Years ago, you would walk around a sofa store and try out the sofas that you are drawn to, sit …
Each and every client is different and I appreciate that I am trusted to be a part of something extremely personal – my clients’ homes and personal space.
My job is to fix a problem, whether that is to help with colour selections, spatial planning, how to redesign a kitchen, bathroom or build an extension.
These are the projects you would expect a designer to be involved, however, I am providing a solution to a problem that my client needs help with.
This could be let’s say, a client who has decorated before and has not found the right paint colour and instead of going out and buying lots of sample paints still not to find the right one, would like me to put forward suggestions that will work for them. This saves the client time going back and forth to the paint shop and buying those little tester pots to find they aren’t happy with any of the samples and frustration kicks in. I come in and save time and frustration!
Or I have a client who has extended their family and the kitchen isn’t working for them now they have two extra little ones and their two older children. They need the kitchen to work for all of them, a place where Mum and Dad can talk to their children whilst cooking, a place to do homework whilst having a drink and a bite to eat after school. An area to feed the younger babies and keep an eye on them whilst cooking.
Entertaining guests, so the kitchen needs to not only be suitable for a family with children of different ages it needs to be multi functional for family life and entertaining family and friends.
The project becomes much more than a new kitchen the design needs to address many different issues.
This is where hiring an interior designer saves you time, money and sometimes your sanity! Making hiring an interior designer a valuable part of your project!
Mixing different patterns and textures is a great way to create an eclectic feel to your room.
When making decisions on furniture have a think about using a fabric that is rich in colour and try different patterned cushions.
Some of the best design projects I have worked on my client loves the idea of using rich colours that make a real impact.
If you don’t feel confident investing in a sofa for example that is in a rich bold colour – you could try using cushions that you wouldn’t normally go for and go for bold!
If you are questioning the heavy patterned wallpaper you love and think it might be too much? Try a feature wall or you could create large pictures using the wallpaper of your dreams and frame in different sizes from large, medium to small to make an impact! Try using interesting and unusual frames for impact!
You can have some real fun and by doing things like this it will help build your confidence to go with what your gut originally told you to go for!
This is a concept design for a clients’ living room and it is a range of subtle and bold and mixing things up!
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This is a common question I get from my clients’. I often see on selling sites “Bargain Coffee Table & Dresser” – Brand new and asking usually about 80% of original price because the furniture is too big for the room! Problem is that it is still classed as second hand!
This is where you always need to measure! I have fallen short of this before too! Many years ago whilst doing up my own home! – A piece of furniture online can look so much smaller until you click on the specs and see that that cute armchair is actually huge!!! When I measure up for clients’, I will use objects on the floor from cups to coasters to show how big a piece of furniture will be? It can often surprise you either way. This is why it is so important to do such a simple thing. Even worse is when you’re out and the showroom is huge and the furniture looks small in proportion! This is when you need pen and paper and make sure you have those measurements down for when you return home!
Buying large items to make your room look big is the worst thing you could do! Let alone the cost of having to sell after at second hand price!
Scale back and first and foremost, I always go on about this but De clutter! Get rid of everything that has no sentimental value or purpose. Strip the room back to bare if possible. Even if you do one room at a time by removing the furniture into another room whilst you do your prep work. Sign up for my free monthly newsletter on tips on how to decorate the right way and in the right order! Saving you time and money whilst getting your room to look like you have had the Decorater’s in! – Simply visit: http://www.sophielouisainteriors.co.uk – Fill in the quick form and you will receive decorating tips, style tips, advice on designing different rooms, binge or good buy! Monthly freebies that you will make you love your home forever more!
Is your room a very light room? Or is it dark and has little light throughout the day? Often we tend to think if we paint rooms very light/white the light will bounce off the walls and your room will look larger! Not necessarily the case! Colours that are rich and warm will work well in making a room look larger!
Rich colours can actually make your room look larger, warm, creamy yellow can bounce back light. Rich deep colours can make a smaller room into a room that really says “I’m here!” In some cases painting the ceiling the same colour can work really well as can painting the ceiling a deeper colour to the walls.
