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Why your White Walls & Furniture Don’t Look White At Home

If you have decorated a room recently or bought a piece of furniture for its colour, you may have been gravy disappointed when in the evenings you get home and it doesn’t look like the same colour it did when you either first saw it or it may look different to how it does in the daylight.

One of my favourite subjects is lighting and recently I found a new product that has excited me enough to actually write a blog post about it!

If you have been replacing your lights with LEDs recently and noted how dull your whites are in the evenings (or a completely different colour altogether), the reason why is because LED’s cannot render white.

A new LED on the market that was used to refurbish the Oxford Ashmolean has been developed to render white and can show the true colour (or daylight colour) of your fabrics and wall paints. The product is called Soraa and I have actually seen for myself how a lower “lumen” output actually creates a much brighter light bulb when directly compared to another market leading LED bulb manufacturer (it was a Phillips).

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As a designer, I really consider whether the end result is a success or not and the light used to illuminate the life within my client’s homes plays a big part in whether they are happy with what they see when they walk through the door.

If you are trying to hide non-matching whites, this isn’t for you, but if you are trying to see the brilliant and most true colour of an artwork, painting, fabric or anything else, then this is currently the only way with an LED bulb.

If you are interested in DIY or just love creating a beautiful home (or have a total nerd interest in lighting like myself) I wrote a blog post about lighting a while back which you can read again here:

How To Solve A Zoning Issue At Home

Zoning issues arise from the way we use our homes. It could be that you bought a home that was in the right area but the house itself never really worked for your family. It can happen if your family grows and changes and your home cannot be altered to deal with those changes (I.e. you rent the property and can’t add or remove walls or extend).

Being limited by the layout of a home that doesn’t work for your family is where zoning issues really arise. One home could be a perfect fit for the lifestyle of one family but may be totally wrong for another family. It is also interesting in the way that more often than not, I see the families blaming lack of storage or the size of the house as the main issue.

The reality is that your lifestyle can be altered for better or worse by the layout of your house. Take a person who struggles to go upstairs and give him or her a large open plan, ground floor without many obstructions where they can easily go into each space. Now put that same person in a 5 story, narrow, terrace house with a limited or largely terraced garden and the same person becomes hugely limited in how much of the home he or she can experience freely, mixing up private and public zones by way of necessity.

Another example is if you work from home and have people in and out all day, but are limited by those people having to enter the house a particular way whilst also not being able to alter the property due to it being rented or shared with others. Arguments arise over items left in areas that are visible to guests (public zone) and tidiness becomes a much bigger issue.

The Victorians were masters at public/private zoning. They had sculleries, hidden hallways, secondary stairs, all for back of house duties that could be hidden from daily view. When we design hotels and commercial or stadium buildings, we also create back of house areas hidden from public view where other duties can be performed without the disruption of other tasks.

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Our desire for open plan living is influenced by the modernist movement, but those original layouts and homes were exceptionally well thought out and when analysed, still had very specific and clear public and private zones or separation by way of screens or circulation.

So how do you live happily in a zone-less house or a house where your public and private zones are all muddled up? It is more a creative and design process that is required, but if you want to give it a go on your own, here is a place to start:

  1. Think about the most important daily functions required of each space. For example, a living room may also be an entry hall, study space for children as well as a relaxation space in the evenings for parents as well as where guests are invited.
  2. Work out which functions aren’t working the best or which cause the most arguments. If we use the same space above work out if it’s the lack of a functional entry hall which is causing lots of items to be left in the living room or whether the location of a TV and the only comfortable chair for relaxing are in the same room and yet one person needs quiet and another likes to watch TV really loud.
  3. Once you identify some functions, habits and possibly practical issues about how you are using the space, think about how to relocate some of those functions to other areas (such as a quiet, comfortable reading space).
  4. The next step is to think about the practical requirements of each space. An entry hall is very important in a home and yet, at least here in England many homes are too small for an entrance hall or the walls have been removed to create an open plan living space, removing the separation between those zones. Try some creative storage ideas or separate with a screen or piece of furniture that can act as a “dumping” ground for when entering the house.
  5. Finally look again at the main problem space and try to filter out the final issues. Can you rearrange the furniture to create some privacy or perhaps make the space more social. Could you child’s desk also double as a lovely shelving unit for other display or personal items?

