Interior design is the art and science of enhancing the interior to create a comfortable and beautiful environment for the people who use the space. An interior designer is someone who plans, researches, organises and manages such improvement projects. Interiors are about how we experience space. It is a powerful and important part of our daily life and affects the way we live, work, play and even heal. A good house, a working place, a beautiful public place – this is a working room.

These are the factors that you must be focused on while interior designing.

  • Space

  • Rhythm

  • Contrast

  • Colour

  • Pattern

  • Lightning

  • Utilities

BEING YOUR OWN INTERIOR DESIGNER

 

DIY doesn’t just stand for ‘do it yourself’; it can also mean ‘design it yourself’. This is where the real fun comes in, giving you the opportunity to really make your mark on a space.


1.     SPACE:

It is very rare to meet someone who feels that their home is the perfect size. Often they will have a long list of gripes about it. There are too few bedrooms; the kitchen isn’t big enough to swing a smallish cat; or the children don’t have the space they need to run around inside when it rains, for example.

And yet, for all these complaints relating to size, in my experience it is the aesthetics of the home that will often tip the balance from ‘house love’ to ‘house hate’. While we can usually accommodate the practically imperfect, we are far harder on those spaces that, just by looking at them, give that overwhelming yet intangible feeling of gloomy depression. The architectural personality of a room has a powerful but often unremarked influence on one’s state of mind. Our eyes might get snagged on the fripperies – the colours, the details, and the furniture – but ultimately if the room feels wrong, we all feel wrong. Yet admitting that a room is fundamentally the wrong shape sounds terminal; without full-scale architectural remodeling surely the is a write-off?

Not so. Just as clever dressing can distract the eye from a long list of bodily imperfections, so interior decoration has some wonderfully clever tricks up its wizard’s sleeve of makeover.

2.     RHYTHM:

When you see pictures of extraordinarily beautiful rooms from the past, one of the key ingredients of their glamour is one of the most difficult things to spot. Unless, that is, you know where to look. Rhythm has a huge influence on interiors but, when it is done properly, it becomes more or less entirely invisible.

We like rhythm – it is good for the soul. Neurological experiments have proved time and again that measured elegant rhythm spreads waves of pleasure through the brain. It is as if we love to know what’s coming next: left, right, left, right, left (and isn’t it wonderful to feel safe in the knowledge that right comes next?). We like the security of understanding past, present, then future; which is why wall, curtain, window, curtain, wall, curtain, window, curtain breeds a sense of comfortable familiarity.

3.     CONTRAST:

Contrast livens up a space, but how do you go about bringing it into your scheme? First, select the element of your room that you would like to make a feature of. Then treat it in the opposite way to its neighbors. So, if you want the eye to be immediately drawn to a centrally placed chimney breast, why not wallpaper it? Or should you want to make a huge fuss of one shiny wall, why not try surrounding it with three matt walls? Colour can also be a very effective way of providing contrast; while a beige suede sofa standing on a beige fitted carpet has little impact, making that sofa a shiny red patent creates contrast and makes for a far more theatrical statement.

 

4.      COLOUR:

If architecture is the intellect of a room, then colour is its emotion. It is also the first thing we notice about any interior. We have all got favourite colours (and indeed least favourite. colours) and none of us can look at a colour without it unleashing all sorts of wonderful prejudices and preconceptions.

All of this makes inheriting somebody else’s colour scheme far more difficult than being left with their interior layout. It also makes the act of choosing colours a little bit like walking through an imaginary minefield with bad taste set to blow up in your face at any moment. So how should you begin? The good news is that colours are less fashionable than they used to be. There was a time when the taste makers’ would decree a particular shade as in’, thereby ensuring any other colour was ‘out’. With the democratisation of taste, there is no-one to say that you cannot have a lilac bedroom or a brown sitting room, should you wish. While trends in colour do still exist (and flicking through this book it occurred to me that I certainly have a favourite palette that crops up a lot), as a professional interior designer I think it’s really important that the lid to the paint box stays open, and that colours I may have dismissed in the past get given a second chance if they suit the room and the client.

 

5.      PATTERN:

 

Until recently, pattern has been seen as something of a naughty pleasure by many. All those serious interior designers who peddled schemes of unhindered minimalism and clean- surfaced restraint viewed the voluptuous delights of pattern with horror.

Like colour, pattern comes with stories and associations that mean it always has a lot to say in a room. Large, full- blown, floral patterns conjure up suggestions of traditional decorating and old-fashioned values. Imperialistic, abstract, organic patterns like damasks can go either way: to some they mean history, royalty and richness; to others they’ll forever be associated with tacky flock wallpaper and over-decorated 1960’s boudoirs. Stripes and plaid, by contrast, carry the gentlemanly whiff of old school tie, preppy rectitude or, failing that, Jane Austen primness.

As with selecting colours, choosing patterns will therefore always be personal and, personally, I like to research a pattern before committing to it. I like to know where it’s from and how it was used so that I can really get under its skin. I find it helps when putting things together for a scheme to understand that a particular pattern has its roots in, say, Persian pattern-making tradition. With this in mind I will then search out further elements from the same origin or with the same design inspiration, which I will then introduce into the space where possible.

6.      LIGHTING:

The relentless advance of technology has meant that something as simple as lighting a room has now become very complicated. As far as I am concerned, lighting in the home is simple if you remember the three golden rules: use lots of it, place it low and illuminate up. Lighting the perimeter of a room is a good place to start; deliberately placing lamps in the corners of a room is a clever way of blurring its edges and increasing the overall sense of space. Likewise, placing lamps on low tables helps send light upwards, intensifying a feeling of glowing enclosure and making the most of the room’s vertical space. Whatever else you do, avoid having just the one strong, centrally placed light source. Though this may work well in a morgue, it’s a disaster in a domestic setting – casting highlights and shadows that will make everything and everyone look unbelievably ugly.

 

  • TYPES OF LIGHTING

 

While it’s true that there are many flavours of light, as long as you can understand the differences between them you will be able to choose the light that is best suited to your space with confidence.

 

ØINCANDESCENT BULBS

ØHALOGEN BULBS

ØENERGY-SAVING BULBS

ØFLUORESCENT BULBS

 

7.      UTILITIES

 

For me there is no sense in denying the existence of twenty-first-century utilities and conveniences. Even in historical interiors (in fact often especially in historical interiors) I like to use technology in unashamedly head-on fashion. Indeed, provided they are properly and elegantly designed, there can often be a real design advantage to be gained from using a sprinkle of contemporary elements within a scheme.

 

  • TELEVISIONS

  • SWITCHES AND SOCKETS

  • RADIATORS