Deep blues, burgendies, yellows, rich greys, oranges, salmon pink greens etc. Don’t be put off by greens by thinking ‘Bright bold green’. Think warm greens, sage, duck egg blue that can sometimes be more blue or green.
When going for neutral colours that are warm and rich think; Calico, beiges, titanium grey, french grey, almond, rice, victorian white, cotton white.
Keeping some of the furniture the same colour or curtains can help a room feel larger believe it or not! The radiator cover in the picture below is a perfect example of this! You could do the same for lamp shades etc! Accessories the list is endless but will have the desired outcome! Another idea is to use nests of tables so they can be brought out if necessary but put back together under one table! Great for small rooms!
Make your way upwards in your room if it is very small and use shelves, corner shelves, built in shelving! You can build upwards! Making the use of the space you have utilising your walls! Remember that if you are using your shelves for decorative accessories then go for ones in similar colours to the walls! This will create an optical illusion.
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How are we going to fit the in-laws in comfortably or your brother or Great Aunty Jean who checks every area for dust? Don’t worry, there are plenty of ideas and top tips to help you cope with this Xmas phobia! The feeling of dread looming at the lack of time left and the preparations ahead!
Firstly and it’s the obvious one! De-clutter! Go through all of the rooms, children’s rooms if you have them and go through the drawers and remove clothing that doesn’t fit anymore or pyjama’s that look like ankle bashers! Be brutal and have a good clear out! Get rid of the lotions etc that you still haven’t used from Great Aunt Jean’s visit last year!
Simple changes to a room where guests will be sleeping? Simply paint, update furniture that isn’t overly expensive. A new rug can change a room significantly and update bedside lamps too! New pendant light?
By doing this you have made a quick update or simply in the picture on the right you have decluttered and added white chairs instead of cream. Stained the table so it looks light and airy. These are really reasonable ways of updating what you have already and utilizing it!
Clean bathrooms and make sure you have easy wipes to hand as there will be high traffic and you’ll find you need to keep on top of the cleanliness!
You can use these in all of your rooms from your bedrooms to lounge and office! They help store items you need but don’t really wish to display. From paperwork to toys! The list is endless as to what you can use them for. A coffee table is a great way to use one! It does two jobs! You can have your drinks on there and a couple of books or magazines whilst hiding all of that clutter.
They had no intention of staying but somehow its worked out you need to use the guest room or make one up. Keep calm! Make sure you have clean sets of spare bedding, duvets and pillows. If you don’t have a guest room, invest in a blow up bed and pump so you can fit guests in to your home. Invest in some reasonable duvets and pillows and you can’t go wrong!
This is the fun part and if you’ve done the above and decluttered you should follow suit with the decorations! Sometimes less is more! You can decorate most of the house using really unusual pieces that add understated wow power!
Simplistic, gorgeous decorations! The green pearl cross, Birch light Trees and Star Jute Sack all from: http://www.rocketstgeorge.co.uk
I love these trees that come in bright or neautral colours that add a touch of fun! All available from: http://www.rocketstgeorge.co.uk
The beautiful Eucalyptus and winterberry garland and the white silver birch available from: http://www.thewhitecompany.com
These are so stunning and understated. Once you’ve had a good clear out of all of the rooms take a look at your Xmas decs and look to accessorise with them! Have some fun with using decorations you may not have used before. You can still keep your scheme traditional without it being garish. Go shopping for decorations like you are shopping for accessories for your home and you won’t go too wrong!
Above all – Enjoy planning! Do it in stages so you don’t feel overwhelmed get a pad and write down what you want to achieve in each room and set about it in stages.
Enjoy your Chrismas, guests and your home with new decs! Plenty of good food and wine! Have a wonderful time!
A good interior designer will bring a huge amount to the table from; where you need to start. Colours that work and why, furniture suggestions, spatial planning, soft furnishings, window treatments and accessories to name but a few! Troublesome rooms, inspiration at a time you feel like throwing that interior magazine away that you thought would save the day! When you feel overwhelmed with what is available and don’t know where to start little own finish!
A good designer will always listen to you and your thoughts about what you wish to achieve. At the same time it is really important that you listen to your designer when they explain why something will or won’t work!
