12 simple Dos and Don’ts for interior design beginners

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
99chairs, 99chairs 99chairs 스칸디나비아 거실
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Whether you live in a city flat or farm cottage, you want to make your living space as comfy and appealing as possible. But achieving that drop dead gorgeous look that appears on design shows isn't always easy – and yet they make it look so effortless.

Here’s a secret: those show hosts are professional decorators or they get their ideas from expert Interior Designers/Decorators. And we are just regulars who are prone to designing mistakes. But that is no reason to give up and be contempt with your mismatched settings and not-too-snug environment. 

Designing or decorating a space without a strategy is pretty much the same as cooking or baking without a plan: it could end in disaster. 

So, to save you some time and money, we’ve compiled some easy interior design for beginners, including well-known dos and don’ts. 

You’re welcome!

1. Don’t push all the furniture against the walls

Furniture placement is not a Tetris game. Your furniture needs breathing space to make your room seem like a much more interesting zone. 

Even if it’s only a few centimetres away from the walls, allowing the furniture to “float” can help to create a conversation grouping, for example, in your living room.

2. Don’t pick your paint colour first

Sometimes interior design tips are downright strange, like this one telling us that deciding which tones to splash on your walls should be one of your last decisions. You have an entire rainbow of colours to choose from, and seeing what furniture pieces and decorative items are placed in a room can help you pick out the perfect colour.

Besides, in terms of simple room design, it is much harder to find upholstery or accessories that perfectly fit with your wall colours than vice versa.

3. Don’t mix up your colours too much

You want your home to have a cohesive feel, and therefore you do not need to paint every room in a different colour. 

Choose three main colours to use throughout your house to make it much easier on yourself. Then opt for different hues of those main colours for a fresh look that is still consistent (for example, Arctic blue differs considerably from cobalt blue).

4. Do use dramatic colour in a small space

Small spaces that you pass through can show off a colour in a striking way. While it’s true that dramatic colours can make a room feel heavy or dark, painting your pantry or hallway in a dark tone is a different matter. 

Opting for dramatic hues in small spaces makes the entire house feel colourful and bigger, because it turns a tiny area you might not notice into a striking spot that grabs your attention.

5. Do make the most of your lighting

You should know by now that, when it comes to interior design ideas for small houses, lighting will be mentioned. In fact, lighting should always be planned into your budget – never as an afterthought. A well-chosen light fitting can transform the look and feel of a room considerably.  

Don’t be afraid to show off your personality with a statement piece. And remember: a dimmer switch gives you the ability to create the perfect mood whenever you please. 

6. Don’t be selfish with seating

There’s truth in the “less is more” saying, but don’t expect your guests to keep standing while you entertain. For the living room, you will need the sort of chairs that people can pull up and space together to allow for a flowing conversation.

And if space is an issue, make sure you have a couple of sexy dining chairs that can be pulled into the living area.

7. Do use different textures

Texture adds dimension and interest to a room. It appeals to our visual and tactile senses when we perceive a space that makes use of smooths, roughs, shines, and dulls – just not in an overkill fashion. 

Add some texture with a rug, a piece of wall art, a scatter cushion on the couch, or an interesting coffee table.

8. Don’t tease your walls

What we mean by that is don’t opt for small pieces of art or mirrors on large, bare walls. That big empty space will swallow them whole. Either go big, or go another route. 

Modular shelves add charming character to a wall, and so does busy wallpaper. Or share in the hot trend of wall decal words to spice up that big wall.

9. Do pay attention to your hallway

Your hallway is a fantastic opportunity for you to make a statement about your style. And yet it doesn't have to be anything grand – any statement is better than none at all. 

Use paint or patterned wallpaper to add colour and personality, and perhaps hang a beautiful mirror or painting. A mirror is especially clever, as it reflects light and creates the illusion of more space. 

Use a table to place mail, keys, and other small items when you enter your house.

10. Don’t use tiny potted plants

Like everything in your home, the plants should make a statement – or else leave them outside. And although small planters were fabulous in the 1970s, modern interior style has moved on. 

Rather opt for one large tree or plant in a pot. A series of itty-bitty indoor plants will just make your space seem cluttered.

11. Do use accent pieces

Trust a few accent items to incorporate the look you want without being overwhelming. 

If you have a love for beach houses, for example, display a stylish collection of seashells or coral on a side table or on your bookshelf. This is going to look far more sophisticated than designing an entire beach-style room.

12. Don’t let everything match

Interior catalogues are designed to sell furniture, not to show you how you should be living. Nobody lives that way, so don’t try so hard to match that look.

Rather create a lived-in look by making your room’s design eclectic, not a showroom. Use different pieces and accents that catch the eye and add interest to your space.

Interior design tips: Colour theory and meanings

Even when it comes to a simple interior design, your choice in colours should never be an afterthought. That’s because colour therapy tells us that different colours have different meanings (and, thus, affect us differently).

• Red: Bold, powerful, passionate

• Orange: Optimistic, charismatic

• Yellow: Energetic, friendly, fun

• Green: Growth, prosperous, generous

• Blue: Content, intelligent, authoritative 

• Purple: Creative, compassionate, devoted (can also be seen as a royal colour)

• Black: Elegant, mysterious, confident

• White: Wise, pure, innocent. 

Keep in mind that if you want to enhance or lift these characteristics even more, you need to influence the value, lightness, or darkness of the specific colour. 

Next up for your inspiration: How to build a house for under £50k (ideas and plans).  

The most important thing to remember when interior designing? Style is everything.

Finding a signature style can seem easy. We do this for ourselves with clothing. However, with interior decorating, this task is much more daunting. Whether you're trying to start with a simple interior design or working with a client, our best interior design tips can certainly help you. But knowing what you like and don't like should be the priority.

In order to figure out your personal style, find inspiration. Look through ideabooks and note down which pieces you like and which you don't. Notice the colors that appeal, the textures you're drawn to, and the materials you want in your home. Once you have a list of your own personal 'Dos and Don'ts,' you'll be prepared to pick out pieces you'll truly love.

And the easiest simple house design tip? Find a piece or two that you can't live without and find complementary decor. Centering a room around a couple of pieces will be pleasing to the eye and help you to focus more easily on colors, textures, and materials that go together.

Ready to start? Start with an easy or small room like your bathroom and get in touch with a professional to work with on a design.

And if you've already started with a new design and it's looking grim, consult our guide on the biggest decorating mistakes (and don't worry, we have solutions for you)!

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