We all like to imagine ourselves as some sort of interior designer as we decorate our homes or office spaces. We think of interior design as being cutesy and decorative with drapes that match the carpet, but maybe that definition underplays all that actually goes on in interior design The purpose of this article is to help you understand the intricacies of interior design, so you can be a basic designer yourself.
What is Interior Design?
Interior design is more than just the art of decoration–it’s actually a combination of art and science with the purpose of creating a certain type of environment. The New York School of Interior Design puts it this way:
“Interior design is all about how we experience spaces. It’s a powerful, essential part of our daily lives and affects how we live, work, play, and even heal. Comfortable homes, functional workplaces, beautiful public spaces—that’s interior design at work.”
There are technical and functional aspects of interior design that require more than an eye for beauty, and there are various styles of interior design to learn such as:
- Modern– Sleek, clean-cut look with materials like wood, glass, and steel
- Minimalist– Simple and stick-to-the-essentials that emphasizes functionality
- Industrial– Rough, unfinished look with exposed elements like brick, wood, metal, etc.
- Traditional– Abundant and lavish in accessories with layering and details
- Transitional– A combination of modern and traditional that finds balance between modern materials and plush decorations
- French country– Warm colors and worn ornaments with wooden furnishings
- Bohemian– Vintage and carefree with flea market additions and an emphasis on comfort
- Shabby chic– Feminine and soft with vintage echoes and pastel colors
Famous Interior Designers
Interior design has been evolving over the years, with each new interior designer adding on to past design models. Today’s design world is lead by designers who have built upon design ideas of the past and made them their own. See if you can recognize the work of these designers after learning about them.
- Mary McDonald- She is the author of the book Interiors: The Allure of Style and is based out of Los Angeles. Her work is known for its combination of bold and old-fashioned.
- Martyn Lawrence-Bullard- He is British and currently based out of Los Angeles. His style focuses on one theme or element and he uses personality as a basis for designing a space for someone.
- David Bromstad- He was the winner of the HGTV program Design Star and currently hosts his own show, Color Splash with David Bromstad. Clearly, he is big on color in his designing.
- Philippe Starck- He is one of the most famous designers in the world, a Frenchman, who has designed for many organizations and people of importance. He is sometimes called “the bad boy of design” for the witty and risky moves he makes.
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Why Should You Care About Interior Design?
Maybe having the neat little “perfect home” isn’t your thing, but that doesn’t mean interior design isn’t your thing. Interior design is about giving purpose to spaces and that purpose can be whatever you want it to be. Personalizing your space and making it beautiful can do a lot more than you think. It promotes productivity as we feel a positive energy from our surroundings. It’s also easier to clean when you actually like the furniture/room you are cleaning.
You can live in your dream home! It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and you don’t have to hire an interior designer. Just focus on the basics and make your place yours. Maybe you don’t want the perfectly decorated home, and that’s fine. Just make the design your own!
Basic Rules of Design
We all want to know what goes together and what doesn’t, but sometimes the rules of interior design seem a little unclear. That’s because when it comes to design, we like to make it personal, and we like to break the rules. Personalization is great, but there are some basic do’s and don’ts to design that will help any beginner enter into design world and any professional will already be familiar with. Take a look:
- Measure Your Space. This one makes sense. If you want to design a space, you need to know how much you have to work with. That way, you can buy furniture with the correct measurements and keep everything proportionate so you can maximize your space.
- Layer the Lighting. Avoid flat living spaces by layering your lighting to get rid of that two-dimensional feeling. Do this by hanging light fixtures along with ceiling fixtures, and add floor-level lights to bring more light into the room.
- Mix/Match Textures. The key to bringing life to a space is by pairing different materials together, like wood with metal or velvet with leather. The combination gives an added spark that personalizes your space.
- Symmetry. This doesn’t mean that everything has to have a pair; symmetry in design means finding balance in the dimensions of the room. When a room feels balanced, you have the liberty to play around with angles or positioning without things feeling cluttered or disorganized.
- Remember Function. Maximize your space and be creative at the same time by paying attention to the functionality of pieces. This is essential for avoiding clutter and making a living space that you can actually live in.
- Love What You Buy. Invest in quality furniture that you actually love. Otherwise, it defeats the purpose of interior design. Create an environment that helps you feel your best so that you can give your best to the world. Sometimes it’s worth it to spend a little more if it’s something you really love.