I will always do my best to bring out of my client who says “I have no idea what I want but if you show me I will”.
Often most clients do have a good idea of what they like and dislike and by asking specific questions, I am able to get a clear idea from the client which way we need to proceed.
Sometimes a client will say “I know what I want but I can’t put it in to action” or sometimes my clients need confirmation that they are on the right path!
A good interior designer will show you how to put these ideas in to practice if you are looking for concept design only. Or if you’re looking for a designer to run a full project design. This is where your designer will get as much information from you as possible, measure all of the rooms that you wish to have designed. They look at spatial planning, what will work and fit the space. They will show you different finishes from flooring to paint and soft furnishings. They will come up with ideas for those tricky windows!
Interior designers are always trying to save their client’s time and money through not making costly mistakes. They will set a timetable of work and order so nobody who isn’t meant to be there is on site. They will make sure that the correct order of work is adhered to. Liase with all of the contractors and will always either have a great team of tradesman or subcontractors that they work with. They have a vast base of contacts that can make things happen where not thought possible!
Your designer will work through all the stages of work with you. If you are making changes that need to be completed at the beginning, for example any structural work to be done, knocking down walls, making the floors level, chasing electrical wires, changing sockets, adding new ones, switches, plastering etc. Lighting is crucial to address at the beginning and should never be an after thought. The layout for the lighting should be completed at the beginning of the design. Then they will discuss the timeline with you for decorating, flooring, ordering goods, lighting, artwork & accessories.
All of the above take time and planning! TV shows that give the impression the above work can be being carried out in a few days or a week are not realistic and all of the above takes time and planning. Using a designer to keep track of all of the above is a huge weight off of my client’s minds. They are kept up to date without the stress of making sure which tradesman should be there and when. Items those are faulty and need to be returned and replaced. I always allow a contingency budget for any project. Unforeseen problems are dealt with quickly and this leads to the client enjoying the design process and their experience.
Once all of the above is implemented then the furniture items can be put in place, lighting and accessories to finish off the scheme. This is when the whole process comes together and you will see the scheme that you have dreamed of! Sit back and enjoy your beautiful home! This is what makes designers happy! The tangible feeling that their client loves their new scheme/home.
There are a vast ranges of bathroom suites and products on the market. We have mirrors that are designed to plug our phones into and play our favorite playlists with USB ports. You can watch TV if you should wish to? It can feel overwhelming with the wide choice we have available to us!
We will all have different needs whether you are designing a family bathroom which, needs to be easy clean, durable. An en-suite for a couple with twin sinks or you may like to incorporate a shower and a bath in your en-suite so when guests stay you can take that relaxing bath without visiting the main bathroom.
You may love the idea of a free standing bath but you can’t get it to work with the shower you know you need to make that quick start for work. You might want a very deep twin sink unit but can’t fit this alongside the shower and toilet. There are ways to get around these things. Sometimes you may have to compromise and once you have a good idea of what you like you can start looking for products that are smaller, have less depth and you still get your twin sink! You may have to have to have the free standing bath in the main bathroom and have a bath with a shower screen so you can escape in your en-suite.
When choosing a shower screen I would suggest you go for a clear or glass reflective screen. This will make your bathroom feel bigger and if you are having to compromise down to space you will be very glad to maximize the larger feel to your bathroom.
The shower above has a glass reflective screen and you can see the impact this would have on making your bathroom or en-suite feel bigger.
Your bathroom should be a place of tranquility, you can use texture & form to create a wonderful visual interest whilst keeping it a relaxing environment.
You can use pattern and different types of tiles to achieve this. Tiles that have a wave running through them. From a bathroom mirror to bathroom light fixtures these can provide unique and unusual lifts to your scheme.
Bathroom heating which, has come a long way can bring not only a practical but aesthetically can be a wonderful bathroom feature.
Think about what you don’t need and make a decision that it has no place in your bathroom! Make sure you install heated towel rails in a place you can reach them after you get out of the bath or shower. The shampoo and shower gel holder is in the best place to reach it.
Soft, warm and rich colours should be used to make your bathroom a place of relaxation.
