Interior Design

Interior Design

Before you redesign or redecorate, examine how you use your home now and how you’d like to change it to reflect the way you really live.

Are you thinking of redesigning or redecorating a room or your whole house? There are some important questions to answer before you begin. What type of personality do you have and how does it reflect on the interior of your home? What does your house look like now and how can you change it? Is your style traditional, modern, country or eclectic?

This month’s article helps you with the answers. It focuses on your existing design elements, what style you like, and how you can guide your interior decor toward the style that matches up with your personality.

By Alice Wright – Early Spring 1999

First of all, think about your existing design elements. Are you a “piler?” Do you have piles of items all over your house, like piles of papers, piles of magazines, piles of clothes, piles of dishes or piles of books? Get rid of all those piles!

Are you a “collector of junk?” Have you collected items from other peoples’ garbage piles? Does everyone in the family drop off their old furniture to you? Do you rescue other peoples’ lamps, curtains and bookcases from their houses when they are ready to throw them out? Get rid of the junk!

Are you a “perfectionist?” Do you get upset when someone moves an article from one place to another? Do you cringe when people sit on your furniture? Did you design your living room to be identical to a magazine picture? Concentrate on what is going to make you feel comfortable in your space, not uncomfortable.

Are you a “shopaholic?” Do you buy from magazines, the home shopping network, or tend to buy up an entire store? Are you confused when it all doesn’t go together? The solution is to stop buying so much at once and organize your interior based on one favourite item, not 20. Is your house a “ghost from the past?” Old flooring, old bathroom tiles, old kitchen cabinets – everything old! Plan to get rid of it all and start with fresh new ideas. Walk through your house and really take a good look at everything you own.

It is very important at this stage to pick out only a few items that you love. Choose your favourite table, picture, sofa or carpet – it could even be something as small as a serving bowl. Be merciless and get rid of those items that you never liked but have had around for years.

Your favourite design elements suit your personality and will make you feel comfortable with your interior. These pieces determine the style you should use continuously throughout the rest of your house. But keep in mind, this change does not evolve overnight. The process could take a couple of months, to a year. Take your time to make the right decisions, and in the end you will be thrilled with what you’ve accomplished.

What type of style do your favourite pieces resemble? Look at different types of styles – traditional, modern, country and eclectic – and determine what you should add to your favourite design elements to make your rooms complete.

Traditional style is based on classic, historical objects, that have lasted for many years. The pieces have a formality to them, in their curves, slenderness and comfort. To make your interior more traditional, you could change the fabric on your sofa to a damasilk, silk or velvet. Choose patterns with flowers, or scenes with rich dark or light colours. Add an oriental rug or a large mirror with a guilded, fanciful frame.

Change your window treatments by bringing in large amounts of fabric and draping them around the window with ornate finials and curtain ties.

Minimal amounts of furniture placed in a spacious fashion identify a modern style. Look for simple fabrics and materials such as leather, chrome, polished wood and glass. With modern elements, you must give them enough room to breathe. Place only a few items in the room that you love and let them speak for themselves. Remove any heavy window treatments or don’t use any at all, but if you need some privacy, look at a simple roll-down blind with a non-patterned fabric. Choose one or two large pieces of artwork that have simple lines or colours. Use the KISS principle – Keep it Simple Sweetheart.

A country style exudes casual comfort through colourful plaids and flower patterns. Everything has a soft feeling in a country room. Use informal wooden furniture pieces with cushy sofas and chairs. Try a large basket full of wood by the fire and large round or oval rugs on a wooden floor. To add to your country interior, look for antique quilts or blankets and candles or clocks. Bring in dried flowers in a large colourful vase. Books, plates and simple pieces will allow you to sit and relax in a room filled with warmth.

An eclectic style has a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Combine all of the different design styles and its eclectic. The most important part is combining the various styles with colours and fabrics that blend together. You can have have traditional-looking chair with a modern-looking sofa and it will work if the fabrics have the same colours. To create such an interior, choose the pieces that you love, then change the fabrics so that they match, and paint the walls and any other items to blend in with your new concept. Remember less is better, even with eclectic.

Take a good look at your favourite design elements and choose one of these concepts. Try to stick with the same style throughout your house, office, bathroom – even your garage. Have fun with the process and take your time. You will create interesting ideas as you begin, and you will produce more as you continue to design. Good luck and have fun!