Give it a go. You might have to try the process a few times, but don’t give up, as your quality of life will change, you just have to have a good look at how you are using the space!

Here is a fun exercise for you:

Identify an item in your home that doesn’t have a specific place to be or live, it could be a hat, blanket, anything that you use but hasn’t got a real home. Watch it over 2 weeks to see where it moves to.  How much energy did it take to find it and how much energy did it take to think about where it was if it was in a different location each time?

 

How Different Colours Make You Feel (with a free worksheet)

We are surrounded by colour, in our homes, workplaces, schools, shopping centres, museums, streets, TV and online. It really is a part of our day.

Did you know that we feel and absorb the colour we see around us? We are stimulated, energised and relaxed by certain colours. Wearing or being exposed to a colour can change our mood and enhance our health and wellbeing. I know personally when I see colourful food, I immediately feel energised, excited and healthy!

Violet

The shortest wavelength it affects our bodies in a calming and balancing way. Historically purple was associated with regality – such as kings and queens as it was an expensive colour to turn into a fabric, yet these days we may associate it with old ladies and lavender! Violet is an amazing colour it suppresses our hunger, helps you to cool down and is even known to have antiseptic and purifying effects on us. This is also the colour that stimulates creativity and imagination.

Blue

Being the world’s most popular colour we find blue calming, cooling and relaxing, but did you know that dark blue has pain-healing and anti-inflammatory effects on us?

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Green

When we think of green, we think of trees, leaves, grass and nature, so no wonder the effect of green on us is a feeling of balance and equilibrium. I once read that looking at the green in nature relaxes our eyes. How amazing that we can have such a strong physical reaction by looking at something green?

Yellow

Yellow is a motivating and stimulating colour. We associate it with brightness, warmth and sunshine. It is a truly energizing colour for us.

Red

Did you know that red is the most physical of all colours? It has the longest wavelength and emits the slowest vibration of any colour. In daily life, red signifies love, danger, pain and heat. Red makes us feel warm but can also make us feel irritable!

Interior Lighting Design 101

100% of my clients request guidance with lighting when we start on their project. It hadn’t occurred to me before I started working for myself that this was something people didn’t really know about.

Lighting is one of those things you definitely need to consider at the earliest stages of your design, this is because how you visualise the end result plays a vital role in what elements you actually see, and the ambience you create, but also because lighting control and automation and the technical requirements to fit specific types of lighting, need a lot of thought and design, “behind the scenes”.

So if you love DIY or want to give your home a lighting makeover here is the information you need to start:

Detail & Continuity

Think of each room separately but the whole house as a whole idea. For example, you know that you want a lit up wall behind the TV as a feature in the evening to create a mood in the living room, but if you walk out of the living room to the hall or into another room, how does that idea carry through? Perhaps just having the option of dimmers in the other rooms means that during the times where you like to have some mood, you have the choice to dim some of the other lights around the create an ambience in the entertaining areas of your home.

Wired Or Wireless Control

Most of the lighting you see is invisible, so consider how your lighting will function. I wish I could say that every electrician my clients have used got the lighting design right 100% of the time (first time). Currently, my stats are way below that. LED technology has changed a lot in the last few years and things like the specific type of drivers and or loadings can confuse the average sparky if they aren’t used to doing more than old-school wiring. Even the best electricians that I have worked with have gotten things terribly wrong and have had to come back to fix up the lighting on a job. This doesn’t really come down to complexity or your design either, it comes down to specific products and the availability of information to install the products correctly. If your electrician has priced your job on supply and installation, remind your electrician that it is his responsibility to purchase the correct drivers and pay for any work associated with re-doing parts of the project (including removing a whole ceiling and re-plastering once he has re-wired) and make sure you have that in your contract (especially for larger jobs). I’m talking 100% get something wrong…

