Decorating Do’s & Don’ts Part I

LIGHT style

When designing your perfect space the fundamental design principals come in to play. Here we are going to take a look at a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to decorating your home.

Laying the groundwork with colour and style


I’m sure most people would like to think of their home as a reflection of themselves, however, with all the beautiful things on the market it is often hard to decide on a cohesive style. Start by assessing the space you are decorating and the overall feel you want to achieve. Remember to work with the space, not against it, look for opportunities rather than problems. Determine an overall scheme for the space; do you want it to feel light and bright, cosy, moody, quirky, dramatic, luxurious, contemporary, industrial, eclectic or a mix of the above? Magazines, blogs and catalogues are the best place to look for inspiration, but, remember to look for interiors that are similar in scale to the one you are working with. While I’m sure the luxurious pads of the mega rich are magnificent to look at let’s bring it down a notch to a scale we can work with.

CUSHIONS designshuffle

Next, pull together images of the look and feel you are trying to achieve; this is a great way of visualising the overall style and to see whether your ideas work together. Remember, you don’t want to just replicate something you’ve seen in a magazine or on a showroom floor try and be a bit daring and make the space your own.


Don’t be afraid of colour! Using colour is the most cost-effective and high impact way of updating the look and feel of any space. First, decide on either a cool or warm colour palette. Cool colours like blue, green and purple are known for their relaxing and calming effect while warmer reds, yellows and oranges stimulate and excite. Choosing a colour scheme early on will give you a direction keeping you focused as you begin to piece together your interior. In smaller spaces or spaces with low ceilings light coloured walls make the ceiling feel taller while dark floors recede, creating the feeling of a larger space. If you are lucky enough to have a larger space to begin with, or one with high ceilings you may want to experiment with darker walls for a more dramatic effect.


If you have chosen a monochromatic scheme, be sure to mix and match tones, textures and patterns to avoid the space looking static. Break up colour with metallic accents and textures to create a warmer, more inviting space. Use statement pieces such as a patterned ottoman, coloured floor lamp, rug or large scale artwork to instantly brighten up a room and create a harmonious feel.

Don’t break the bank

Before you buy anything, work out a budget. In most cases the budget will determine the limitations of the design, but remember, just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it will work in the space. Don’t buy straight off the showroom floor, from the same shop or all on the same day and don’t buy anything that you are too afraid to sit on, stand on or use. Instead, build your interior over time, with pieces that will make your house a home, achieving a more personal look that will avoid it looking too matching. They key is to know where to invest and where to budget. Invest in good staple pieces like your bed, couch and dining table and choose them first, this will help to determine the overall feel of a space. Throw in a few statement pieces for good measure and balance them with more basic items that blend rather than draw the eye in.

Design 101: Proportion and scale

The two key design principles proportion and scale are fundamental in determining whether a room is harmonious. If you’re ever looking at an interior and wondering why it just doesn’t look quite right ask yourself if the objects look too big or too small – this is the scale – and whether they look proportionate to other items in the space and then to the space itself. If not, chances are the scale and proportions are not right.


When selecting furniture, while considering the overall aesthetic and colour you also need to consider how it will fit in the space. If furniture is too large it will make the space feel small and unbalanced. Oversized furniture can work but only when you have the space for it, and if you’re lucky enough to, it will help to make your rooms feel cosy and bring them in. Smaller spaces or those with low ceilings lend themselves well to low line furniture which is great for making the space feel more open; think low couches and beds without large bedheads or bed ends. Wall hung furniture or those with thin legs, wire frames, transparent or mirror finishes create the illusion of space, while also reflecting their surrounds. Set these off with bright cushions or throws, metallic accent side tables, a patterned rug and a floor lamp to create a harmonious look.