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Why These Everyday Household Items are Ruining Your Interior Design

I have heard myself repeating these things a lot lately, so it made me realize that it’s not something many people know about!

If you are choosing items for any space including your kitchen at home – keep in mind that the following items are not “neutral” or clear – they actually have a very strong presence in a room and they have a colour that you need to take into consideration.

GLASS

The thicker glass gets, the more you see the green tinge that it naturally has. On architectural projects, I will always ensure to specify low iron glass which will be more clear rather than green. If you like the green tinge, it can work beautifully on projects, but unless you take it into consideration, it could turn your pink beige bathroom tiles a dirty looking colour when you look through the glass. In architecture and interiors, its always important to know your materials and what you are working with.

ARTIFICIAL LIGHT

Artificial light has colour. This is usually referred to as the temperature of the light. Think back – can you remember that old incandescent lights used to be quite yellow, fluorescents used to appear a bit blue and cheap halogens used to appear a bit pink? The colour of the light fitting you are using in your room, will change the way your paint and all other items in the room look.
You must take into consideration the light temperature when designing your project, it might look perfect in daylight, but if you use a space mainly at night but designed it to feel right during the day you might get some tears.

Light is a huge topic and one of my favourites. If you would like to learn more about artificial light and colors my free interior design course goes more into depth about it. You can learn about it by clicking here

WHITE-GOODS, CABLES & ELECTRICAL ITEMS

As Michael Jackson once said, it doesn’t matter if they are black or white – cables, TV’s Computers, fridges, washing machines – these aren’t invisible. I wouldn’t consider designing my house around their colour unless they were literally an integral part of my scheme – so most of the time I would consider hiding them. This really needs some thought before you buy furniture and especially if you are considering colours for a kitchen or living area which could possibly have loads of electrical items clashing with your scheme.

METALS

I’m talking radiators and their copper pipes, door handles, window latches, sink and bathroom tapware, floor boxes, blind pull-chords, chair and stool legs, cupboard drawer handles, down to the back plates of electrical and light sockets. Usually, a coherent scheme will take all of these into consideration as light reflects off metal and a polished brass tap will look odd when everything else in the room is brushed stainless steel.


FLOORING

Honestly, natural timber is probably the only flooring I would classify as neutral. You can make it work with pretty much any scheme. But any other flooring will have a colour. Stone, cork, tile, concrete and resins will need to be considered as a surface – so they will need to be taken into consideration. To be honest, I think the hardest ones for people to use in a scheme is usually natural stone. This is because the variances in colour and undertones of each type can be so complex that an untrained eye will struggle to make the right colour choices for a scheme. If you are a newbie and you want something that will just work – solid or engineered timber will do the trick (not laminate that looks like timber – these end up in you need to work with the surface colour pot).

All of these things can affect the overall look of a room, so it is critical to take these into consideration if you are aiming for a very specific end result. No one likes surprises – and in design, we control as much as possible so that the surprises are nice ones, not ones that lead to expensive changes and tears.

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Lifestyle Habits To Help Reduce Mould At Home

Pretty much every home that I have lived in, here in the UK and in Australia wasn’t insulated. That freaks me out these days, but actually, only houses built in the last 30 years would have been insulated in the UK and in Australia.  I know, I know, I hear the Canadians, Americans, Scandinavians and Europeans all shaking their heads… I am not going to get into why this is, but I am going to try to help you.  So many people struggle with mould in their homes, caused by damp environments, buildings and actually, their own living habits.

If you struggle with a mouldy home and have had an expert say there is nothing really wrong with the building, then the forming mould growth could be from the condensation caused by you.

Buildings are funny like that, can’t live with us, can’t live without us…  Even if you just know it isn’t you that is causing condensation or mould  and even if your building was designed badly or doesn’t get much natural day light, is cold and a long list of items such as no central or intermittent heating  – do try a few of these tips and ensure you include them into your daily routine.  Moisture and mould is not good for buildings and believe it or not, not so great for our human lungs in mould spore form either. Once your home is damp, it can literally take months for it to “dry out”. So this is not an overnight fix and just imagine what you are doing to the building fabric, let alone your poor lungs if you don’t leave the house too often.  (If you want to read more about the effects a dirty home can have on you, check out my post “A Simple spring Clean Can Change Your Life“).