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Luminosity & Brightness

Understandably this is a little harder (only for now) as we change over from WATTS to Lumens. My rule of thumb, for now, is to stick with the WATTAGE for the old school Tungsten bulbs, mainly because we all understood the language of a 25 WATT and a 100 WATT bulb. So my rule of thumb with LED is that anything under 500 will be relatively dark and anything over 500 will give you the amount of light you were used to with anything above a 60WATT bulb and aim for over 1000 Lumens if you want something as bright as a 100WATT. (That is just my rule of thumb if that doesn’t make sense to you the helpful chart below from thelightbulb.co.uk might be better for you):

And this helpful chart from https://www.thelightbulb.co.uk/resources/lumens_watts/

Size & Scale of Your Light Fitting & Lighting Direction / Effect

This is where newbies get it really wrong. Usually, the complexities of associating or imagining the scale and or space mean that things look wrong when they are installed or don’t look or work the way you had hoped. This is where good old-fashioned facts come in and they help you get it right every time. Just measure the space, measure the light fitting and understand how the light emits from a chosen fitting. A lampshade has different shapes and diffusers to soften and adjust the light, so play around with the specific effects and variations.

Bulb Type & Colour

There are lots of different light fittings and bulbs and the type you choose will depend not only on the application but also on the mood you wanted to create when you designed the space.

The height of your ceilings will affect how much light you see at the human level and different light types have different colours of light. I have had lighting manufacturers and even lighting designers change the lighting specification behind my back (or throw in another colour because they ran out of the one we needed on an order). Get your builder to check every single bulb and light fitting that you buy (especially if they are LED) and ensure they match your specification. You WILL notice that one light or two lights are different, if not straight away, further down the line when its too late to ask about it.

My rule of thumb for now is use a 3000Kelvin colour bulb for the most natural looking LED light. Its whiter than the yellow bulbs we were used to, but the colour rendering (the correctness of the colour you are seeing under the artificial light, is more accurate and less yellow) and we are starting to get used to the light not being so yellow these days (and even though I was hatin’ at first, I have smoothly transitioned into the less yellow world myself).

Your Home. What’s It All About?

I found myself designing a large space the other day. I didn’t have control over the architecture, only the interiors and it had very little in terms of architecture to work with. Large flat square open spaces that had to be filled with life fit for a family to create their lives in and to call their dream home. What I found myself asking is “What is it all about?”

What I meant by that was “What is this space going to be about”? We can create gorgeous spaces for any reason, but this will be a family home. I had to think about how people will live in it, how they will use the spaces, imagine a family gathering on the weekend for lunch or on a weekday morning for breakfast. Where would I want to be? Where would be my favourite place if it was me?

I have also recently started demolishing my kitchen (YAY!) and I found myself thinking the same thing, what’s it all about? Where do I start with my dream kitchen in this home? (I believe that pretty much everything is site specific – that’s my second-year archi lecturer right there Elizabeth Musgrave, I’m still in love with her!) I find designing for myself the hardest because I seem to always break all of my own rules and things end up taking longer and there’s too much trial and error! But I realized that the kitchen is the brightest part of the house and that is why I want to love it so much. I can’t wait to knock down that badly installed partition with the door that doesn’t close and get new windows that have thinner frames so that as much light can come into our relatively dark English home.

Some houses have a view that is so spectacular its pretty obvious what idea you are going to run with when designing the spaces, but what if there really isn’t that much that is truly special about a space? Its up to you to create the something special. And that is true creation.

Working with a site’s existing qualities such as the sun, view, or orientation is how I was taught to start the design process for any new building. It was called site analysis. (It’s a pity the developer who built our 16-year-old home here in Berkshire hadn’t been taught the same). That means, most buildings are at least sited properly to take advantage of the natural environmental qualities. In the two situations above, I didn’t have control over that, so I had to create an idea or maximize the effect of a failed one. So we know in my home I am going to try and get the most out of the little bit of direct sunlight we get in that room, but what about the new build where I was working on the interior?

