Architects, interior designers, decorators… there is an entire world of professionals out there who make our lives so much easier – and so much prettier. Yes, these experts certainly know their stuff when it comes to materials, patterns, colours and layouts.
But what about those of us who have other, less creative 9 – 5 jobs who want to try and accomplish something in the interior design realm? We, who excel in our relevant professions by day, but secretly wish we could redecorate our homes all on our own – if only we had the right tools and knowledge.
Well, this article is aimed at all of you who would love to try your hand at designing and decorating, or would just like to spruce up a small space here and there (like the patio furniture or your home office, for example), but don’t know where to start.
Let’s take it step by step…
Every artist, whether it is an oil painter or a wallpaper designer, starts from scratch. Before they rush off and start grabbing materials off the shelves left and right, they first plan out their designs on paper. Hint: do the same!
Begin with a small sketch of how you envision your space. Jot down the colours, patterns, shapes, and everything else you want to add. Measure your relevant project area, whether it’s the corner of your living room that needs some spicing up or your entire guest bedroom – measure it!
You are more likely to be successful at your interior design project if you have all the data (that would be the measurements, colour charts, visuals, etc.) first.
Simplicity is a reflection of elegance. One of the secrets of interior design / decorating is the power to convey emotions through simple elements. Most often, the only thing that is needed to emphasise the beauty of a decorative object is a well-positioned light, instead of an entire table surface cluttered with decor.
This is exactly why the minimalist style is so successful – it values every single detail, including open spaces, and focuses on the absence of embellishments.
Just see our example of a simple living room above by Porto Architects. Light colours, the minimum amount of decor, simple lines, soft patterns… yet it all combines in one ultra stylish space.
Remember: less is more.
For a seamless visual flow in a home, a balanced environment is crucial. This includes not just colour, but also elements. Think of the yin and yang: two perfect balances that, although different, complement each other.
See our Gaia Design example above: white and black balance each other perfectly (white and black are safe colours to work with, as they are the most neutral tones in existence). Now, notice the frames against the wall – they are situated slightly towards the right, not really in line with the two chairs in the front. However, to keep this space from “tipping over”, a lamp was added to the left side, filling the void left by the frames.
This is an ideal example of how the placing of elements can create harmonious composition. Take a look at an existing space in your home (such as your dining room) – is there balance? If not, how would you add it?
For decor to truly work, it needs to exude harmony. A harmonious space grabs our attention; it wins our eyes and our hearts. And for this to take effect, the colour palette needs to work.
So, before rushing out to the nearest furniture store, choose your colour palette first. Will it be warms (reds, oranges, yellows, pinks), colds (blues, greens) or neutrals (browns, greys)?
We recommend sticking with two to six colours (depending on your level of experience). Use two main tones to set your environment, and leave the others for the details (decor). And don’t forget to take your colour charts with you when you go shopping to ensure that what you buy is exactly what you want.
A colour is not just a colour. See: How colours influence your bedroom.
Your space should not only be beautiful, it should also be practical. After all, everything in a home is supposed to make our lives easier – that includes the decor. The only function of a scatter cushion, for example, is not just to beautify your couch. It can also be used for extra comfort, such as when you’re lounging with a good book or watching television.
Think of a clever way in which your decor (or furniture) can have a practical function. For example, this modern wall art/sculpture in the bedroom above by Ameneirosrey pulls double duty as a clothes hanger. Practical, unique, modern, and also beautiful. Success!
The best ways to avoid mistakes while you’re learning is to follow an example. And, as you know, homify has some of the best examples of designed spaces, both interior and exterior.
From bathrooms and kitchens to patios and wine cellars, our categories include just about every place in both your real house and your dream home. Choose a style that you admire (Scandinavian, modern, rustic, etc.), and see how that particular style (and the relevant designers / architects) made use of colours, patterns, and elements. And then try and copy that particular trend in your own home.
Good luck, and remember to have fun!