part people usually don’t take it seriously
The process of interior design is not only about being creative – and passionate about making your home beautiful – it is also about being superorganized. You have to understand every aspect of the project, from how to read floor plans and elevations to how to run a team and make a budget stretch.
Organization is the key. Renovating a home is a huge undertaking that involves many people. It is essential to know how to project-manage well, because creating a home also means running budgets, managing building teams, materials, and implementing schedules.
Retain control of the design down to the tiniest details.
Managing the project is the most important part of the process, but one that is all too easily forgotten about.
Interior design is not only about being creative and passionate about making your home beautiful – it’s also about being organised. From knowing how to read floor plans and elevations to knowing how to manage a team and work within a budget, project management is the most important part of the process, yet it’s the one that’s most easily overlooked.
Organisation is key. As renovating a home is a huge undertaking that can involve many different people, good project management skills are essential. Creating a home involves not just focus on the details, but also ensuring that the operation is running on time and within budget.
Remember that every detail, even the smallest, makes a difference in the end. Take the bathroom, for example. It might be obvious that the plumbing needs to go in before any sanitary wares are installed. However, you will need the sanitary ware on site so that the tilers can make templates on the flooring before cutting tiles to fit. In fact, while the sanitary wares might be among the first items chosen thanks to its impact on the rest of the design, it is always among the last things to be installed.
" Home is not a place, but a feeling.
How you want to feel can be reflected
in every aspect of your home"
Any questions about what we do, or how we can work together to bring your dream home to life? We’d love to hear from you. GIVE US A CALL NOW !