When I first decided I was going to renovate the house after the kids left, I didn't even think about hiring a professional interior designer. Instead, I sought to educate myself on the basic principles of this mysterious art form in order to create my very own personalized living space. While I don't consider myself an expert in any way, shape or form, there are certain things I've discovered that I think will prove useful to budding home designers all over the world.
To that end, here are five excellent interior design tips that have really made a difference in my life and in my home:
1. Never overcrowd a home
The "less is more" mantra is one of the most important principles of minimalist interior design, and for good reason too. The truth is that any home where a plethora of furniture pieces are crowded into the same space is not conducive to genuine rest and relaxation. For that reason, the first thing I did with my home was give away everything I didn't need anymore. That included toys, books, even pieces of furniture. While I'd be lying if said it was easy, having so much more breathing room after all was said and done proved to be immensely rewarding.
2. Add multiple layers of lighting
Lighting is one of the most important elements of any home, and can be quite a potent design weapon if you know how to employ it successfully. For the most part, the trick lies in having multiple lighting options at your disposal so that you have the ability to create several styles of ambiance.
This can be done through some smart layering. For instance, instead of using a central lighting fixture with limited possibilities, consider installing both ambient and focus lights, and then mixing things up even further with the addition of lower lighting options such as table lamps.
3. Pick a color scheme that works
The colors you use to decorate your home often end up speaking volumes about the homeowner's character. To that end, really take the time to identify which colors you find pleasing to the eye and then picture them within your home environment. Keep in mind that while too much flash can seem like overkill, making your home excessively bland isn't much better either. Personally, I started by choosing my favorite color, which was blue, and then went with complimentary tones that worked well together. Colors such as orange and yellow softened the blue-centric palette and made my home look especially welcoming to visitors.
4. Use texture to amplify a room's atmosphere
Aside from colors, texture can also give your home a big personality boost. Nowadays there are an infinite number of ways to spruce up the look of your property by infusing it with all sorts of materials such as wood, cotton or even velvet. Personally I found the use of textured timbers to be especially appealing, infusing my home with a dash of warmth and making it resemble one of those beautiful little mountain cottages that I was so fond of when I was a little girl.
5. Resist the tyranny of themes
For many people, the easiest route to interior design lies in picking a theme and sticking with it. While centering your decorating ideas around a certain idea or philosophy can indeed kickstart your creative juices, it can also become stifling if your attachment to it becomes excessively dogmatic. For instance, few could deny the charm and grace of the Cape Cod style cottage, with its blue and white nautical palette and beadboard walls, but its overuse in recent years has sapped the individuality of personal homes that employ this style exclusively. In order to avoid having your home suffer the same fate, make sure you squeeze some of your personal style inside any home design, and your property will be all the better for it.
That concludes our quick rundown of my five favorite interior design tips. Remember that these are just some of the design principles that I've strived to abide by in my home decoration efforts. You'll likely discover your own set of ideals once you start visualizing what your perfect home looks like and what steps you'll need to take in order to turn your fantasies into reality.