How to choose the perfect interior style
When you want to refresh your interior décor or change the look and style of your rooms, you can planevery room as an individual space or opt for a more unified approach and seek out a particular theme to carry through your entire property. Whichever you prefer, here are a few useful tips that will help you select what works best for you.
The most popular styles include, for example, the relaxed ambience of traditional, bohemian and country cottage options and the spectrum of modern and contemporary genres, such ashi-tech and industrial forms. Certain features define these different categories:
- Bohemian – a warm look that uses lots of creative colours and patterns.
- Contemporary – current and popular design ideas, often borrowed from other styles.
- Country cottage – natural finishes, particularly wood, and fabrics in classic floral patterns.
- Hi-tech – shiny surfaces in black and silver metal and glass, with lots of built-in gadgetry.
- Industrial– warehouse-like interiors with exposed bricks, concrete and heavy-duty metals.
- Modern– early 1960s with geometric shapes and plenty of wood, plastic, metal and glass.
A good way to start is by considering what is going to work in the type of building in which you live, though that should not necessarily dictate your décor.For example, if your home dates from the 1930s, you may have curved window bays, relatively high ceilings and a sturdy, large front door. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to decorate with floral wallpaper and fill it with older heavy furniture in dark wood – unless, of course,you like these sorts of interiors and feel comfortable recreating them.
Instead, you have the option to emphasise the high ceilings by usingsparkling chandeliers in your chosen style, make the most of the daylight by dressing your bay windows with stylish tier-on-tier shutters and selecting elegant door furniture that will show off the entrance to your home.
Size and scale
Most people recognise a cluttered room when they see one, so one important tip is always to aim to emphasise spaciousness when you are decorating and furnishing. In relatively small rooms,paler neutral shades will give the impression that they are larger, while in bigger rooms you can make use of brighter paints, floor coverings and wallpapers, though avoid adding too much if you are also going to use several pieces of bulky furniture.
Scale is also an issue if you are buying new furniture for your living room, dining room or bedrooms.Remember that items such as sofas, tables, beds and wardrobes often look smaller in a furniture showroom than they will look when you put them in your home.
Some people long to choose a colour scheme and then stick with it everywhere, and this can work in rooms of relatively equal sizes or if you have chosen a neutral palette from which to select one or two shades. Bear in mind, however, that you may get bored of every wall looking the same, unless you have plans to exhibit vibrant artworks on every available surface or to otherwise interrupt blank walls with mirrors or fixtures to create interest.
Once you are happy that your selected colour schemes work for the rooms that you are styling, and that the furnishings will fit happily into each space, the next task is to decide how to handle lighting.
Natural daylight is wonderful when you are showcasing your interiors, so make the most of your windows and any skylights in your home by keeping as many of them as possible free from bulky curtains and drapes and using shutters to maximise light, ensure privacy and strengthen security. The great thing is that they will go with any style of interior design.
Finally, when it comes to artificial lighting, you should use specific types of lamps in particular places in order to create the atmosphere that you want in your rooms.General or ambient lighting is often, but not always, an overhead central light that allows you simply to see around a room. Task lighting is focused on a specific area where you may want to work. This might be a floor lamp in the living room or a bedside lamp for reading. You may have lights under wall-mounted cabinets in the kitchen, or near a computer screen. Mood lighting adds interest to your interior, and with a little experimentation, you’ll soon find the best ways to illuminate what you have chosen to be the key features of your rooms.