This applies generally to the UK and Australia and are just some lifestyle tips, and are good housekeeping tips anyway.

Annual Maintenance
  • When its time to replace things like carpets or upgrade walls, bathrooms, ventilation systems, cookers etc. always try to get the best you can afford and mention that you would like a long lasting, hard wearing option that may not cause extra moisture in the air.  Even furniture, walls and paint can be mould proof these days, so definitely ask the manufacturer.
  • If you have double glazing, clean out your window and door vents and make sure they are working properly.  If you have single glazing and have wall vents, make sure they are open and working properly.
    Monthly.
  • Clean excess mould from walls, doors, ceilings and carpets.  Take note of any changes.
Weekly
  • Put a dehumidifier on for a few hours each week in the worst room.
  • Whenever cooking, doing laundry or drying clothes, ensure at least 1 window is open (the whole time).
  • Dry clothes outside if possible.  If not try putting up a clothes line in your bathroom and leave the ventilation running occasionally and an open window!  Or wash and try your clothes in a laundry for a few months to help the walls dry out.
  • If using a tumble dryer – even if it is a condensing one or a vented one, I would still always open a window in the same room and close the door to the room if possible.
  • There are many short-term solutions such as moisture bombs and clothes hook water collectors to boost a particularly wet area, but don’t forget these are not long term solutions, especially if they are always full.

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Daily
  • In the morning and in the evening for at least  1 hour per day, open at least one window.  Preferably 2 on opposite sides of a room or building to get some cross ventilation. Yes, even in winter or get the dehumidifier on.
  • Turn the heating on and leave it on constantly at a lower setting.  If this option is going to cost you a fortune try putting it on for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening or until it warms up outside – this should be part of a drying out strategy if it is not winter or you live in a warm country.  In warm countries use AC instead of heating, especially if the air is super humid and everything just feels wet constantly!  Take note that this is a general note.  In some instances, turning the heating on and off can in fact cause moisture in the air, because the moist air cools down and turns back into water (usually on your walls and windows).  So I would again heat or cool as much as you can afford and try and reduce the amount of water you are creating at home in other ways.
  • When having showers or baths – ensure the ventilation fan is turned on and has a decent over-run timer on it.  This should have been sized when installed, but I find they are usually never good enough and have seen many simply not working. Always try to leave the window open for at least 15 minutes to half an hour after showering.
  • Try not to leave water sitting around, especially overnight.  If you do leave dishes in the sink soaking, try to put a lid on them.  I always make a habit to empty all my cups when I put them in the sink or if put them straight into the dishwasher and make sure the dishwasher is closed.  This may seem minor, but all these things really can stack up, especially if you have a really moist house!
  • Whenever boiling rice or cooking (pretty much anything) – if possible, use a lid to ensure the water stays in the pan rather than allowing it to evaporate into the atmosphere.

There are many other solutions you can try, but just by changing little personal habits you may be able to alleviate some of your condensation and mould issues at home.  No one wants to spend every weekend cleaning the mould off of the bathroom ceiling or from behind the furniture!  Hopefully, there are a few little things in this list, which can help improve the health of you and your home.

Things I Wish I Had Done Before I Bought My First Home

I Actually wrote this post a few years ago, under my old blog.  My friend who is in the process of buying his first home in London asked me where this blog post was as he wanted to read it.  So here it is revived a little and equally as relevant as it was back then!

Since buying my first (and now second) property in London, I realised that there were some things I wish I had done or would have known about before buying my first property. Because I grew up in Australia and had my family and all of their expertise in buying property across the other side of the world, I realised that I was alone in the UK and had no one to turn to when all these side balls hit me. So for anyone thinking of buying your first home, here are the 5 things I wish I had done before buying my first property.

1. I wish I hadn’t moved house so many times.

Unless you can help it and you are indeed planning on buying property, try not to move, or find somewhere to keep a regular address. The banks and anyone else you deal with for proof of identity as well as home insurance etc. will ask you for at least 3 years worth of addresses. I moved 4 times in 3 years and you can bet I didn’t remember every postcode every single time I was asked to provide it, which dragged out the whole process and made it more difficult than it needed to be.