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My thoughts rested on the kitchen/dining space which was actually too large with too many doorways to be truly gorgeous and functional at the same time. What if there weren’t 40 doors into this kitchen? What if the space was slightly smaller to accommodate a feeling of togetherness rather than a large empty hallway?

You see this was a 5 bedroom home for a family. Families have “stuff”, useful and annoying but they need space to put it. I have worked with the most amazing large families with literally no stuff. They are a very rare breed of human. The family who will live in this house will most probably need to put their “stuff” somewhere and that comes down to me and what I decide at this very early stage. So I used the opportunity in providing storage to define the spaces a little more. This made some spaces smaller, but also more functional, (no one needs to walk 25 steps from the oven to the fridge, seriously). By the end, I managed to create a happy balance between the empty large hall (kitchen) and functional, habitable rooms, but it needed an idea to close up the space, which isn’t something I would have naturally considered. So stay true to your idea as it is a clue to how to improve or create a great space.  In the large family home the spaces were too large and impractical, so my idea was to use something practical to define the space and make it useful as well as beautiful and in my home I thought about why I liked that space (even though its all peach pastiche) and I realised it was the light.  “Get your idea and run with it”  That’s Elizabeth once again (circa 2002).

Two Ways To Choose Paint Colours For Your Home

Some people find choosing paint colours easy and others can change their minds a million times before finally deciding on an option.

There really are are an unlimited number of ways to choose paint colours for your home. But sometimes you just want to narrow down the choice and make it a bit easier for yourself. You have enough stress with builders or decorators on site (heaven forbid you are living amongst your renovations) add children, noise and dust into the mix and one day of this is enough to throw every colour chart out the window and leave it to the builder to decide! (NB – as a rule don’t do that!)

Hopefully, this will break it down for you enough so that you can make a confident choice about what colours to paint your walls.

Work with something you already have in the room. This is a great option if you already have a stand-out piece of furniture, had previously invested in expensive window furnishings or have a dominant floor or fireplace. Even if you don’t like the colour of the main item in the room, if it is staying, it is worthwhile taking it into consideration, and sometimes it narrows down the options so as to make choosing colours for your room quite easy!

Don’t forget that a large floor covering will impact your wall colours and vice versa. So you should really know what colour you are working with if using an existing large surface. So what to do?

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Once you have chosen your item that you are working around (floor, a piece of furniture, natural timber wall panelling or even a view through large windows)!

The next step is to understand what basic colour that item is. I mean basic as in what primary colour does it stem from is it red, blue or yellow? If you genuinely can’t tell then try a secondary colour, green, purple or orange. If you have beige floor tiles, try to figure out if they are pinky or yellowy? Try to trace every item colour back to a primary colour and then at least you can understand what colour you are working with and what has been added to it to make it the colour it is.

Then you will need to know if the colour is dirty (aka muted, shaded, muddy) or clean. All colours that have had black added to them will be a muddier or dirtier colour. This is important to know because clean colours and muddy colours rarely look good together! So once you decipher whether the existing colour you are working with is dirty or clean, you will now be able to disregard a whole batch of colours (phew!) *There are exceptions, but I won’t go into them here!*

Now you have to look into the future a little and imagine how you want the room to look or feel. You probably have a few ideas and have an inspiration image to guide you. Once you have chosen one or two adjectives to describe your space use these to help decide on your colour scheme. For example, I want my room to feel bright, warm, cosy, comforting, serene etc…

Now you can choose up to 3 colours. You can choose one light, one mid-tone and one darker shade of different colours or of the same colour or choose 3 light, mid-tone or dark shades, that help you achieve your desired mood. The key is to test them with large samples in each room (yes they will look different in every room). I have to admit, I will usually choose more colours than I end up using, but I always like having the flexibility of choice! I also like the complexity of colour, so I will push some ideas to the limit.

Now you have some easy steps:

1. Find out what basic colours you are working with.
2. Know whether your colour scheme is muted or clean.
3. Know your end result and how you want your room to look and or feel.
4. Have 3 shades to work with that look great with your existing item.
5. Test them in every room with large samples on the surface you are planning on painting with that exact colour (and visit them during different times of the day).
6. Make a decision. Yes, you have to make one!
7. Use your furniture, soft furnishings in the room to balance the colours by either toning up or down.

