Today we have our second fab guest blog from our interior design friends at The Living House.
Every now and then it’s nice to share some insider knowledge and we thought what better way to start the New Year than to share our 10 secret interior design tips with you. We know many of you are making changes to your homes so these might come in handy. Let’s get started!
1. Don’t be afraid to mix pattern
We often hear customers say they are unsure how to use pattern and it can be daunting to introduce them into their homes. This often leads to people avoiding pattern altogether and thinking plain is best and ‘safe’. But being brave with pattern can really elevate your space from ordinary to extraordinary.
We see patterns mixing in nature, from the grain of wood in trees to flowers and grasses. And as with the laws of nature, there are a couple of principles that we should follow when it comes to mixing patterns.
The first thing is to play around with the size or scale of the patterns you will be using. If you introduce a large scale patterned wallpaper on the walls, like a large floral design, we would recommend you choose a smaller scale pattern on a couple of cushions. A narrow stripe with the large floral would work well, or a smaller geometric pattern. The trick here is to keep the colours you use the same but vary the scale of the pattern, to tie everything together.
In this child’s bedroom, the patterns on the cushions and tent compliment the main pattern from the statement wallpaper by using similar colours.
The second principle is to make sure you add some elements of solid colour to the room as well, like a grey blanket or a white bed. This will help to ground the scheme and allow your eye to rest whilst scanning the room.
Follow these two tips and you’ll feel confident using pattern in your home.
2. Always get samples
This is a simple one, but one that many people forget or feel is delaying the process. Samples are smaller pieces of a product that you are hoping to use in your home. Many paint, wallpaper, flooring and fabric companies will send these swatches out to your home for free.
Samples really help you visualise all the elements of your room together before you commit to spending lots of money. As we select more items online now, it is important to note that colour on a screen can be very different to what you actually end up with. It’s always best to check the colour in your home, against your other items.
Once you have collected some samples from a number of different places, gather them together. You will quickly see that some naturally compliment each other meaning you can discount others. If you have wallpaper or paint make sure you put them on the wall and live with them for a few days. Notice how they appear at different times of the day as natural light and artificial light will affect the way they look.
Another good tip is to use a bit of card to sample your paint instead of painting it directly on to your walls. This way you can move it around easily and you’re not left with a million tiny squares all over your walls!
3. Make your own moodboards to identify your style
A moodboard is a collection of images, samples and things that you love for your home. It can be digital using something like Pinterest to store your collection of images, or it can be a physical, using samples you can touch and feel. It’s main purpose is to help you work out your style on paper before you commit to your decorating plans. Often it’s hard to know what your interior style is, or if you even have one. Rest assured that you do! It’s just a matter of pinning it down, and helping you express your ideas better. Moodboards act as that visual tool, to help you see the common thread that runs through your images, to give you confidence to move forward with your plans.
4. How to select the correct paint colours to match your wallpaper
We’ve all been there – you finally find the perfect wallpaper after searching for ages and then you realise you don’t know what paint colour to put with it. Don’t panic!!
A common mistake we see as interior designers is the instinct to go straight for the tin of white paint that you might have left over or feel comfortable with. White is probably the most tricky colour to get right as it can very easily look cold or not actually do anything positive for the wallpaper. Your starting point should be with the wallpaper that you have selected. Look at the wallpaper and all the colours that are in it. If it’s a patterned paper a simple answer could be to pull a colour from it and paint the remaining walls that colour. The colour you pick out will give the room a different overall look. If you pick a darker colour the room will look cosier, more moody and will create drama whereas if you pick a lighter colour it will look fresher and more contemporary.
If the wallpaper is a single neutral colour or a textured paper then either go a few shades darker or lighter than the wallpaper colour – or go for a completely different complementary colour.
Whichever direction you decide to go you could create interest by taking your paint colour a few shades darker on the woodwork or experiment with the ceiling colour.
5. Choosing which wall to wallpaper
This can be a tricky one and is largely dependent on your home and it’s own unique features. However there are a few things to consider.
We are seeing a trend away from having a ‘feature wall’. It’s been around a while and is becoming a little tired and predictable. If you have a smaller room we would definitely recommend wallpapering all the walls, especially if it’s a small room like a spare bedroom.
