With home décor – as with art – there are no boundaries or limitations, no hard and fast rules. We can truly let out imaginations run riot and create the space we want through a combination of images, colours and designs.
That said, there are still some tried and tested methods that provide great results time and time again. And the great thing about them is that they don't require any particular skill or artistry – these are techniques everyone can do.
And once you're familiar with them, you can use them as the stepping stone to creating your own unique, individual space.
Image by: Alex Beattie
Choose the Paint Colour Last
It's true that a lot of people moving into a new property are obsessed with choosing the colour of the paint before they move in. There's logic to this and it makes sense – you'd want to relocate to a new abode that's been given a fresh lick of paint.
The reality, however, is that there's a mind-boggling array of paint colours, all comprising various shades, tints and tones. All of them look different and vary from home to home, often because of varying light sources – so the colours that worked in your old home might not necessarily work in your new one.
You'll also want to select a colour that aesthetically works best with the property, and that means working in conjunction with the furniture, decorations and art work. But you can only really do this when everything's been arranged in your home.
Give Furniture Breathing Space
Appreciating the aesthetic splendour, carefully planned design and well-chosen artwork in a home is best enjoyed when there's room to manoeuvre. In other words, resist the urge to cram too much in and overcrowd a room. There's no need to fill up as much space as possible – which will actually be a blessing for the majority of us who have to be cost-conscious.
It would be wiser to spend a bit more on fewer, better quality, more eye-catching pieces than overload a room with a million items of bric-a-brac from here, there and everywhere.
Hang Artwork at the Right Height
Museums and galleries hang artwork so it's 57 to 60 inches from the floor, because the average human eye level is 57 inches – so when presenting artwork in your home, it makes sense to do the same.
If you’re having problems hanging your art pieces at a height that looks pleasing, take a photo as this can make it a lot easier to reveal where you're going wrong. You could even use an app or Photoshop to draw on the photo to give you a sense of perspective, if things can be adjusted and if you might require a bigger or smaller piece of art.
Resist the Urge for a Theme
The very nature of doing the same as a lot of other people and creating a theme for a room immediately means it lacks any real individuality. Try to create a space that's truly yours, embracing any quirks, idiosyncrasies or unusual flourishes. Different is good, so fashion a room that reflects the real you and is something you can genuinely call your own.
A Focal Point
With design and artwork, there will always be certain contenders that demand on holding centre stage and being the main attraction. So let it be.
If there's an item of furniture or artwork that's the inescapable star, let it be the focal point of the room's design and just let everything else take a supporting role around it. Trying to draw attention to everything in the room will only result in a visual cacophony.
Think About Sight Lines
Any focal point should be clear for each room, so there's a natural fluidity between them – and that's the main reason the best place for a focal point is generally above the entrance of a room.
Be Ruthless with Collectibles
Heirlooms, antiques and collectibles which have passed through generations of a family often take centre stage just because there's a perceived sense of obligation that it has to go SOMEWHERE. If it doesn't work and looks out of place, then find a new home for it. Every component of the room should work together.
As Coco Chanel once quipped about accessorising: "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off." Knowing when to stop is one of the key qualities of good design.
A Room of Varying Scales
So often have we made a purchase we thought would fit effortlessly into our home – only to discover it sits more like an unsightly, garish elephant in the room, or simply that it’s too small to have any real aesthetic potency. Here, displaying furniture, objects and art that are of contrasting, varying scales and proportions will go a long way to creating a room that's vibrant, dynamic and interesting.
Let There Be Light
Professional designers often create an evocative mood by building up layers of lighting and this creates an interesting and varied space. Variation in lighting dynamics is key – for if a room has everything evenly lit, nothing in it will make an impression. Creating two focal points – a primary and secondary – is a good idea, and you can always generate further interest with the ambient lighting of a table lamp, for example.
Be Bold and Experiment
Similar to art, truly great interior design is defined by being creatively bold and making a personal statement. It's also about having fun and experimenting with different styles, approaches, furniture and art, so you get a personal idea of what works and what doesn't.
The best spaces and décor generally mean eschewing the standards and norms of conventional spaces and crafting something that's distinctive and possesses that undeniable 'wow' factor.
At Art Gallery, we have a fantastic range of affordable, original art by talented British and international artists – and we're guaranteed to have a piece that will fit into your home, whatever your home décor or design.