Use these seven design principals to guide you through the decorating process
Just like an outfit, the right accessories tie everything together when decorating your home.
On sideboards or dressers, small vignettes of vases, knick-knacks and unusual objects can bring in height, colour and texture; art and photographs can fill large expanses of white space. Cushions and throws can add comfort, texture, colour or pattern, while smaller pieces of furniture can float from room to room when needed, providing extra seating and filling strange spaces in living areas (pouffes and small stools are ideal for this). Accessories are where you can play with trends or add and subtract to your heart’s content. If the basic elements of the space are right, the little things can adapt it to suit the changing seasons, functions and moods.
Combine these seven interior designer-approved rules with your own decorating style to create a functional and stylish space you’ll love.
1. Unity and harmony
Does the decorating work with other rooms in the home, particularly those it is connected to? A similar colour palette of three or four colours in slightly different shades is one way to ensure the style flows. Repeating a pattern or material (such as matte black hardware) throughout the home will also achieve this.
Work with the style of the room. If it has high ceilings, ensure you use some taller pieces so it doesn’t look off balance. If you have a lot of low-lying furniture, bring some height to the space with artwork on the wall, an arched reading lamp or floating wall shelves.
Even all-white spaces need a hit of black to make a greater impact. Bring in some natural timber to break up all-painted furniture; use darker hardware or pendant lights if the room is very light and airy. A little contrasting colour or material – such as a natural stone fireplace with a shiny chrome mirror – will stop a space from looking too uniform.
4. Focal point
Each room should have something great to draw the eye to. It could be a view, a piece of furniture or an architectural element such as plaster ceiling roses or a slanted glass roof. If you don’t have a focal point, create one with art, an armchair in a great pattern or a beautiful wallpaper. What draws your eye in your moodboard? Could it be translated into your room’s focal point?
5. Proportion and scale
Ensure there is a good mix between the styles of your furniture and accessories. Mix up boxy, square shapes with softer, rounder elements.
6. Little details
Don’t forget the smaller items such as hardware and architraves. Make them match your style and the house’s style. If they are the wrong colour or finish, they will make the room appear incomplete.
A good room will have layers of texture – this is how comfort and true style are achieved. A mix of materials will do this, but think outside of your couch fabric, carpet and bedlinen – a timber table with metal chairs looks great, but add billowy curtains, a marble vase as a centrepiece and a large linen pendant hanging over the top to create extra layers of interest and texture that bring the space to life.
Photography by: Sarah Rowlands, Helen Bankers, Armelle Habib, Rikke Graff Juel