DIY Interior Design Guide
Alright, we’ve talked about what design is, why it’s important, who is important in the design world, and some basic design rules, but how does that transfer into real life? This section will be all about application. We want to help you imagine, design, and bring to life your dream home. Here is how to reinvent each room of your house with tips and must-do’s that are room specific.
- The Kitchen
- Use a pegboard to hang up extra storage baskets or utensils. Try a wooden pegboard without paint for a more rustic look.
- Embellish your bowls/mugs/wooden spoons, etc. Paint your mugs or dip-dye your wooden spoon ends to give a splash of color and coordinate your color tones in the kitchen. Plus, it can help with organization.
- Universalize your kitchen utensils/accessories; a unified theme can make any kitchen look classy. Try all-metal salt shakers, napkin holders, drawer knobs, ingredient containers, etc., or go for an all-wooden look–whatever works for you.
- Spice up your spices with some cute organization. You can add chalkboard labels to your spice jars or use a wooden spice rack with colored lids for your sweets/savories/meat seasonings.
- Put up some classic wooden shelving for your tableware items. You will have more storage room in your cupboards and you can display your cutesy tableware. Plus, you will have easy access for on-the-go eating. Check out this DIY shelving article for details on how to make gorgeous, cheap shelving for your kitchen.
- The Master Bedroom
- Coordinate your bedding. This can make the BIGGEST difference. If it’s time for a new comforter, it’s time. Your bedspread sets the tone for the whole room, so take the time to find a quality comforter and adorn with pillows. (Hint: go for a double-sided bedspread if you get tired of the same-old easily.
- Add a mounted headboard to your bed. This transforms a bed from comfy to classy, and if you want to go the cheaper route, paint your headboard on the wall. It’s a fun look that hardly costs anything.
- Use stylish containers to get rid of clutter. Anything looks better put away in a chevron-fabric basket.
- Add a bookshelf with a rocking chair or window seat for your own book nook. It’s a stylish and functional move that can make any old bedroom feel new.
- Lay down a rug. Make sure it’s big enough to come out from under the bed or at least size-proportionate for the bedroom. It makes a room seem bigger and comfier, and it looks especially great when you coordinate with dress pillows for the bed.
- The Living Room
- Use a wall unit and go for the layered shelf look. You can hang up paintings/picture frames alongside shelf plants and books to achieve a balanced look that reflects a balanced lifestyle.
- Have a furniture theme. It doesn’t matter how cute that “one” item is. If it doesn’t go with the rest, it doesn’t work. You don’t need to shop in sets, but look for common features and colors, like wooden legs or deep blues and yellow.
- Try out brass or metallic light fixtures and furniture legs. It’s an easy way to have an expensive-looking apartment without actually spending a lot.
- Put up a mirror. This is a great way to fill wall space without “busy-ing” up the room. Match the mirror frame to the room’s picture frames, or go for a full length that matches with the window set-up.
- The Laundry Room
- Install washer and dryer pedestals to maximize your storage space. Store labeled bins under there for an organized look.
- Go for a fold-away ironing board to save space, and make it cute by choosing your own ironing board cover.
- The Game Room
- Make your own home theatre. Put up a projector and screen on the wall (or as my dad did it, a painted white wall as the screen). With a little popcorn machine in the corner and some labeled candy jars, all the neighborhood kids will want to be at your place.
- Install shelving/cupboards, and start a board game collection.
- Find a cheap, utility game table that can switch between foosball, pool, air hockey, etc.
- The Craft Room
- Put up a pegboard for your small handyman tools. Hang your sewing tools up there as well.
- Use glass jars to keep a button and ribbon collection. Color code the jar tops to stay organized with ease.
- Double the craft room as a guest room if you lack room space. Keep your craft supplies up on wooden shelving, and have a desk to hold your sewing machine for a cute look that your guests will love.
In the modern world of Google, it’s all the more common to be a DIY expert. What used to be limited by costs is now open to anyone with access to the internet and a creative mind. When it comes to your home, making it personal and beautiful can go a long way for you and your family, so feel free to study up on the interior designers and styles of today to find your own inspiration. Your dream house is out there, just waiting for you to get creative and get started.