2. I would have started building my credit score.

(I use check-my-file because you see your Experian and Call Credit Ratings instead of just one of them)
I had held a credit card in the UK since 2003 and I had always paid it off on time. I had a pretty average credit score and I didn’t know why it wasn’t better. After a few years of actively trying to better my score, I realised I needed to do certain things in a certain way to actually build my score! Some of these things were making sure that the credit agencies actually kept the right information about me (yes, they were wrong and it takes time to correct the information), I had to ensure I wasn’t getting loads of credit checks (beware getting hits from car insurance comparison sites and the like), I had changed my current bank account to get a better deal as I was preparing to get a mortgage and realised that this affected my credit score as well, because it meant I hadn’t held an account in the UK for longer than a year – which was untrue, but you can see how fickle it got.

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3.  I wish I had started saving regularly for my house deposit.

Now that the regulations have changed, the banks will need to do an affordability test before giving you a decision in principle. They will check basically the last 3 months of your spending and analyse whether THEY think you can afford paying a mortgage in the UK. I was saving for 15 years for my first home, but I was saving in an ad-hoc way, not regularly. I now save a small amount every week and intend on doing this for the rest of my life.  It has become a lifestyle habit that I wish I started earlier.

4.  I wish I had started collecting household items for my first home earlier.

Don’t forget that buying a home is very costly and I really was on the edge of my affordability, but I was so determined to own my home I went without in many ways to make sure I kept it. I wish I had started collecting things for my home earlier. I would have beautiful travel memories from my travels across Europe, Asia and the Middle East and I would have had meaningful items to surround my self with. I have now thrown away or down-cycled almost everything I moved into my first home with. I literally had a pile of junk to move with and it didn’t last the renovations and I didn’t care for it to either. Now after 2 years of living in my home, I wish I had carefully chosen or invested in a few good items that i could have taken with me on my new home journey.  I wouldn’t have wasted money on cheap items and I would be surrounded by a few meaningful things that make my place feel like a home.

5.  I would have started preparing earlier.

The whole process from me deciding to buy my first home and moving into it took 3 months. It was a very stressful three months for me. As a foreigner, many things can cause problems so try and sort these things out beforehand. One of my issues was that I was transferring savings from Australia. They had to do money laundering checks on me and my family and asking family members to hire solicitors can be really stressful and can take a long time if you don’t know someone who can help you from the other side of the world. Also getting all of your documents filed in order and in the right place is really essential. Never underestimate how important it is to be organised when buying a home!

Goodluck and make the most of it, buying a home can be really stressful, so try to prepare as much as possible.  I hope this helped you.

How To Create An Interior Design Mood Board

We went through why you need a mood board a few weeks back when I wrote the post about what you need before buying furniture or choosing paint colours. If you haven’t read it yet, you can read it here.

Today, I will help you create a mood board for your next project. For now, just choose a room that you are thinking of redesigning or would love to redesign and work through these steps to create your own interior design mood board. Just a note, there are lots f different ways to do this. My way isn’t any better than anyone else’s its just the way I do it.

1. Imagine – Choose images that you like or that inspire you and don’t limit yourself with practicality or cost – yet.

For this first section, you just need to do a lot of looking and collecting of images, colours, furniture, fabrics anything to help you say yes, I like this and I would like to use this idea or this piece of something for inspiration. Usually, you will end up with lots of pics from magazines, or maybe you already have a collection of things that you have been saving for “one day”. Get it out now and look through the images to see if you still like them. Don’t put limits on this. Just pick everything and anything you like. I would search for at least 10 pictures, items or anything to just put into the “I like it” pile.

2. Get an Idea – Aim to have one strong and clear goal or idea.

Chose one main image that really depicts as well as possible what you are trying to do. Write ten things about that room that you like about it. Do you like the colours? Do you like the way it feels? Why? Do you like the brightness, what about the furniture, textures, patterns, style, mood, decorations, vignettes, flowers, coffee table? Write as many things that you can, the more you write and understand what you like about the room, the easier it will be to edit later on. Now describe your idea in one sentence.

