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5 Top Interior Design Tips From The Experts

  • 2024 Interiors
  • Guide
  • Interior design
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Ed Hawes
interior design tips

Introducing, the Living House, an interior design specialist who offer affordable design help. We invited them to guest feature on our blog, to provide their top five interior design tips. 

At The Living House we meet lovely customers everyday and chat to them about their homes, their design problems and dilemmas. And although every customer and every home is unique, there are also themes to the questions that we get asked, and the mistakes that people make.

Below we have shared our top five design tips to help you get started making the right changes to your home. 

  • Choose the size of your sofa carefully
  • Consider storage early in the design process
  • Always get samples
  • Hanging artwork the right way
  • Choosing the right size rug

Choose the size of your sofa carefully

People often choose furniture that is too big for the room, especially sofas. When you are looking online it can be hard to get a feel of the scale of the furniture and it can appear smaller than it actually is. Measure carefully at home before you commit. If you find it hard to visualise, lay newspaper on the floor in the footprint of the furniture so you can see how much space is left to move around the room. Try to leave a gap between the sofa and the wall so that it doesn’t feel like the sofa ‘just’ fits. Even a small gap of 10cm will make the room feel larger and more balanced.

Consider storage early in the design process 

round storage ottomans

There’s really no such thing as too much storage space, and chances are, as your family grows, you’ll need more and more. A beautiful room is never going to stay that way if you have nowhere to put the everyday clutter. So rather than ending up overwhelmed with stuff, it’s best to plan where you can house it from the start. Try to build in storage where you can - maybe a window seat, or built in cupboards in an alcove. An ottoman with hidden storage can be great for blankets and magazines. We love the round storage 01 ottoman and have used this in a few designs for our customers. Even a side table can do more than just look good. If space is tight choose one with a cupboard door and a drawer for odds and ends. Repurposed crates can house toys or shoes, and baskets are great for well, just about everything else.

Always get samples 

This is a simple one, but one that many people forget or feel is delaying the process. Samples are small pieces of a product that you are hoping to use in your home. Many paint, flooring and fabric companies will send these swatches out to your home. We love the fabric sample box that Swyft sends out for free. This handy box includes their best selling fabrics, plus up to six fabrics of your choice. 

Samples really help you visualise all the elements of your room together before you commit to spending lots of money. As we select more items online now, it is important to note that colour on a screen can be very different to what you actually end up with. It’s always best to check the colour in the light of your room, and against your other items.

Once you have collected some samples from different places, gather them together. You will quickly see that some naturally complement each other and others  you can discount. If you have wallpaper or paint make sure you put them on the wall and live with them for a few days. Notice how they appear at different times of the day as natural light and artificial light will affect the way they look. 

Another good tip is to use a bit of card to sample your paint instead of painting it directly on to your walls. This way you can move it around easily and you're not left with a million tiny paint squares all over your walls!

Hanging artwork the right way

Monochrome artwork

Artwork adds personality to a space, and can pull all the colours together in the room. When it comes to art, bigger is definitely better. One large scale stand out painting will always make a strong statement and make your room feel planned and well put together.

If you have smaller pieces of artwork, avoid hanging a small picture all alone on a big wall. And don’t make the mistake of hanging pictures at random intervals. They will have no impact and will make the room feel bitty and cluttered. Instead group your pictures together to create a gallery wall that shows off your personality.

Don’t hang your pictures too high or spread them out across the wall - we do see this mistake everywhere, in people’s homes, restaurants, hotels... When hanging art, you want it to correspond to what is around it. If it’s over a sofa, hang it over the middle of the sofa, not the middle of the wall. The same for a dining table; group the artwork with the table, rather than centre it on the wall. And the height of the picture needs to be just above your eye line when you stand, no higher. You should never have to look up to see a picture. 

Choosing the right size rug

choosing the right rug

One of the most common mistakes we see in living rooms is using the wrong size rug - and it can really ruin the feel of your room! Always ALWAYS go large when it comes to choosing your rug. You want the rug to be large enough to fit under the two front feet of your sofas. This will help to anchor it and make it the foundation piece of the whole room. If your rug is too small, it can make the room look smaller as it draws your eye inwards.  A large rug will create balance and bring the space together. 

If you have a large living room or open plan area that you have divided into different areas, a rug will work perfectly to help zone it. Maybe you’ve added an armchair for a cosy corner reading nook? If so, place a round rug underneath the armchair to add texture and warmth to create a focal point, making it feel cosier. If you have a living/dining room, placing a rug under the dining table will help define the dining area. If you can have two rugs in your living room, don’t go for matching rugs. Instead choose two different rugs to create a more interesting and well put together look. Jute rugs are always a great option to mix with other designs. They bring in some natural texture, work with almost every colour scheme and style and are well priced.

If you are feeling inspired, take a look at how The Living House can help you with all your design dilemmas, offering easy, friendly, and personal interior design help. We can shop from anywhere and to any budget to come up with a look that is unique to you. And you might be surprised at just how affordable our design advice is.  Check out our website for more information, and Instagram for more inspiration and tips. We’d love to chat to you soon!
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