Sunday, September 28, 2008

Interior Design for Couples

Interior design for couples is one of the hottest, most popular types of design these days. In the past, men have not taken the initiative to actually be involved in the interior design of their homes, often resulting in very female orientated, elegant designs that are beautiful although not exactly appealing to the Saturday afternoon football crew. This type of design is often beautiful and can be ideal in certain situations. Although, more and more men today are interested in helping to decide what their home looks like on the inside!

Beware! Interior design for couples can put you (the designer) into a bit of a hot seat in the battle of the sexes. Here are a few tips on how to avoid disaster. First of all, always communicate with and listen to what both parties involved envision as being their dream space. Many times one party or the other will be much more dominate in the planning and conversations then the other. Take note of this and pay special attention to the quiet party by asking the questions and making sure to offer them the opportunity to express themselves. In this aspect of interior design for couples, you are the mediator. Take both sides into careful consideration before doing any planning.

During planning stages, again, be sure to include both parties in the process and if one person is noticeably quiet during the conversation, don’t be shy to point things out that might be important to them. This way, you tend to buffer any arguments or resentment that may arise from your interjection of a neutral opinion or thoughts. If there are any problems, remind them both that your vision is to create a space that is pleasant and acceptable to both of them and that interior design for couples can be unpleasant but it is very easy to work within both person’s boundaries in order to ensure that everyone is happy with the outcome.

If you see certain situations that you, as a designer can find ways to compromise in order to fit things into both peoples’ expectations this is key. Also, stress to both parties involved that a little give and a little take is vital when discussing and planning interior design for couples and that while they won’t always reach the same conclusion, if they both make some trade offs it will create an environment they are both comfortable in.

If all else fails, encourage both people when making references to certain aspects of one another’s design ideas that they are good ideas that can be compatible with the other’s thoughts. Whenever dealing with interior design for couples, a certain ‘he says, she says’ attitude is likely to arise at some point and it is your job as the designer to see that things work out smoothly and in the best interest of both people.

Color and furniture are normally the main items that are disagreed upon in interior design for couples. Suggest to the female counterpart that the leather sofa her husband is interested in can be a very classic and comfortable edition to any living space. Explain to her husband that the peach color she is looking for can actually be considered a light beige. You would be surprised what miracles a little bit of convincing can do when carried out in the right manner.

If neither party is willing to compromise, I have seen for instances when the designer actually had both of the couple write down their design needs/wants and do a point by point comparison/bargaining session that allowed each person an equal amount of yes and nos. Sound ridiculously childish? Be prepared!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cheap Interior Design Ideas

Cheap interior design ideas come in many forms these days. From television shows to magazines, the industry is trying to teach the consumer how to design cheap. In the past, ideas such as cheap design shows would have left most interior designers horrified. The industry of interior design has changed dramatically over the past few years in order to better accommodate consumers. In it’s early to mid stages of evolution, interior design was an industry of prestige. Now, due to the demand for cost-cutting design for the average customer, designing on a budget and cheap interior design has become a topic of much interest and acceptance. Of course, you will always find the designers who absolutely insist that durability and style of a design is identifiable with the name brand associated with the contents therein, which relates back to the price tag. Most everyday people do not relate to this line of thinking therefore it has become increasingly unpopular within the normal ranks of the professionals in the industry.

A secret tool to marvelous rooms created using cheap interior design ideas is good decision making. By purchasing some slightly more expensive key items in a room’s furniture and cost-cutting on the smaller items or accessories you can save big bucks and still achieve the same look that is achieved in other more expensive, name brand rooms. The first question that pops into your mind here is likely to be, alright, simple concept, now where do I buy the bargain items?

Easily answered! Your hunt for cheap interior design ideas and items can begin successfully at any bargain-type store. The stores and availability of items in these stores will vary according to your location. Many times, there are locally known ‘bargain bins’ or stores at which you can by slightly-damaged or used items at a fraction of the cost associated with similar store bought items. When buying at these stores, be careful not to overspend. Many of us have a tenancy to get overly enthused and purchase items that are not good bargains or ones that we are not very likely to use. Save your money for where it counts. If you bargain shop for long enough, you will find the perfect items that fit into your lifestyle and space, just waiting for you to purchase!

Some accessories are easier to find bargains on then others. If you search and search for a certain item and are unable to find it, try to improvise or select another similar item to take its’ place. Cheap interior design ideas are abundant to the creative thinker who is willing to overcome obstacles with unusual, cheap solutions. Keep your mind open to all possibilities and applications of furniture…a pulled-together solution adds style and a conversation piece to any room.

