Interior design is all about making the best use of the space you have to produce rooms that are both beautiful and functional. It is more than just decorating your walls and painting your ceilings, it involves using your creative skills to make careful use of colour, light, touch, sound, and even smell in order to convey an aesthetically pleasing and appropriate “mood” in a room.
Any particular mood you want to create will also have a direct relation to the purpose of the space. For example, a room that is used predominantly for relaxing in will possibly not suit loud colours and bright lights as opposed to a bathroom or kitchen which may benefit from being well lit. Of course there are no hard and fast rules either, it all comes down to what you like and what you feel comfortable with.
Using professional interior designers can be convenient but costly and without careful planning doing it yourself can be a long and tiresome process but the good news is that with a little forethought you can revamp your home with minimal fuss and expense and the results can be even more rewarding.
How to get started
Start with one room first and ask yourself the following questions:
What is the space going to be used for, what will be its purpose? For example, is it for relaxing, working, sleeping, entertaining, playing and so on
What is the size and shape of the space you want to transform and what can you realistically do with it? For example, the existing position of a fireplace or doors and windows etc. what can be changed and what cannot
What would be the ideal mood of the room in relation to its purpose? For this you would need to consider the colours you want to use, the availability of natural lighting and whether you need to artificially create light, the fabrics and furnishings, the sounds, the focal piece and the finishing touches
Finding your style
The first two are relatively simple to answer but if you are looking for inspiration on how to create the right mood and aren’t sure of your own style then browse through the plethora of magazines available or visit showrooms and identify what kind of colours and fabrics, patterns, lighting and furnishings attract you. Take note when you visit family and friends, look for things that inspire or motivate you, find out what appeals to you, where your eye is drawn, what you like and what you don’t.
You could ask yourself some simple questions too. What is the seating arrangement in the room? What furnishings are there? What is the focal point of the room? What colours and patterns are used and how are they mixed? How does the room actually make you feel? Use your imagination and expand on the ideas that appeal to you, the goal is to create your own space in which you feel totally comfortable, that reflects your taste and individual style.
Remember to consider any practical and safety issues. It may sound obvious but you might not want a light coloured plush pile carpet in your kitchen or a highly polished and slippery floor in your bathroom. Think about what the room is going to be used for and imagine what would be the implications of a particular furnishing or colour etc.
Identify what your focal point will be. Focal points can be anything from an attractive window or fireplace to an ornamental centre piece or even a vase of flowers and mirrors can give an effective illusion of space in any room. Once you have an idea of what you want the room to be like, you can start thinking about what you need to do to create the right mood.
How to create the right mood
To create the right mood you need to consider the colours you want to use as well as the lighting and together these can help create the atmosphere of the room. A children’s play area for example, would ideally have a lot of natural light and be bright and sunny in its décor whereas a room that is used for evening entertainment may need to have subtle colours or dimmed lighting.
Consider other senses too. What natural sounds can you hear already? Are the birds singing or do you hear traffic? Do you want to add other sounds like water flowing from a small fountain or music for example? Can you smell the countryside or the city? Fragrant flowers, scented candles and incense or bowls of pot pourri can contribute different smells to a room. What about finishing touches? Careful positioning of plants, paintings, and ornamental pieces can all help create the right mood for you.
The end result
With a little planning and creative use of colour, lighting, furnishings and finishing touches the end result can be extremely rewarding as you transform your space into a home that is both functional and beautiful and that cleverly reflects your own individual style. You never know, you may even inspire someone else to create their own dream home.