But if wallpapering the entire room is too big a step for you, a feature wall can still work. The first thing is to identify which wall should be your feature wall. ‘But how do I know which wall to feature?’ I hear you ask!
When you walk into the room, which wall draws your attention? This could be due to the natural light in the room, or your layout or a key piece of furniture you would like to highlight. Try not to make your feature wall the same as your television wall as this can be very distracting to the eye.
Most importantly have fun with it! Wallpaper is great at adding interest to a space!
6. How to add a luxurious feel to a room with a shimmer wallpaper
Wallpaper with a gentle shimmer is a great way to achieve a luxurious finish in one easy step! Have you ever wanted to breathe a little luxury into your space? A wallpaper like I Love Wallpaper’s London Trellis in Pewter does so much of the work for you. The background of the paper has a beautiful metallic finish and the glass beads of the trellis design make it contemporary with a sparkle. Papers like these reflect light around the room and work well with a mix of metal finishes. We love the soft pewter colourway, and in our moodboards below we show you how to style it in 2 different ways.
7. Go bold in your downstairs loo!
The downstairs bathroom is the perfect place for you to go bold with wallpaper and here’s why.
Downstairs bathrooms do not have the same functionality as other rooms of the house so they don’t need to be especially light or feel spacious. As we don’t spend a lot of time in this room you can be bold and experimental and have a statement pattern. The impact of the bold wallpaper isn’t something you’ll get bored of too quickly. And you can afford to increase the scale of the pattern; a big print can help a space appear bigger as there is a three dimensional aspect to it.
And let’s not forget downstairs loos are the perfect place to surprise and impress visitors (when we can have them in our homes again!!). It’s a space you can really show off and as it’s seen by most of your visitors, it’s worth spending a little time on it to make your downstairs loo a talking point!
8. Lighting – choose the correct lighting for your colour scheme
One of the most important tips we can give you is to make sure the lighting of your home is thoroughly thought out. It has such a big impact on everything else you put in your home. The worst thing would be to spend a lot of time and money choosing beautiful furniture, paint and wallpaper without considering how lighting can make or break the space.
One common mistake we see when people have a grey colour scheme is to use white LED bulbs in their lights. They create a very cold and stark look which feels unwelcoming. We would recommend the use of a warmer bulb to help soften the whole look. This is an easy and inexpensive way to change the look of a room very quickly. Let us know if you try it!
9. Go with the darkness of a room
Our homes are three dimensional objects and because of this most of us will have a room that does not get as much light and can seem dark. We tend to reach straight for a white paint to brighten the space and are left disappointed when we don’t get the results we wanted. This is because we assume the little light that you do get in the space is the same as the warm light we get in our south facing rooms. WRONG. This light is cooler, can appear darker and as such we have to be clever with the colours we put in these rooms. If you want to keep the room neutral, then make sure the white is made up of warm undertones such as red and yellow and steer away from whites with cool grey or blue undertones.
However our advice is also this… sometimes it is nice to make the most of the situation. If the room is naturally dark, why not go with it? Have you considered wallpapering it in a dark colour? As a rule the wallpaper colour should have warm undertones and be highly pigmented. This will give you a cosy, dramatic room and give the room a new lease of life.
10. Don’t rush big decisions
We live in a fast world. We can order pretty much anything and get it delivered the very next day and that’s great. But it is not so great for interior design decisions.
Our final tip is to not rush the process of designing your home. You want it to be right. This is a really exciting time, and you’ve made a brave decision to start something but it needs to be right. Whether you’re about to move into your new home or are decorating your spare bedroom, take your time and research what it is you like and what you need the space to do for you. Interior designers like us, spend a lot of time researching and getting the design just right for our customers’ needs. If you are taking this on yourself, it’s important you know what you want, and probably most importantly what you need. So take your time, do some research and then shop with confidence.
We hope you enjoyed this insight into some of our favourite interior design tips! As always, The Living House are here to help if you need some advice or simply do not have the time to do it all by yourself. And you might be surprised at how affordable our design packages are – starting at only £85. Check out our website www.thelivinghouse.co.uk for more information, and we hope to chat to you soon!