Other places you can find cheap interior design ideas are yard sales, estate sales, and flea markets. Remember again when shopping in areas such as this that it is easy to get caught up in the moment and overspend. Take your time and comb the items carefully for objects of value. Many times in these type of sales the physically larger items tend to sell for more then cost value and the smaller valuable items are looked over in haste. Cheap interior design ideas are not limited to large items! If you find a good deal on an accessory or such, especially If it is part of a group or collection of items, buy it and use it to accentuate your other items.

Cheap interior design ideas are easy to find these days, you just have to know the right places to look and the right items to purchase. Time is the essential element in designing cheaply. Patience pays off in most any situation, including interior design!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Interior Design for New Homes

When decorating or making decorating decisions for new homes, it is important to remember that your major decisions could affect decorating choices for quite a long period of time. Commitment to bold or unusual color treatments before you have actually had the opportunity to consider how such changes will coordinate with your furniture placement is not very advisable in this type of situation. In any case, the best advice you could receive while planning interior design for new homes is to make mediocre, undramatic design choices to begin that you can alter at a later time if you choose to do so.

This may seem like very unusual advice concerning interior design for new homes especially coming from someone who is working within the design industry—but there is good explanation for this reasoning. A large, open space without viewing or visualizing any furniture content within that space is quite easy to get a little carried away with while making structural changes. Also, keep in mind that by using very bold or dramatic designer interior colors on the walls you might be closing off your future alternative color choices to those that will cover the bright color therefore eliminating any possibility of using neutral colors without major restructuring of wall surfaces.

Wallpaper is another such choice that you might reconsider using while building interior design for new homes. Again, removing wallpaper and resurfacing the surface is often times quite a headache that can be avoided by using other alternatives for creative wall finishing. A great alternative for wallpaper that adds a great texture to the wall surfaces would be a finishing technique such as faux finishing, sponging, or stenciling. These choices (and many more like them) offer you a variety of substitutes that are equally appealing and much easier to change then more permanent solutions such as wallpaper. If you absolutely must have wallpaper in any of the rooms, try using a border to achieve the look you’re going for instead of covering the entire wall surface.

When painting walls, if you apply a few well known interior design tips and tricks to your method, you will be pleasantly surprised in the overall effects when complete. For example, brighten up small or dark rooms with light wall colors. Add character and direction to larger areas by defining them with contrasting colors and textures. Bold or stark color panels can also provide a defining feature to an area that you can showcase wall pieces on when you are ready to accessorize.

Once the walls have been treated in your new home, the next item on the agenda while planning interior design for new homes would be dynamic placement of your hanging accessories such as mirrors, pictures, and art. Do not over clutter walls. Make good choices and place such items in key places by establishing focal points or presentation areas that will flatter the rest of your design.

Interior design for new homes can be a tricky process. There is a good possibility that the area pertained in your new home will be slightly larger or smaller then the space in your previous home. It is this reason that planning placement and theme of each space in your new home is so vitally important to successful interior design of new homes. Be sure to measure widths of furniture and doorways before moving day comes in order to avoid hassle while getting the furniture into your new living space. Take careful notice of any moving activity that occurs into and around your new home. Careless moving errors can disfigure floors and walls and create flaws in your new house before you have even begun living there.

Placement of furniture in new homes is one of the key aspects of unique interior design for new homes. The old philosophy of creating larger spaces (this is seen especially in living areas and rec rooms) by lining the furniture along the walls is true at times although at other times (again, especially in recreational-type rooms), dividing the room into two separate spaces by positioning furniture towards separate focal points therefore adding space and versatility to the area as well as enlarging it.

The most important matter of concern when designing or planning interior design for new homes is to build an environment that caters to the individuals living there. Creating a space that is accommodating to each person’s lifestyles is the general principle of new home design.

Friday, September 19, 2008

10 great design ideas to steal

1. When working with a condo, space is usually at a premium, so remember what your mother always said — a place for everything and everything in its place. When planning your condo, have closets fitted out with whatever you want to store: a narrow niche for the ironing board or especially deep shelves for your collectables. One of my clients wanted really deep drawers with dividers to hold all her boots standing upright. We did it.

2. You need to constantly go through your stuff — clothes, dishes, food — in the cupboard to see what you haven’t used in a while. If you don’t use it, lose it! There is no greater luxury than an empty drawer.

3.Just because your place is small doesn’t mean all of your furniture has to be made for elves. A big sofa made to fit the length of a wall can look sexy and rich and make the space appear larger.

4. Make sure you coordinate from room to room. In a well-thought-out space, you can move a chair from one room to another and it won’t look out of place.

5. Your flooring should move smoothly from room to room. Harsh changes like purple shag to white tile will make the coolest pad look chopped up and kooky.