Once your furniture goes back in, you will have a chance to really have some fun by enhancing certain areas with your colour palette. Putting furniture in and styling a room is a whole new topic too, so that is for a different day!

Next week I will share another way to choose paint colours for your home by starting from scratch! If in the meantime you want to know what to do before choosing paint colours, you can read that blog post here.

If in the meantime you want to know what to do before choosing paint colours, you can read that blog post here.

Why A Simple Spring Clean Can Change Your Life

Its Finally Spring here in the UK. Yep, I am going to get all cliché on you and give you my best tips and time saving strategies to get the most efficient jobs done in one day – so that you don’t spend your whole weekend cleaning (and exhausted) just to go back to work the next day! Why bother?

Here are some of my reasons to bother with a really good spring clean:

Having a dirty home can affect your health.

Just getting rid of dust, cleaning curtains, linens and carpets means that a year’s worth of dust which has settled in areas you don’t clean too regularly will be removed finally! If you don’t do it now, when will you do it?

Dirt can hide damage to your building envelope and can limit the amount of light entering your home.

Some cracks around the home can be harmless. If you have little patches of plaster on the floor, maybe behind a sofa or cupboard, you could easily miss it if you haven’t cleaned or even looked at that area in a while!

I also love having clean windows, especially in Spring, your really notice how much more light comes in. I never had this problem in Australia, but here in the UK the diesel cars really dirty the window and window sills.

Also, mould can cause real health problems not only to you but to your building!  Read more in my blog post “Lifestyle habits to help you reduce mould in your home”

Dirty and cluttered surroundings can play on your subconscious mind and make you grumpy and negative.

If you are anything like me, when you see that pile of clothes on the floor (that everyone else seems to be able to ignore), or that dust pile in the corner of the bathroom, I think to myself “I need to get around to cleaning that”. Not only does that interrupt your thought process from whatever you were thinking about (which is probably way more important than “I gotta clean that”) you also bring your self down and get negative, especially when the thoughts turn to “someone else has to clean that” or “what a pig”. Wouldn’t it just be better to walk up the stairs and think, wow, what a beautiful day, it smells so fresh and clean up here.

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It’s an opportunity to purge.

Yes I love Kon Mari and those two cleaning ladies Kim and Aggie and I have to admit that Id rather be watching “How clean is your house” rather than actually cleaning mine, but the last time I actually purged my wardrobe, I genuinely recycled and gave to charity more than half of what I had. I had just gotten so busy with moving from the flat to the new house that lots of it was still in boxes, the other derelict, ripped pieces were ”working clothes” that I kept for renovating , which came to an abrupt halt about 8 months ago…

My point is here that it is an opportunity to just finally get rid of that stuff, purging your sanity, home and life, making you that little bit more free.

The mess can waste your time.

So can living in cluttered space. Trying to find things, moving one thing to reach another, not bothering to get something at all because its just too difficult to get to… yep, I am ashamed to say that I have experienced it all (and still do). I also find things that I thought I should keep when I was moving “just in case” and now look at it a year later thinking ”really, why would I keep that – this is junk!” . A personal example is that I still haven’t renovated my kitchen but I find myself storing empty yoghurt pots for when I get a chance to paint again (once the kitchen is complete of course). Neither one of these things is on the horizon in the next 6 months, so I’m sure Il collect enough yogurt pots when the time comes – for now, they are taking up prime location in the little storage I currently have in my 16 year old, tiny kitchen.

This is usually also more critical in small spaces and smaller homes.  If you want to read some lifestyle tips on living in smaller spaces, you can read those here.

It gives you a point in your life to press “reset”

Sometimes you just get to a point and you think, things need to change. Doing a spring clean can be a good precursor to that change. It give you time to think, re-evaluate what your goals are and why you are doing what you are doing in your life. It makes you think, “why am I holding onto these items?” or “I remember that I love to play squash, I should make time for that again.”  Looking around at your surroundings can be a trigger for changing your life.  I wrote about how noticing my surroundings changed mine when I wrote my post “Can your surroundings change your life?

