Interior Design Basics That Make All the Difference

white loungeInterior design, much like any form of art, has experienced movements and changes throughout the years. It affects how your home is perceived and how you are perceived, subconsciously or not, by others. While many people are house-proud and have preferences on how their home should look, interior design is about transforming a place into somewhere that encourages the occupants of the room to feel a specific way, maybe even to influence their behavior. Uncomfortable rooms are either badly designed or intended for a brief, passing use only, whereas cozy, inviting spaces are for spending long periods of time. Whether you’re designing your own home from scratch, redecorating or hoping to improve your house before selling it on, careful interior design can have a surprising impact on unexpected aspects of your life and the opinions of potential buyers. Here are a few helpful pieces of information that outline the various basics of interior design. Once you have a grip of these, use them to make your home more appealing to yourself or to stand out on the property market.

One: Windows and Doors

Every home has windows and doors, but that doesn’t mean they have to be bland and invisible at first glance. You can turn anything in your home into a statement; the trick is just deciding which elements to downplay and which to bring to the fore. Windows and doors are important both practically and psychologically as they act as barriers and portals through which we either experience space or shut it out. Small windows or windows with heavy gratings are oppressive but also somehow cozy, reminiscent of old cottages or cabins. Large windows and doors open the space and create a feeling of opportunity and freedom but also a lack of privacy. If you cannot change your actual windows or doors but would still like to pay them some attention, there are various ways of designing around them which can make a vast difference. For example, doors with glass panels allow light from other rooms to be shared and add an almost open-plan effect to any space. Remove the door entirely for increased ease of movement and flow. Windows can be decorated in all kinds of creative ways that play with how you view the outside world from within. Plants on the windowsill are popular as well as elegant drapes or blinds to both shield you from unwanted sunlight and also add style to the room. If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some roman shades ideas that are great for creating a sleek, understated look.

Two: Textures

Depending on the room of the house, you should be considerate about which textures and materials to use. Solid, smooth surfaces are for practical uses such as in the more purposeful rooms like the kitchen and bathroom. Softer textures create more depth and therefore draw a person in to be comfortable and resting. Match the textures to the purpose of the room for a space that feels both practical and stylish. For example, carpet in the kitchen is normally regarded as a bad idea. Decide whether a space is more about comfort or utility and work from there. Do you want a bedroom with hard surfaces that encourage you to get up and be productive or a soft, comfortable space with plenty of opportunities for relaxation and leisure? This is where your lifestyle plays a huge part in the decisions of how you want a room to look. If your kitchen is decorated in raw wood and porous tiles you might be more likely to put off cooking and spend more time eating elsewhere, whereas polished concrete work surfaces and reflective metal cupboards bring to mind a more efficient, proactive kitchen scene for more avid chefs. Of course, if you have your heart set on a particular style, then these considerations become less significant, but be aware that textures have a subliminal effect on how you use a room.

Three: Layout and Movement

Subconsciously or subliminally, a building’s layout can hugely alter how you use the space. Walls divide space for privacy as well as hygiene, security and style reasons. For example, living with a large family in an open plan home doesn’t mean that the bedrooms are visible from the lounge but that the family has space to move without obstruction or delay. An open plan home for a single person or couple, however, may not even require walls to separate the bedroom as the context allows for fewer walls without the compromise of privacy. It all depends on who the home is for and how they will use it. For a more secretive, warm layout, many rooms hidden behind many doors makes a place feel secure. Often, however, it is financially or practically too difficult to drastically change the layout of walls within a building, but the layout of furniture within a room still affects movement and flow. Take a look at Feng Shui for a good basis upon which to guide your furniture arrangements. Regardless of the superstitious elements of the idea, Feng Shui is excellent at explaining the way a room’s layout can speak to your mind. You can even come up with your own set of guidelines that help you decide where to place your furniture. Do you hate being unable to see the door? Always angle chairs and your bed so that your back faces a wall. Do you love the sunlight while you are working? Position your desk or workspace by a window and out of the dark corners.

Four: Future-Proofing

If you are redecorating your own home or have decided to move and need to attract buyers and sell up, it is important to future-proof your home’s interior design against the inevitable yet unpredictable changes to contemporary trends and fashions. Trends are great for giving insight into new design ideas and even new designers whose work might one day become hugely influential, but they also threaten individuality within the home and can quickly become tired and overused. Instead of following interior design fashions, go your own way and come up with your own style. Almost any style can be considered effective and attractive as long as it is consistent within itself. Too many disparate looks colliding is far more unattractive than a unique style. That being said, there are ways of incorporating current trends into your home without condemning it to become dated and stale. Essentially, do not implement a change to your home design that will be difficult to reverse or remove based on a trend. If bare brick suddenly appeals to you, resist stripping the plaster from your walls without thinking about whether or not you would still appreciate it in a few years’ time. The dreaded avocado or peachy pink bathroom suite has become a laughable mark of an outdated home simply due to the changes in taste over time. It is common to look back upon past styles and find them amusing or ugly, but if you can appreciate them as a product of their time, you can use contemporary styles without fear of designing a future disaster. Maybe you enjoy the irony of retro fashion and want to design your home around it deliberately? The main point is to avoid spending money on something for your home that you will later regret.

Five: Size and Purpose

Many common interior design mistakes can be chalked up to mismanaging or misunderstanding the sizes and proportions of a room and the furniture inside it. Sofas and televisions that are too big for the room they’re in will make the room seem smaller and give it a cramped feel. Large rooms with sparse or small furniture make it feel empty and cold. Strike a balance and learn about how to fill a room without overcrowding it. If your kitchen is rather small, resist the urge to have an island or breakfast bar installed as this will take up valuable space. Similarly, if your bathroom is large, then you can be creative with the extra space and perhaps have a separate shower and bathtub. It doesn’t really matter if a room is big or small, just that it is designed and furnished proportionately.

Six: Turn it Upside Down

While all of the above points are a fine basis from which to start redecorating your home, the most important thing to remember is that, when it comes to interior design, rules are made to be broken. Only once you have a strong understanding of how a room is supposed to look and feel can you subvert expectations playfully and successfully. Create a contrast in textures to throw off the expected purpose of a room deliberately. Plan a unique layout that has never been tried before. Purposefully furnish a room in such a way that it is disproportionate and messes with your sense of perspective. Interior design is about making your home fulfill its potential. Once you understand the basics, you can go wild.

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