Do you need to think about a rail for anyone using your new bathroom to hold on to? There are a range of safety rails that look amazing and also cutting edge anti slip tiles for shower enclosures or wet rooms.
If you would like help or advice on creating the perfect bathroom get in touch through my website: http://www.sophielouisainteriors.co.uk
Also, a big thank you to Abode Bathrooms of Exmouth, Devon for all of the photos used in my blog.
This can be a tricky one as who wants to re- decorate when there is a new fad or craze? If you go for that cute paper with little characters on them or wallpaper that is designed in your toddlers favourite TV show! You know you’re going to be re-decorating in the next couple of years! I say steer away from wallpapering your toddlers room in their latest craze because trust me there they will be another craze to follow!
Themed rooms look great and if you don’t mind redecorating after a couple of years then no problem. These are fab rooms but remember I am talking here about not having to to do a complete room update!
As lovely as these rooms are! Your little one is going to grow out of them as quick as an adult grows out of that juice diet! Or drinking shakes all day to lose weight! In a couple of years they’ll be telling you “They are so over Spiderman or they have outgrown Barbie!” Those years fly by I can tell you!
When choosing flooring think before you decide to go for solid wood ! The sound of little one’s running riot upstairs above your living room or kitchen diner may need some serious thought! Spillages even though you have told them 100 times not to bring food or drink upstairs! Maybe best to invest in a carpet that can withstand lots of traffic and is stain resistant! I have used carpets that can be cleaned by bleach! That are still very soft and luxurious!
Think soft pinks, pale lavender for girls. Soft blues & warm greys that work perfectly for boys! The pictures below are perfect for a little girl toddler where you can use pretty accessories like flowers and heart shaped cushions. Lamps that have Barbie or whatever they are into. Bedding is a great way of doing this! The same for boys rooms, use cushions, clocks, letters with their initials for both girls & boys are great. Bunting too is a great way to add colour and brighten their bedrooms for toddlers. Even when they go on to school these can be updated for a more grown up choice. You can make your own prints to hang on the walls by getting your child to use the old fashioned technique of hand painting in contrasting bright colours and stenciling their initials as a fun and unique way of adding colour and a personal touch.
These rooms are beautiful for a small child and will see them through those more grown up years! From 5 years onward and they have a clear idea of what they like! You could accessorize these rooms with a Barbie cushion or Peppa Pig cushions! Football cushions a clock or a light globe for boys. There is a way around making these rooms more appropriate for your toddler! Add a bedside lamp/pendant lampshade that has their favourite character! Rugs, bedding & lighting.
As shown below! Maps and globes are great for that in between stage of going from toddler to starting school! You can have fun with them as well as teaching your child about the world. Makes for a fun game before bed! See how many places they can remember each night or talk about where you have visited or where after describing places they might like to visit?
A simple picture! You can add pictures of your toddlers favourite characters in the form of a super long canvas or decals that aren’t permanent!
The letters with your child’s name on are a great way to accessorize without having to decorate in a few years time! The images below for names or initials show you can go for a softer look but you can get bright,funky ones which add splashes of colour and can be made to look super cool!
Use rugs as an easy way to appease your toddler and an item that can be easily changed and can be updated to something more grown up. Using pirate bedding instead of pirate wallpaper will save you money down the line! You may need a quick freshen up of paint but keep it simple adding accessories like this are a much cheaper option than going all out an creating a toddlers themed bedroom based on their favourite cartoon character! Have fun, show your toddler a selection of accessories and ask which they like the most? Remember soft blues/ greys and pinks/pale lavender as a background so you want to add key pieces or accent colours. Also, these accessories look great against neutral tones! Less decorating down the line! Can only be a good thing! Scrubbing off the wallpaper they once loved so dearly a couple of years ago! Not so much fun!!!
The pictures below for boys & girls rooms that are great as they get older and out of that toddler stage and start school. Keeping the walls & background neutral during your child’s toddler years will enable you to update them quickly and at a reasonable cost. These are simplistic, beautiful schemes that aren’t too grown up and perfect for your little ones as they get older.
You can’t quite put your finger on it but you know it’s not right?