Right, so I have given you some good reasons to do a spring clean, but I will give you a week for this information to sink in and hopefully motivate you. Next Week, I will give you an action plan that you can follow.

Today, set a date – see it as a time for change, a day that things are going to move and shift physically and emotionally.

Bedroom Before & After – With tips & Ideas to create beautiful and functional spaces

We all love a good before and after. Many big transformations can take time and are most often unbelievable or difficult to imagine. What could you imagine when looking at the above picture? What would you have created if you were asked to provide a bedroom with lots of storage, a study/home office space with book shelving and a brighten up a long room? (P.S. A wide angle lens for the after photo helps too).

Many see this room as too small, messy or dark and feel they could never make it perfect. Below are descriptions of what I did to the room to make it brighter and more functional. Keep in mind that pretty much everything inside the room went back in there except I changed the desk for a different desk and hid a lot of it in the storage (the bike got stolen within a day of locking it outside … good old London).

1. Built-in storage concealed behind large sliding doors can make a room feel bigger than it really is and save space as the doors don’t open out. Here the high gloss white doors reflect the light from the window, bouncing light around the room.

2. Framing a room can make it feel smaller, so in small spaces its best to keep open shelves to a minimum if you want to make the area feel neat. Instead I created a vertical line with the book shelving, so the room feels taller and more open, especially as previously this end of the room had a tunnel effect.

3. A designer tip is to match your sheets with one of the base or highlight colours of your room. This will make it all look as though its been thought out.

4. Track lights can be really versatile for rooms with multiple uses as you can direct them in different ways. These were the cheapest we could find and they were from IKEA (but still cost over £200!

5. Thinking ahead is really important if you plan on concealing power cables and positioning switches in convenient locations. We reconfigured the lighting in the room by removing the ill placed pendant at the end of the room and positioned the track lights along one wall. We also added lighting above the artworks which doubled as bedside / reading lights.

6. Try integrating minor colours into adjacent rooms to give a natural sense of flow between spaces.


7. Open bookshelves can look really messy, but if you have a lot of books, try containing it to one area and play with organizing them in interesting ways. The open shelving here was set back to make the darker / heavier area with the bookshelves appear less heavy. Looking back now, I could have styled the books better before I took the photo – but you can see it here, fully loaded and very used!

8. Reflective surfaces close to windows can act like mirrors. Light colours help to reflect and make a room feel larger – (but don’t be fooled – high gloss dark colours can also make a room feel larger – just not brighter).

9. Ensure there is enough room for your spaces to function properly. A room can be beautiful to look at, but success comes from getting it practical as well as beautiful.

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10.  If you aren’t confident with colour but want to use it, keep the base pallet simple and use colour in accents or decorative items.

Just because you want a room to be beautiful AND functional doesn’t mean you have to compromise. As long as you have a clear direction and a good design to work with, your design project will almost certainly be a success. Many people think that a room project must be complete with all of the decorative items in place or else it wont feel “complete”. As long as you hold onto your vision, even if on a budget, you will be able to keep working towards your goal, working on each item at a time.

And just a few not so great photos of the completed room to prove that it is the same room!

I would love to know what you would have done differently.  Everyone’s personality, requirements and tastes are different, so if I designed the space for you, how would it have ended up?  Email me and let me know.

Eastern Interior Design and Architecture

On my way back from Australia to the UK, I flew via Abu Dhabi with Etihad airlines. As a designer, I am always obsessed with the interiors of planes, boats, hotels, airports and embarrassingly, even the backdrops of movies that I’m supposed to be watching.

On the plane, while everyone around me stared with suspicious eyes, I watched every recent Hindu, Arabic and Chinese movies that I could, so that I could get as much information about the interiors of these cultures as possible.

I understand that what I see in movies is quite shallow, but having worked on hotel designs, conference centres and airports for projects in Croatia, Egypt, Oman and Abu Dhabi and having never actually set foot in any of those countries (besides in transit), I am still totally obsessed with the interiors of cultures around the world and can’t keep my eyes off them.

