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Interior design – getting started

Interior Design – Getting Started

January needn’t be blue just because it hasn’t got the razzle-dazzle of December. A month of contemplation is good for us – it gives us some breathing space to decide what the rest of the year will bring.

When it comes to home planning January is a fine month to make some decisions. We see our home in a different light once the Christmas decorations have been taken down – we become newly aware of the scuffs and scrapes that appear from under the wreaths and tinsel and the lack of twinkling lights can sometimes leave a hole in the house décor. Should we put it back or should does it only belong to Yule?

But where do you start?

Interior Design Inspiration

Screen shot 2015-01-31 at 08.19.26Firstly you need some inspiration. Starting with the ‘blues’ (“Something needs to be done about this place, it’s a dump”) versus starting with inspiration (“Wow, I’ve got some fabulous ideas for the living room…’”) makes a huge difference to your attitude and motivation for the project ahead. Refurbishment is never as easy as you might hope so you need to start off with as much positivity as possible.

Create an inspiration board – this can be done on Pinterest or with an old fashioned pair of scissors and a pile of magazines. Pull together some images that represent how you want your room to look and to feel – this means a mixture of room images (literal representations of the room) and some more abstract concepts (pictures of nature for example). Check out my nature Pinterest board here. You’ll find plenty of room images on the boards there too.

Measure up

Once you have some ideas, it’s important to be realistic about what you actually have. Magazines bring us rooms with double heighted ceilings and windows with views across oceans. Most kitchen shoots take place in showrooms rather than real homes and all these add up to giving us wonderful inspiration but perhaps a false sense of reality. It’s time for you to measure your room: wall to wall, floor to ceiling, windows and doors, radiator, lighting and socket positions. Draw it up on graph paper so you have a piece of reality to take shopping with you.

Kitchen display by Niki Schafer Interior Design


Shopping can be incredibly overwhelming so you need to be prepared before you hit the high street. Online research is fundamental – giving you not only ideas about shapes and colour but also some realistic prices. My experience is that the brands that advertise on TV give us a very false expectation of costs. The sales at one of the furniture sheds lead you to think all sofas cost that much. Then you find the one you love in the boutique shops and discover the reality of a beautifully made piece of furniture is four times more. Research and budget! (Who said interior design was sexy… fools!)

Project Manage

You’d never begin a project at work without knowing the expected outcome, so it surprises me no end that people set off willy-nilly into the shopping meccas without a single idea of what they are looking for. Obviously you need a list of what needs to be bought (bed, bedside table, lamps etc) but you also need to understand why these items are necessary. So consider:

• What will people be doing in the spaces you are designing?
• What ages are they? What levels of mobility do they have?
• What times of day will the room be used? What type of light is in the room?
• How much flexibility is required in the space? Is it a desk one minute and a dining table the next?

Understanding the relative value of the space – how often it is used and how much of a difference it will make in the owner’s day-to-day life will help you allocate a financial value to it. Don’t scrimp on things that will be appreciated often and equally don’t blow the budget on wow factor that will not really be seen.

Get the professionals in…

If you need some help getting your project started (or better still, seen through to completion) please do get in touch.
07782 256 444

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