3. Filter – Keep only the best.

Now think about your room or project and look through the images that you have found. Keep to one side the ones that you really love and or you feel would really work for the space. If you chose inspiration items rather than pictures like feathers or materials, keep the items with the ideas that you want to use in this space specifically.

4. Get Creative – Think of everything.

You will need to think about the colours, walls, floor, ceiling, doors, window dressings, furniture, fabrics, décor and even ironmongery. Look at the room you are sitting in now and name all of the things that are in it. Vases, types of flowers, think of everything. You may not use it, but consider everything from the type of stitching on the occasional chair to the type of pull chord on the roller blinds. Try and find an image or a real-life example of the ideas you have. I would always order samples. Go into paint, tile, wallpaper, carpet or a fabric shop and ask for some samples. Even just to get ideas for texture or colours.

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5. Get Realistic – But don’t discard the things you truly wish you could use just yet.

What could you realistically afford to use. If you really like something that is really out of your price range, keep it and see how important it is to the scheme. If it has to be there, search and search until you find something similar within your price range.

6. Edit – Stay focussed on your desired goal from step 2.

Ask yourself what will help achieve the mood or feeling of the room I am hoping to create? This can be really tough and its why many ammeters designs fail! Be strong. Only keep what is the idea for this room. You can always use that idea somewhere else (I used to get this all the time!) Go back now to your idea – does what you see coming together give you that feeling or do you feel like you are reaching your goal? Keep going removing and or adding textures,furniture and items until what you see in front of you with your materials, fabrics, ideas, furniture and inspiration reveals what your space is going to look and feel like and is being expressed in what you have chosen.

 7. Test your ideas – Imagine these things in your physical space.

Items that are to be on the walls, you need to hang on the walls! Items that you are going to purchase in terms of furniture, you need to draw them out on the floor and see if they will fit. Get samples, get as much information as you can about everything you plan on using. Test, test, test.  Pretend the furniture is there and walk around it.  Imagine something on the wall where you want it, how will it fit, what will the light do with it?

8. Make Your Decision – … Stick it Down  

But All of this would have been in vain unless you actually use your board and stick with it.  Look at the work you put into getting to this point.  If you follow this to a tea, you will realise your vision.

That is the strength and power of the interior designer’s mood board (architects use them too!) Now you have a mood board that you can trust will achieve your end goal. Let me know if this helped you?

 

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?

When is it ok to mix timber flooring colours?

When designing a space from scratch, the flooring is usually one of the last things I consider. That is because I am able to design the scheme to work seamlessly for the whole project and tie things together, add texture or add light or contrast to the overall scheme with the large surface area. So it is usually at this point that I will make the decision to mix or not to mix timber flooring colours or flooring materials.

I find it can be a little trickier to decide whether to mix timber flooring colours on smaller projects, however, as little bits and pieces here and there, (especially if only one room is getting the makeover) can look patchy, unprofessional or even worse, a bit of a mistake.

So I thought I would share some designer guidance on how I make the decision to keep or mix timber flooring colours on a project.

So this is usually what I do to decide – is it ok to mix timber flooring colours?

When is it ok?

Contrasting dual tones can look fantastic, especially when the look is deliberate. The thing I would like to emphasise here is that it needs to be deliberate in order to achieve a certain look or feel. You can get some amazing looking spaces mixing different timbers especially when you take them up the vertical surfaces or frame patterns in beautifully worked bespoke flooring. I also find that texture, pattern and colour are your friend when working with timber flooring, so use them to help achieve your desired goals.

The key is to know and understand what the consequence to the surrounding spaces will be. If for example, you plan on adding a dark floor to a space and everything around it is light, that can work, but know that the dark floored space will be special, it will draw attention to it and you will need to treat that space differently.

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If you want a dark-floored room off of a light floored room, that will also work, but ensure the transition between the rooms is deliberate and they are treated as two separate spaces and maybe consider introducing the new timber into other elements of the surrounding spaces (see an example of this in the main blog photo).

As soon as you understand the contrast and become confident in using this technique as a tool, you will start to naturally feel when mixing timbers feels like the right thing to do.

