After many years of being an interior designer, the most common statement I hear from clients is:
"I know what I like, I just don't know how to pull it together"
I think the stumbling block is mostly a combination of lack of confidence combined with a fear of making the wrong decision. It's easy to pin hundreds of images on Pinterest and Houzz but when it comes to actually moving ahead with selections, a lot of people really struggle with the decision-making process. Sound familiar?
Here are my top design tips for making the process a lot less daunting:
1. Refine your inspiration
This sounds simple but with the endless online eye-candy assaulting us daily, the options are seemingly endless. You have no idea the mishmash of contradictory styles most clients share with me on their inspiration boards. They will say things like, "I love this classic, buttoned headboard but I also LOVE this hot pink bird of paradise wallpaper"! There is no consistency. Choose a small handful of images rather than constantly scouring the internet for ever-better inspiration. Find your style and stick to it.
2. Perfect Base
If you are starting from scratch then it's crucial to get the key elements right before you start getting carried away with what scatter cushions are going on the sofa - flooring, paint and hard finishes will set the tone and determine the tonal palette of your future selections. Always start with flooring, then choose other hard finishes like cabinetry colours before finally selecting the paint - there are hundreds of white paints to choose from but I guarantee there will only be one or two floor tiles that you fall in love with.
3. Think Big
When putting together a decorating scheme I always begin with the largest items first and work backwards - sofa, dining table, headboard etc. The same principal as above works here. It is much harder to find the perfect sofa in the perfect fabric than it is to find cushions or accessories Keep focused on selecting each piece, trying not to get distracted by pretty coffee table arrangements along the way. My husband's favourite expression is 'don't let the tail wag the dog'!
4. Start with the Art
Once you've nailed the big furniture pieces you can then start layering the scheme with colour and texture through accessories. By far the easiest way to do this is to select your artwork first. This will help guide your colour selections for cushions, vases, rugs and other decorative items. Never underestimate the power of a beautiful artwork and how it can play a crucial role in connecting all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle.
5. Fortune Favours the Brave
Stunning interiors are never created by standing on the sensible, conservative side of the fence. Even the most classic, impeccably designed interior will have an element of surprise that elevates it from the everyday, run-of-the-mill home. A lot of clients I meet will have seen something they absolutely love like a wallpaper or a pendant light but they are terrified of using it for fear of not being able to carry it off. If you have courage in your convictions, if you are passionate about living in a house that reflects you and only you, then be brave and do that one bold, slightly crazy thing you've been dreaming of - it will pay off I assure you.