I love transforming spaces, adding eclectic elements in unusual ways to create an interior that surprises and delights and it’s often when we break away from perceived rules of interior design that we create interesting interiors that come to life. When you decorate in an eclectic fashion, there are no hard and fast rules and here are some tips I’ve come up with to avoid making some fundamental mistakes.
THE FEATURE WALL
Now I don’t hate feature walls per se, I have them myself. Every room should have one element that naturally draws the eye when you enter. A room where everything gets equal importance will seem scattered and unplanned. But I should say that feature walls don’t really work when they are in complete contrast to the concept and mood of the room. They should not stand out as a focal point; feature walls should tie in to everything else in the space by their colour, texture or pattern. Having a wall that is totally at odds with the rest of the room just feels like a big disconnect and will never work.
EMBRACE NEGATIVE SPACE
An overcrowded room is not aesthetically pleasing. Putting too much furniture into a room and then covering all the available surfaces with ornaments and accessories is a big no-no. We need to appreciate the value of negative space.
Before choosing anything for your home, think about size, proportion and balance. The room must be decorated with items that are the right scale for the room’s size and shape, and in proportion to each other and to the people using the room.
It is rare when the maxim ‘less is more’ does not hold true. Look at your home with fresh eyes and think about what you would do differently if you could start over. Sometimes, simply re-grouping furniture and moving it away from the walls can change the dynamics of a room and make it work. Ask yourself how you could make better use of the space that you have and set about achieving that goal. There is a fine line between carrying a design concept throughout the entire house and overdoing it. Unless you are absolutely sure that what you are adding really does enhance the space, leave it out.
DETERMINE YOUR STATEMENT PIECE
And just to prove that there are absolutely no rules in interior design – elements of unusual scale can be used successfully to draw the eye and create a focal point in the room. Lets say you have something super large or extra ornate, then you’ll then want to have quite a few pieces that aren’t as showy. It’s all about contrast and about combining whatever statement piece you have with its complete opposite. If its ornate, go for simple, if its old, go with new, if its dark go light, if its bright go neutral. This is what makes statement pieces even more statement worthy.
GET THE LIGHTING RIGHT
I love natural light and I always try to let in as much natural light as possible. However, every space needs help when the light goes down. The right kind of lighting in the right space will add a glow to your surroundings. It’s is one of the most transformative elements in interior design.
Lighting will enhance the mood of your home. Make sure that each room has a mixture of ambient light – to light up the space, accent light – to highlight any interesting objects, task lighting – to read, cook, put on make-up or shave, decorative light – which is provided by any striking light fixtures and kinetic light which flickers and moves to create interest.
Create a relaxed, intimate atmosphere by hanging a large pendant or chandelier above the dining table or over a large coffee table placed centrally in a living area. Create a subtle glow by using dimmer switches. Consider the colour of the light, the direction the light will go and the intensity of the beam. Layer your lights – overhead lighting is too harsh to be your soul light source.
LAYER YOUR ROOM AND ADD RHYTHM
If your eye can take in all the elements in a room at one glance, then the room is probably bland and boring. Successful interiors balance rhythm – the repetition of a subtle theme throughout the interior, and surprise – elements that add interest and intrigue into the concept. Layers elevate a space to another level, subconsciously engaging your senses and enhancing the beauty of an interior. Even in minimalist interiors, layering adds texture, interest and life to a room.
MAKE YOUR HOME YOURS
Showcase your personal possessions to reveal your personality and achievements. Mix your accessories with old and new and bring your own experience and personal history into your home. Don’t let your home look and feel “too done”. There is great value in making space for something a little distressed, a little old or a little used. A dash of imperfection adds character to your space and will make it feel more relaxed. Make comfort a priority. Whether you opt for minimalist, eclectic, classic or bohemian – the most important thing is to make your home livable. A well designed home is one that is both comfortable and functional.
HANG PICTURES PROPERLY
Art needs to be linked visually to the furniture beneath it and needs to be hung at eye level. The centre point of the picture frame should be approximately 1.65 metres (66”) off the ground. However, you also need to consider the size and shape of the picture and the size of the wall. Think about proportion and balance. Group smaller pictures together to create a stunning focal point.
ACCESSORISE, ACCESSORISE, ACCESSORISE
Accessories are often the elements that will bring the design concept together. Choose the right accessories, display them with style and know when to leave a space empty. Your choices will make or break the interior design.
PUSH THE BOUNDARIES
Don’t make safe choices. Go with the unusual. Mix textiles, mix materials and take a few risks it will add far more intrigue into your space. The more you push the boundaries, the more magical your home will become.