Usually, I use different coloured timber flooring to define areas in open plan spaces. You can do this with texture, levels, lighting or different materials, but using different coloured timber flooring can give you stunning results. Don’t forget that you can also paint timber floors and they look fantastic too!

mixing-timber-colours

When is it not ok to mix different coloured timber flooring?

Typically if you have tried to match an engineered, laminate or wood flooring that was laid previously and you can’t find the exact tone, type or finish, so you think – oh this is so close, no one will notice… This is when it is wrong, yes we will notice.

You might also want to reconsider mixing your timber flooring when you haven’t thought out the whole space. Step back and think will that cherry laminate really look like next to the walnut and why is the transition necessary?

If there is no reason for it and it can’t be justified with a design aesthetic or a deliberate design intention, then perhaps it is time to think a little bit deeper about the end result or get some pro advice.

Some styles of interior actually look really great with mismatched timbers and or different types of timber in the same spaces. Have a read about the following design aesthetics if you are considering mixing flooring or timbers in your home: modern, industrial, shabby chic, oriental, alpine and rustic styles.

 

Quick Tips To Age A Building

When I travelled to the UK and Europe as an architectural student, I was drawn to the old buildings and the beautiful streets. I just fell in love with the old look and feel of the buildings and thought that everything around me had been there for hundreds of years.

It actually took me a few years to start noticing the subtle differences in older buildings and the new buildings that were built to look old and it wasn’t until I really started working on historic buildings that I noticed the subtleties and clues that give away their age. There are lots of reasons you might design a building to look old, for example, if it is within the curtilage of a listed building or planning stipulated specific requirements in that area, but that is for another discussion…

So for those of you who at first glance think that all the buildings are old, here are a few tricks and tips to start checking the age of a building:

The Overall Building Materials

The first place to start with are the overall building materials. Concrete was invented around the mid 1850’s and didn’t really start getting used in domestic buildings until around the 1920’s.

My favourite thing to look at are the bricks! Original bricks are usually cut by hand and irregular sizes. This gives a building a real unique look that a new building will struggle to achieve with regular spaced mortar and regular bricks.

The Windows & Doors

Most original windows & doors would have been made from lead light/metal or timber. Historic buildings usually have to replace like for like to keep the look of the building, but in some instances you see newer UPVC or aluminium windows used to replace the original windows. This is why if the windows don’t give it away at first glance, I usually try to look at some other areas of the building that might give it away.

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The Roof

This is a little bit simplistic, but you don’t need to know too much about building construction to see if a gutter is metal or not. Also most original buildings would have been built with local materials, so have a look around the building and see if the roof material is similar to the ones around it.

This is a huge topic for me, so I really tried to keep it short and not too archi or technical. It is just one of the things I geek over when I travel to little villages in England, Europe, the Mediterranean, Scandinavia Scotland and Ireland.

See if you can spot one of these buildings and explain why you think it is new, not old.

Design, Design Is Everywhere

When I was studying architecture in Brisbane so many years ago, I was in disbelief when my lecturers would say that the architects and designers of the buildings thought about absolutely everything – to the last detail.  It makes sense to me now, because I know how complicated the process or theory behind something really simple can be (it doesn’t mean that it always is though!) and how much time and thought usually goes in to making very deliberate decisions to reach a desired end goal.

This is why I am so passionate about design!  I love finding beauty in everyday things.  In my creepy video, I hope  I have been able to show the drama and delight created by the designer for something so beautiful and simple as a grave.

I think for me, that is why more historic buildings and streets bring me so much joy – because there were so many hidden secrets and surprises – such as a gargoyle that was particularly scary or a fountain with a comfortable seat, tucked just off a busy street.

I find myself searching for these gifts from designers in everything from a gorgeous dinner set to a beautiful door.  The gift is in a designed piece and if you can find it, see it, feel it and appreciate it  – then you have found the gift from the designer.

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Design really is around us and it is in every day things, some items are better designed than others and not every style is for everyone.  So my point for todays post is to start looking for these design gifts.  See where an artist, architect, designer, landscaper, sculptor or artisan has gone out of their way to create something special for you.