6. Make living a great experience by planning your condo to be inviting and comfortable to all.

7. Always try to use things in a new way. Did you know your Granny’s old dining-room breakfront makes a great cabinet for the new flat-screen TVs? Simply fabric or frost the glass doors so you are not always looking at the screen.

8. Condo living means not having a room for everything so rethink the dining area to look like a den or maybe a card room and still function for those rare but wonderful sit-down dinners.

9. Make sure there are empty spaces in your condo, even if you have to get rid of something. It makes the condo look so much bigger and leaves a place for seasonal decorations.

10. Life is easier with a sense of humor. Inject some into your living space and everything goes a bit better.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Interior Design and Decorating Lighting Planning in your Home - General Considerations

General Considerations for Planning Lighting
General considerations when selecting interior lighting for new or existing spaces.

Light in the room needs contrast and/or shadow.

If it is too even then it will become bland and give little stimulation which leads to a boring and depressed feeling in the room (note this should not be confused with an office or studio or classroom which may require a bright overall ambient light for concentrated work).

Consider texture in the light effect. A strong direct light on to a heavily textured fabric or wall of stone or grooved timber will flatten it, so what is the point in having the texture.

This note relates directly to features. Features usually have to be given special treatment concerning lighting to bring out the best in the feature and to help others notice it in the overall look of the room.

Remember that the lighting is there as the accent to your interior design. It is not just function, it shows the form.

Picture lights obviously highlight pictures, and they add lighting to the perimeter of the room, helping to define the outside dimensions of the room.

Picture lights obviously highlight pictures, and they add lighting to the perimeter of the room, helping to define the outside dimensions of the room.
When deciding on the interior lighting for a room, consider these questions: What kind of mood should the lighting create? What different activities take place in the room? What decorative elements do you want to attract attention to?

In general, to create an inviting atmosphere use five to ten light sources in every room.

To simplify your interior decorating decisions, there are lighting collections available with the same finish and style for pendants, chandeliers, wall-mounted sconces, as well as floor and table lamps. Using fixtures from the same collection within a single room creates a unified look and can save a lot of time searching.

To make rooms interesting, vary the height of the light sources in the room. The differing heights add depth and interest by creating separate areas of light and shade.

In most rooms, you should allow for varying intensities of light. Add dimmer switches or use three-way bulbs in lamps for flexibility. In addition, alternate switching patterns between general lighting, task lights, lamps, and accent lighting.
For example, while you are preparing food for a dinner party, you will need task lighting instead of accent lighting, but when the guests arrive, you will want to be able to switch off the task lights and turn on the accent lights.
Remember, because dark colours absorb light, you will need to use more lighting in rooms decorated with dark colors than rooms with light colors.

When lighting a room from the ceiling due to the ceiling's reflectance the room appears larger.

Conversely when lit from the floor or table lamps the room will feel more intimate.

Wall reflectance in large rooms is usually unimportant because of the rooms very size the walls will always seem distant however in a smaller room wall lighting is significant as it will appear to increase the size of the room, depending on the colour, or bring the walls in closer by causing focus on them.

Candles and Candelabra provide little light but the naked flame creates warmth and a romantic mood.

Why does directed light create mood more than overall or ambient light? Because it allows focus as well as illumination. With these two tools, features that evoke mood can be enhanced or reduced in their appearance.

Tricks include:
Concealed lighting. E.g. Behind pelmets to shine down drapes, lights fixed under tables eg side tables, lights fixed under permanent furniture eg cabinetry, or lights fixed under a couch, easy chair or coffee table.

Candles and Candelabra
These give little light but the mood is created by the focus on the candle and its holder as well as the warmth of a naked flame. Ideal for creating a romantic feeling in a bedroom or dining room.

To summarize, there are numerous factors to consider when selecting interior lighting. The interior decoration of a room, the furniture placement, the function and activities to be performed in the space as well as budgetary and aesthetic issues.

As long as you approach the task in a methodical manner, it should all be straightforward. Write down all the influencing factors, needs and wants for each room, use your plan and then set about creating the lighting for each space.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

How to design a great bathroom

Your bathroom is one of the most important and most used rooms in your home. It has to be functional for everyone in the house, or you will have chaos. You must keep everyone’s needs in mind when it comes to designing your bathroom. This goes for the small child who is not yet potty trained, to the adult who wants to spend some time in the tub soaking and for the fast paced teen on the go, needing a shower fast and without interrupting anyone else.

Along with keeping it organized and ready for whoever is intended, you should also think about the style that you want to use. What types of styles do you have to choose from? Functional is one style, simple, not cluttered areas is what a functional bathroom is.

A pampering bathroom is all about the adult, male or female. This is for those who want to be able to leave make up or shaving kits where you want them to be. Perhaps there is a radio, a place to set your coffee when you are dressing in the morning and even a hot rod, where you can place your towel to get warm for extra comfort when getting out of the shower.

