1. PUT A PERSON ON YOUR MOODBOARD
When creating a moodboard, it can be hard to know where to begin. Which colors to pick, which fabrics to go for, how you want the room to make you feel. The chocies are overwhelming. That's why international interior designer Tara Bernerd always begins the process with a picture of a person, rather than a piece of furniture.
2. GET THE FEELING OF A ROOM RIGHT
Using an evocative person to help you build the mood of a room is key to a successful end result. Because no matter how you want a room to make you feel - calmed, uplifted, energized - that emotion is what stays with someone far longer than how it looked. 'People don't remember every piece of furniture in a room,' says the interior designer Brigette Romanek. 'But they will remember how they felt when they were in it.'
3. START BY LOOKING AT THE SPACE THROUGH YOUR PHONE
It can be hard to know where to begin with a room, and designer Noa Santos suggests taking images of it on your phone and studying its angles. 'Use your phone as a tool - pretend like you're a photographer and just look at it what is feeling unbalanced, and go from there,' Noa says. 'It’s helpful to see and analyse those photos as design can be enjoyed in smaller gestures - it may be as simple as starting with a corner of your house.'
4. NOTHING IS MORE KEY THAN COMFORT
In all the aesthetic planning it can sometimes be hard to remember that a spacde has to be comfortable. It's not just key for a couch look good - if you can't lie back on the arms while watching TV reclined across its perfect sofa dimensions, then what's the point?!
5. BEGIN YOUR DECOR WITH A CONVERSATION PIECE
Award winning designer Yinka Ilori agrees with Brigette Romanek that what matters most is what people take away from a room. 'I like to think of design as a way to make memories,' he says. 'By getting people to laugh or share a good time together, you're allowing them to create a shared memory, which is a way for them to feel connected.'
6. KNOW THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ALL THE WHITES
The amount of white paints available is overwhelming. Thankfully, there are some simple rules for picking the right one for your room. This involves looking at the pigments that have gone into each white - these are always listed on any paint brand's website - and choosing the ones that make sense in the space you have.
7. NEVER USE A COLOR IN ISOLATION
Another hard part of interior design is making a house feel cohesive. But linking spaces together, even if you've gone for a maximalist color palette, is straightforward and turns your home into somewhere that reads as artful, considered and well thought out.
8. THINK ABOUT THE SYMMETRY
When focussing on furniture placement, it can be helpful to fall back on the traditional approach of using symmetry. Two chairs that mirror each other, or sofas that act like twins. Even wall lights either side of an art work can help to bring a sense of order. It's an easy way to achieve balance in interior design.
9. INCLUDE CONTRASTS
When choosing a color palette, use color theory to guide you. It's based around a wheel of shades, and the basic principle is that the colors opposite each other will work together. And within the nuances of the wheel, there's one simple rule to remember - contrasts are always key. A matching scheme feels one note, without flair, a little like you've been too nervous to try anything else.
10. DON'T HAVE A DEFAULT FOR CEILINGS
As to when and how to paint a ceiling or not, there is no hard and fast rule. Instead, it depends purely on the space itself. On the whole, rooms where the ceilings aren't just white by default are more interesting and contemporary. However, you can base this decision on the height of the walls.
11. DON'T TRY AND BE FASHIONABLE WITH THE FLOOR
Realistically, a floor is something you will only change once in the entire time you live in a house. Maybe twice, if you're updating the carpet. And while flooring trends come and go - with cork being bang on for right now - you want to make a decision you can live with for many years.
12. STORAGE NEEDS TO BE BUILT IN
For a room to be usable and functional, storage needs to be incorporated into the very fabric of the scheme. There is a huge amount of joy to be found in having stuff, but only if you know how to store it.
13. THE PLACEMENT OF SEATING MATTERS
There is a big sofa trend at the moment for conversational seating. For furniture with curved edges that draw people together and allow them to feel cocooned, connected, and like they'd want to chat.
14. IF IN DOUBT, STAY NEUTRAL ON THE WALLS
While many designers are confident and accomplished enough to use bold prints and clashing colors, it can be daunting to know what to pair. Fortunately, neutral color schemes are far from boring, and pale really is interesting. 'Beige has never left us,' says the internationally acclaimed designer Kelly Hoppen. 'Think of it as the perfect base color, like when you’re putting on make up. You apply it first, then layer other things on top. It’s ideal for this.'
15. ALWAYS HAVE A PLINTH...OR AT LEAST THE MOOD OF ONE
Jonathan Adler is a great believer that every home should have a plinth - the sort of pedestal you can display your favorite objet on. 'I love plinths,' he says. 'Fill your home with them – so unnecessary but so fabulous.'
16. BELIEVE IN YOUR DIY ABILITIES
There are some jobs its advisable to get a professional in for. Rewiring, new heating systems, and most modern bathroom fittings. But putting yourself to work in other areas is a good way to not only save money but to bring your own vision to life - it's surprisingly common to brief a decorator only to not get quite the result you'd hoped.