Look out for the surprise and delight that everyday things can have – in fairness not everything has been totally designed (or even thought out), but see if you can tell the difference and find the gifts from the designer.  You will know when you start to find them.

Have fun and share your experiences with me.

The 2 things you must do before buying furniture or choosing paint colours for your home.

My goal is to help you create a gorgeous home on any budget so that you can up-level your lifestyle, create your dream home or start a new phase in your life.

So what do I believe you must do before even considering buying furniture or paint colours for your home? What do I know will save you tones of money on wasted items or worse yet, not give you the end result you are looking for?

The biggest problem almost everyone has is visualising how the end space will look and come together. So these two things help you filter out the things you don’t want, help you understand your style and then help you see what your space will potentially look like before you start matching to the green beige sofa that doesn’t seem to go with anything else on the planet…

So what are these two things that you need?  A mood board and a sample board of course!

The main reason you need mood & sample boards, is so that you can see what your room or house will look like ahead of time. You need to see whether the colours, materials, textures and ideas that you have will go together or clash. It gives you a chance to make mistakes, test ideas, be creative and really create your dream space the way you imagine it to look. These will save you money and help you buy the right items for your home (every time!)
I usually create a mood board before my sample board, and then I ensure I am happy with both of these before I start sourcing furniture and looking for specific items.

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What is a mood board?

A mood board acts as a filter, it helps you hone in on your desired feel and atmosphere of a space. A mood board can have your inspiration on it, colours, pictures of rooms and anything else you think explains your ideas in a tangible form. The idea is to express your ideas somehow and see them all together in one place.
This is how you can use it as a filter to get rid of things that aren’t quite right for this project (especially if you’re like me and have 10 million ideas that you wish you could use in every space!) I would suggest always having a mood board, no matter how simple or easy your project is.  (If you would like a step by step guide on how to create a mood board, you can find it here How To Create An Interior Design Mood Board

What is a Sample Board?

A sample board places all of the paint colours, tile and grout colours, surfaces, materials and fabrics that will be used in each room, in one place. It is a fantastic way of seeing how your combination of ideas will look together in a very basic format. I call up every company and ask for an exact sample of all of my ideas (and a few extras) to be sent to me so that I can build my sample board. Don’t ever guess or hope that it will just look great. It rarely does. You need to see and feel the material for yourself, especially if you are ordering your items online.

I hope this helped you to get clear on your idea and hopefully has saved you money already!

How to Make a Small Room Feel Huge Part 2

Living in a small space becomes a lifestyle. You will have to adapt to your surroundings or a more compact way of living (unless you have always lived in small spaces) in order to ensure lasting happiness during your time there.

Your daily habits will need to adjust to a smaller space in order to keep it clean, functional and practical and you will need to work a little bit harder at keeping your space well organised and clean.

Winston Churchill once famously said: ‘We shape our homes…then our homes shape us’

What he meant was that our surroundings influence our lives, whether we are conscious of it or not.

So here are the more habitual and practical tips on how to make your small space feel much larger than it is:

  1. Keep clutter off the floor, tables, desks and beds. Everything should have its place and you need to be meticulous about putting things back in their place.
  2. Use the backs of doors for hanging storage. (This only works if the door is open most of the time so that the storage is hidden behind the door).
  3. Organise your storage by using built-in storage walls, use the hollow areas inside existing furniture (such as beds, desks, coffee tables & poufs). Make every piece of furniture work hard for you.
  4. Utilise shelving and organise things in regular shaped boxes. This makes everything look coherent on the shelving and gives you a way to find things quickly.
  5. Develop habits that make life in the small space easy to live with. Don’t torture yourself by not changing your lifestyle to fit in with the room. If you want it to stay nice and feel nice, you will also need to work at it.

One of the most effective habits to help you live in a small space is to put things back in their place straight after you are finished using them.

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You will need to acquire some good habits (I think) to live in a small room. That’s because anything left out (that wasn’t designed to be left out), will make the room feel cluttered and due to our perception of scale will also subconsciously let us know that the room is small. I am always amazed at how much bigger a room can feel when just a few of these ideas are used.

If you missed Part 1 of this post you can read it here.