Many of my clients make the decision to hire an interior designer after holding off for several years. Oftentimes I arrive to a space with white walls, and no accessories or decorations at all because homeowners have been fearful of making the wrong decisions. With tight budgets, people often live this way longer then they anticipate, then, finally fed up, they tweak their budgets to bring a professional decorator in to give them the home of their dreams. I believe in the philosophy of living in the here and now, and even if you do not have the budget for a professional interior designer, it is wonderful to have your home reflect the way you want to live, regardless of budget. I have put together four easy tips to help you create the home you want, even if you plan to renovate in the future. With online catalogs and varied products in retail stores these days, there are many options to help you on this journey.
First and foremost I tell my clients to bring color into their home. Homeowners can be reluctant to add color out of fear of choosing the wrong hues. Take a risk with color, and start by choosing your favorite ones. Rather than taking a big financial risk and painting your walls or upholstering a large, expensive piece of furniture, start small by bringing in colorful accessories. A punch of color can go a long way in a room in the form of pillows and accessories. Color can have dramatic effects on dark spaces, so with high ceilings and lack of natural light, I say go bolder in color because the space will absorb it well. For well-lit and sunny spaces, I recommend opting for more subtle colors.
Bring fabrics into your home by layering various sizes and scales together. This seems to be one of the hardest concepts for many people to feel comfortable with, and there can be a sense that if patterns do not match exactly they do not work together. A good rule of thumb when mixing fabric patterns is to keep the scales completely different. I will use a large floral pattern on sofa pillows, but pull one of the colors from the fabric to use in a smaller-scale geometric or striped pattern for an upholstered chair in the room, and all offset with a neutral sofa that may have the trim or piping in an alternative color that is also in the floral pillow. This kind of layering of color and patterns allows me to use them in a way that is complementary without clashing or seeming too busy.
No matter how many beautiful pieces of furniture you have, poor lighting will make a space feel off. The correct mix for most rooms is a blending of overhead lighting, wall sconces and table lamps. Remember to think about someone reading a book in one corner while providing enough even lighting throughout the room with overheads that always have dimmer options. The ability to dim overhead and sconce lighting allows the intensity to be diffused when needed and creates ambience.
When choosing the style in a room, I break up the aesthetics by combining both modern and traditional pieces to create an eclectic look that does not feel all the same. This can be done in a variety of ways, but one easy approach is through different lighting fixtures. If a room has a good amount of traditional pieces of furniture and accessories I will add a dramatic, modern overhead light. The end result is an interior that is both warm and inviting, yet the contrast in style anchors the space with interesting details.
Even if the home is a work in progress, add that little extra special something by putting out bowls of fresh fruit and potted flowering plants. Make 2013 the year you create the home of your dreams.