Yet, another type of bathroom will be based on the needs of one who comes home very dirty and grimy after a long hard day at play or at work. In this bathroom, you will find a special rack for dark towels that won’t get stained, another rack for towels for after the shower if you would like. In this type of bathroom, you will find a hamper for the grimy clothes and one for the clothes you don’t want the grime piled up on top of. This is still a functioning bathroom, but one that fill a special need of the users.

If you are starting everything from scratch, then you need to think about where you are going to put the shower or tub, toilet and sink. You should map out the room first before you start. Having your floor plan ready before you start purchasing these important items, you will have a better idea of what you need and how much space you will have to work with. Think about the amount of space that you have available and what will be the best way to use it. This layout will also include planning for your plumbing.

Next, you should think about what colors you want to use and if you want a theme to be incorporated in your bathroom. Decide on themes that best suit the style the bathroom is going to be most occupied by. This is the fun part and one of the hardest. Making sure that all the items and accessories in the bathroom match can be a difficult task if you do not stick to your theme or color pattern.

When deciding what types of products to use in your bathroom, think about what your preferences are and what materials you like best. You should make sure that the tile and countertops that you choose are able to stand up to your daily abuse. Think about the type of flooring that you want and consider the fact that some materials such as shiny materials may not be slip resistant when wet. You may also want to consider what is going to be easier to clean and what is more practical for you and your family.

Choosing the right light fixtures for your bathroom may be a challenge also. Consider what kind of lighting you want to use in your bathroom and where you are going to need it. Keep in mind where your outlets are and where you will need the most light for your everyday needs.

The last step in designing the perfect bathroom for you is to add a few of your personal touches. Hang some pictures or place some fresh flowers or plants in the bathroom to add a warm and cozy feeling. This will make your bathroom complete and give it the final touches that it needs.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Interior Design and Decorating Lighting Planning in your Home - The New Room

The New Room Interior Lighting Planning
Before you embark on purchasing or deciding the lights that you prefer, look very closely at the room.

It is essential to have your furniture plan worked out before deciding on the light fittings and fixtures positions.

Allow for some general light, this is a light that is an overall source.

The general light has not had its light focused into a beam or set in a particular direction.

The light shines in all directions from its source without obstruction, glass and translucent shades are included in this.

A central light source on the ceiling providing general light for the room. It does make the room appear small as it does not highlight the corners of the room.

Then allow to highlight focal points with directional light, this is light that is focused and forced to travel in a particular direction by either a reflector or baffle. This may be a spotlight of any sort or a lamp with an opaque shade (not translucent) so that the light goes in a particular direction.

An option to make general light softer in a room is with reflected light, this is light that is bounced off another object usually a wall or a ceiling or it can be part of a fitting or bulb. It comes from a directional light source usually but has the light diffused by the reflection.

Rather than a spotlight shining directly onto an object the light is bounced off a wall or ceiling to subtly and/or softly illuminate rather than the full intensity of directional light.

Uplighters and downlighters are forms of spotlights that rely on the reflected light off the floor or the ceiling, although note that a downlight can be used to illuminate an object directly at a pinch.

Downlights come in all sorts of forms that give a narrow beam that spreads down to the floor. They are recessed or semi recessed and may be a feature or extremely discreet. Some have baffles or reflectors and are able to be angled to direct light to wash a wall i.e. a wall washer.
Uplighters can be freestanding or may be mounted directly to the wall and either fully shrouded or have a translucent shade giving an overall ambient light as well as a reflected light.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Interior Design and Decorating Lighting Planning in your Home - The Existing Room

The Existing Room
A number of options exist to illuminate the room without having to change fittings that are hardwired or permanent features and fixtures.

Using freestanding lamps and uplights we can enhance and focus on the features mentioned previously.

The Table Lamp
These come in all forms and sizes, and the shade can be a feature or selected to blend in with the existing decoration.
The lamp can be used to illuminate a corner or as a task light beside a chair for reading, writing or needlework.

The ideal positioning of the lower edge of the lampshade should be at eye level when you are seated - varying between 970 mm and 1007 mm above the floor.
Other features of the simple table lamp are that it gives three forms of lighting; uplight / downlight, task light or ambient background light.

This is especially useful if the lamp is attached to a dimmer.

The lamp can be used to illuminate a corner or as a task light beside a chair for reading, writing or needlework.

This is similar to left but is used more for placing in corners to make a room feel larger, or dividing up spaces when placed between two sofas for example.

The Free Standing Lamp
This is similar to above but is used more for placing in corners to make a room feel larger, or dividing up spaces when placed between two sofas for example.