CT Haringey Nov 2008

Community Times Haringey November 2008

How to be your own Interior Designer
A stylish room doesn't just happen; it takes careful planning and research to put a design scheme together.

A professional interior designer will follow a particular process to achieve the required result, if you follow the following advice you should create a scheme with a professional touch:

1. Assess the space - On an A4 sheet of paper draw an outline of the room to scale using a scaled ruler, take into account all windows, doors, recesses, fireplaces and radiators. Also note down the direction of the sunlight. Now you are ready to plan your room. If the room is small, pick light, cool colours, use mirrors and anything metallic to bounce light around. Choose furnishings that blend in with the background colour to keep the room opened up. If the room is too big, use dark, warm colour which will make the walls recede in. Choose large scale furniture. Create zones for different activities.

2. Planning where to put furniture - You need to ensure that your selected furniture will fit into the space before you purchase. Cut out the shape of each piece of furniture to scale, they can then be moved about on your outline of the room that you've created. Don't forget to take into account practical issues such as tv aerial points, radiators and the direction in which doors open, then look at the footfall through the room. When planning a dining room allow at least 90cms between the table and the wall.

3. Selecting colour and texture. Choose colour according to the orientation of the room and the atmosphere that you want to create. North facing rooms require lighter colours from the warm side of the colour spectrum (reds through to yellows). South facing rooms are flooded with natural light, colours from the cool side of the colour spectrum are best (yellow through to blue). If you want a room to be energizing use reds, oranges and yellows, in contrast blues and greens (which are at one with nature) provide a calming and tranquil atmosphere. Pattern can add depth and interest if used appropriately. A large scale pattern can be balanced with complementary medium and small scale patterns and plain walls. Prevent patterns clashing by ensuring they have a relationship between each other in terms of colour, theme, motif or texture. Horizontal stripes can make a wall look longer, where as vertical stripes emphasise the ceiling height. Texture can also be used to add interest and excitement into an otherwise flat scheme.

4. Planning lighting - think about the function of your room and what's required in terms of lighting. Stairs, kitchens and bathrooms require good light whereas lounges, dining rooms and bedrooms will require a mixture of good and ambient lighting, so in addition to ceiling and wall lights combine floor and table lamps into the scheme to soften the overall effect.

Finally, once you've followed all these steps create a board of all your samples and products to see them side by side. Follow the golden rule of 3 to balance colours and materials. Too many influences can be busy on the eye and create a jarring scheme.

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