One of the things we hear frequently from clients who are building or renovating, is that they really just don’t know where to start. It can be an overwhelming task trying to decide on everything from the look you are trying to achieve to your colour palette.
ASSESS YOUR SPACE
The key element to creating a home that functions well is to start with taking the time to consider your space; who are the people who will be living in and using it, and what are their needs or wants?
Start by simply sitting down and making a list. I tend to prefer the good old fashioned pen and paper method, but you can do it electronically if you prefer. At this stage it’s important to just get the ideas down.
Rooms can be designed to be multi-purpose but the key is keeping things flowing.
Furniture should be arranged so that it allows traffic to flow, not feeling like you are navigating an obstacle course to get through the room.
If you want the family lounge room to be a space to relax and watch TV at night a, but through the day it’s a play space for young children you might want to consider building in or having some additional storage, so at the end of the day the toys can be packed away. It will never be relaxing if you have to sit down and look at mess.
We’ve probably all been guilty of trying to follow a fashion or trend that really just doesn’t suit us at all. The same goes for our homes. Don’t try and copy something you see in the magazines if it just won’t suit the way you or your family live in. You really do need to get practical here.
Also keep in mind that most images you see in the magazines have been styled and staged for the shoot and probably don’t actually reflect how the space is on a day to day basis. Choose a ‘look’ that suits who you are, and your lifestyle.
It can be a dirty word but a necessary part of the process. Decide on a plan for key pieces you require for each room, assign your budget and stick to it. My personal mantra is ‘buy better, buy less’. I prefer to wait and save for something I really want, rather than settle for the cheaper option. Not only do I know that if I’ve had my heart set on it I will totally love it, but it will last so much longer too.
COLOUR & PATTERN
Colour really is a personal and subjective thing. There is no denying that colour can have an impact on how you feel, so keep this in mind. Stick with a neutral scheme for big items, like paint, carpets and blinds, then introduce colour and patterns on soft furnishings, art or smaller decorative objects. If you are introducing colour a good rule of thumb is to repeat its use in pops of three.
Well outside my area of expertise, and the part I found the hardest when building our own home, but it can have such a huge impact. Consider task lighting for areas where you will be working, and remember that while LED lights may consume less energy, they are often too harsh and bright for many areas of your home, unless they are dimmable.
I know I’m biased here, but good quality window furnishings do make a difference. Invest in custom made treatments that will fit correctly, and are made to last. These are often a bigger ticket item, but worth the investment. Fashions do change in window coverings, but roller blinds and sheers are popular at the moment, and it doesn’t look like this trend will be changing any time soon. You really can’t go wrong if you stick with classic styles and neutral colours.
Technology changes constantly, and there have been huge advances for automating awnings, blinds and curtains with the introduction of smart phone control or even voice activation.
My number one tip here is to think of automated blinds as something to help simplify life and save you time. It’s no good having a system that’s overly complicated, as you will end up getting frustrated and not even using it. Automation for blinds really is a simple as pushing a button.
You should always put some thought into storage, and how much you will need. Ensuring you have plenty of storage with places to put things will help keep your home clutter free.
Consider multi-purpose items, such as a decorative cupboard in your entry that doubles as a shoe or coat cupboard.
My biggest regret in our own home is that we didn’t allow for an entry space with room for storage. Especially at this time of year when it’s wet outside we often end up with several pairs of shoes by the door, a cluttered and messy look that really plays with my head.
There really is a lot to consider, and sometimes we might need to admit that it is just something we are not so good at. If you are thinking about hiring an Interior Designer or someone to provide advice, do your research first. Recommendations from friends can be great, but when it comes to choosing items for your home they really do need to suit you, so look them up on Instagram or Pinterest, and choose someone whose style really does resonate.
And remember your home should be as welcoming as it is beautiful!