One thing I noticed, is that many modern and contemporary interiors from China, Japan, India and the Middle East seem to still reflect Western trends. I am not sure why I expected to see more culturally significant and traditional decorations in the homes I saw, but I was definitely surprised to see the modern, luxury, toned down to an elegant and refined design that exuded cool in a sophisticated way.

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This lead me on a path to research Eastern contemporary architecture and interiors and what did I find? Weaved in between the modern looking interiors are many elegant and beautiful cultural additions.

For example, in Islamic domestic designs, I found that the zoning and layout of spaces is very important, as is the use of Arabesque art and structural arches and domes. The privacy aspect of this culture is so beautifully reflected in their homes and I have to admit, the best interior mood lighting design that I have seen around the world!  Just imagine patterned screens within arches, backlit with strip lighting to provide an even glow… amazing.
In Chinese contemporary design, space is quite the commodity and so innovation with built-in furniture becomes quite prevalent, as is Feng Shui, which also pushes to clear clutter, position furniture in particular ways, add living plants and decorate with the five elements. This creates beautiful, open spaces, usually very well organized with little clutter and the most gorgeous use of timber that I have ever seen.

In India, architecturally, the courtyard style home is still quite prevalent, not only because it is a traditional layout but because it is climatically functional and creates spaces which are totally in tune with nature. These contemporary interiors are light and bright and to me, totally inspiring as architecturally intelligent machines.

I am totally obsessed with Eastern architecture and design! I need more and more and more and this trip has lit a new spark in my fervour for design. I hope I have lit that spark of interest in you too.  Lets see where this goes!

An Interior Colour Combination That Just Works

In architectural offices I have heard really basic things like “I know how to use colour, I did go to kindergarten”. What people say and what they do however is very different, because what I see in designs all around me is the lack of confidence and knowledge to use colour successfully or in a really satisfying way.

With today’s post I just wanted to give you a few different pallets as a go-to guide, so that you can bookmark this page and come back to it when you are choosing colours for a project and dare to do something a little bit different.

So I will start with a typical Monochrome Interior.  Yes, as the name suggests we use only one varying colour. Typically we think of Scandinavian style interiors which are known for confidently using black and white with shades of grey or white on white on white or different shades of timber on white.

Let’s see what you can take away from this when it comes to colour? Whether you are drawn to this type of look or not, there is a good design lesson here! If you are considering decorating and you just want to keep the walls white or predominantly white, (like many homes here in the UK, besides developer magnolia), you can still introduce a colour scheme that is beautiful – even if your home isn’t an architectural gem. What is the end result you are looking for?

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Let’s say you are looking for a bright, Scandinavian style, which is predominantly monochrome but want some textural and natural materials. If all the whites are the same – you can use any colour of timber to highlight your space, as long as they are in the same tones. Imagine the white walls as a canvas and backdrop (check the blog image at the top as an example).

I’m only speaking about colour here, one of the reasons why this interior also works is because there is lots of texture in the white elements that creates different shades of white and grey due to the shadows, but that is for another discussion!

Lets now say that you have been living with this style of interior and want a bit of a change and would like to introduce a new element into the design. If we use the same principles of only adding one more colour or tone here is the result:

scandinavian-style-living-roomSo here, a blue-grey has been added in different shades and tones. Can you see that it still works? The success here is that large amounts of the grey/blue were added and so again, that is another discussion we can have on the percentages of colour required in a room in order for the colour to look right!

Focus Jo… I know I get a bit too excited about this stuff, so now, let’s say that this is still looking a little too monochrome for you and after living with it for a while you just want some splashes of colour.

colours-interiorsBoth dark or light tones will work! Both cold and warm tones will work!

Try adding one colour at a time and see how much of it the room can “handle” – this doesn’t vary by rules – it varies by personality. After doing this work for almost 2 decades, I know that there are different personalities and some believe that pastel pink is a bold splash of colour and others believe that a whole room painted in gold and purple stripes is a bold splash of colour. Isn’t this fun?