Read on to hear my take on our natural instincts!
The other day I had an experience that I couldn’t quite put in to words but I knew in my gut it wasn’t right, it wasn’t a good match! I listened to my gut after all that is why we have one to tell us instinctively why to do something or not!
Yet so many times in life we have that gut wrenching feeling that this is perfect and you can’t explain why but it works perfectly!
Most of the time there is a perfectly logical reason as to why something doesn’t work or the glove doesn’t fit!
Here’s a great example of two things that don’t work in our homes one with a very logical reason why? And one that is my gut telling me I don’t like it, it doesn’t work for me!
Hideous? Not practical. dodgy colours and some serious naff artwork? Going to need more than that little ladder to get to those books on the top shelf! There are lots of reasons here why this is not a good fit! You don’t need your gut for this one although someone out there thought it was a good fit! Were they thinking that when trying to reach the book on the top shelf that was; 101 design mistakes not to make?
Okay so this next design is my gut as I could look at this room and be interested by it and the use of mixtures of pattern and artwork but that would be it. My gut tells me a migraine would soon be on its way! I wouldn’t relax in here! In fact I would need to use a pillow to cover my eyes as would feel overwhelmed! This is my gut the other design as hideous as it was I based on logical principles!
My point is that just as in life we have those moments where something doesn’t feel right this can be applied to our homes too. After all design is subjective!
Here is a design that I love and we would call it eclectic! It’s not for everyone but my gut absolutely loves it! It breaks so-called design rules and I love it! Not for everyone and that’s my point! If it feels right for you and you love it and your gut screams YES! Then this is your design!
Now from a logical point of view I love this design for the practical reasons that I would only need a simple book ladder to reach my books! I love the simplicity of the design. The clever use of seating and the very subtle use of pattern and of artwork. Nothing would distract me from having a relaxing read here! Very logical reasons as to why I love this design!
After my encounter the other day that required me to go with my gut there can be a right logically that for you is wrong! Forget the logic if it doesn’t feel right then it very likely isn’t! No matter how much you try and sugar coat it to yourself! You’re not going to love it because you are told that you should for certain logical design reasons!
On the flip side there maybe plenty of logical reasons why something shouldn’t work but it does! If your gut is screaming at you do it then go for it as the likelihood it is going to work for you and after all it is your home, your sanctuary and if you love it, how can that be wrong?
Grey doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast! In fact I can see us still in love with it for many years to come.
Picking the best grey all depends on where you want to use it? I used a warm grey recently in a North facing room and painted the ceiling the same colour.
The picture here is of a beautiful large size room but we don’t all have these large rooms and I’d love you to try changing a small box room into something quite different! I dare you to paint the ceiling in a warm light grey the same colour as the walls.
It will give that box room an impact! Accessorise in reds or yellows or if you want to keep it subtle use layers of dark greys and whites.
Take a look at the clever use of colour using a dark grey & breaking it up with white!
I love this small bathroom using grey with splashes of red! Red and grey make a bold statement and work really well together in small spaces that you want to make an impact on but are not sure how? Keep it simple and it makes a killer statement!
When deciding on what shade of grey to go for and believe me there are 50! Think about what you want from this room? Bold a little daring or do you want to use soft, subtle shades? Are you looking for a relaxing place or a bold or vibrant feel? As you can see here the dark grey against the red looks fab in a small room. Can a large space take such a dark colour? Yes if it is broken up properly, white will always work well in doing this.
One of my favourite ways of using greys is with mink and copper or rose gold! This is what I would call a relaxing trendy yet warm scheme. Rose gold is very big this season and you can see why! Copper hasn’t disappeared and is still being used! It works well with lots of shades of grey but maybe not 50!
When you go to the paint shop where they love to use those fluorescent bright lights! Take your sample towards natural light. Better still select a few of your favourites and paint large swatches on a thick card if you don’t wish to have a stripey wall before you decorate! Look at the colour in natural and artificial light at night.
Team up the colours with some fabric swatches if you have them, if not maybe it’s time to order some in. Start building a collage together and you should be able to pick out from there what you feel will work the best for the scheme you are trying to achieve.