10 tricks interior designers won’t tell you

10 tricks interior designers won't tell you | H is for Home

Whilst you may already have a few ideas for revitalising your home’s appearance, putting them into practical action could be difficult – and seemingly call for the services of an interior designer. However, we’re going to reveal some tricks such designers may prefer to keep secret.

Hang artwork at a suitable height

We may not know huge amounts about art, but we know what we like – pictures, posters & paintings hung in such a way that we can view them easily. Artwork is often hung too high; keep the bottom of each piece a mere 7½-20cm/3-8 inches higher than furniture. Leaving too much space in-between creates a distracting void.

Shelf with books stacked vertically and horizontally

Shelve your books horizontally & vertically

Have 60% of your bookshelves’ tomes stacked vertically and leave the remaining 40% stored horizontally. This is good for creating both visual balance and spontaneity, says Reader’s Digest. Intersperse the books with other objects such as vases, framed photos or potted plants.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Position mirrors around 132cm/52 inches up from floor level. Opting for this kind of placement with your mirror can avoid, for most people, the stooping or tip-toeing that can happen whilst attempting to take a look at themselves.

Table and chairs with place settings and centrepiece

Set the table

If you’re planning on buying a new dining table, choose one that exceeds 90cm/3 foot in width. This should leave sufficient space for diners’ plates and cutlery along with, in the centre, serving dishes and centrepieces. If the room it’s going into is fairly small, a circular table might be a better option.

Colour a room happy

When bringing colour into a room, it’s good to give 60% of it over to a dominant hue, assign 30% of it to a secondary tone and designate the remaining 10% to an accent colour.

White-painted pallet coffee table on wheels

Get the measure of your coffee table

These days, a sofa seat is typically around 50cm/20 inches high – a comfortable height for sitting. That leaves the ideal height for a coffee table at approximately 38-50cm/15-20 inches. A convenient position for setting down and picking up your cup of coffee, book and remote controls.

Make fresh use of old pieces

Don’t assume that making your home look fresher automatically entails buying lots of new furniture and fittings. It may be far better to re-purpose existing items. Example ways of doing so are suggested by Freshome, which suggests turning an antique vase into a utensil holder or an old dresser into a bathroom sink and cabinet.

semi-sheer white Roman blinds at a kitchen window

Be flexible with your budget

Spotted some floor-to-ceiling curtains in a luxurious fabric? They might be outside your budget – in which case, cheaper Roman blinds made from the same fabric could be a more affordable option. Similarly, you could forgo pricey custom cabinets in favour of stock cabinets, the door fronts of which can be customised with a paint job or new handles.

Put familiar rooms to different purposes

A room you’ve long has as a little-used dining room could actually make a good home cinema or games room, while a living room could be re-imagined as an office, says NOLA.com.

Lantern roof installed over a kitchen

Create balance

This includes balance in colour, texture, furniture and lighting; the installation of lantern roofs could particularly assist you with the last of those.

[disclosure*]

What every interior designer needs to be successful

What every interior designer needs to be successful

Being an interior designer sounds glamorous, and while it’s a lot of fun, it also requires hard work and dedication. You not only have to be good at what you do, but you have to know how to work with different types of people.

Home-owners are either picky or they don’t have a clue about what they want. This is when you have to be able to step in and help them find some direction with their thoughts. You’re working within budgets and schedules and have to be fully attentive and detail oriented. See what every interior designer needs to be successful.

Interior designer swatches

An eye for décor

Regardless of your background, you have to be someone who has a knack for interior design. Some of it can be taught, but a lot of it comes from natural talent. There has to be passion and ability present for you to impress your customers. Practice on your own home and see what you come up with. Go shopping and look around online for ideas and challenge yourself to mini decorating tasks. It’ll quickly become clear if it comes naturally to you or if you’re struggling.

Group working on creative project

Presentation skills

As an interior designer, you have to sell your services to the home-owners. They have to fully understand your capabilities, what you’ve done in the past and your vision for their home. One way to do this is to visit each client and go over your presentation together. There’s presentation software online that’s easy to use and will help you get your message across clearly and concisely. This free presentation maker allows you to create professional business presentations without the need for programming or design skills.

Drawing a smile illustration

Personality

Not only do you require the technical skills to decorate homes, but you also need to have a personality. Home-owners not only have to fall in love with your work but with you too. It’s helpful if you’re friendly, enthusiastic and approachable. You need to be able to adopt a wide range of styles and temperaments. You have to portray a positive and upbeat attitude about the project and help them see that you’re excited about your vision.

laptop presentation

Patience

There’s no doubt that you’re going to have to be a patient person if you get into the interior design industry. Home-owners are going to drag their feet, change their minds and have you redo on a regular basis and you have to be prepared to handle it all as it develops. The good news is that patience is a quality you can work on and improve as time goes on. The more experience you have under your belt, the easier it’ll be to adopt whatever comes your way.

Ideas, ideas, ideas

Conclusion

These are a few of the necessary requirements for making it in the industry. Evaluate where you fall on the spectrum and work to improve in the areas where you feel you come up short. This is what every interior designer needs to be successful.

[disclosure*]

Is this the end of open-plan living?

Interior glazed sliding doors

Over the last two decades, the trend for open-plan living and wall-less dwellings rose faster than you could swing a sledgehammer; however, over the past few years, we’re seeing a complete reversal in interiors trends with home-owners opting for more traditional, segmented living spaces.

There are various reasons as to why this could be. The practicalities of an open-plan living space are not as obvious as you might think. Downsizing all the possessions and knick-knacks you acquire over the years is no mean feat, not to mention the daily struggle of keeping every surface clean and tidy if you have children or room-mates. In fact, families who have previously opted for open-plan living are reverting to traditional, divided rooms as a more practical way of living, according to Jane Green from the Telegraph. Individual rooms provide quiet sanctuaries for homework, reading and watching your preferred Netflix series, and people are suggesting they prefer to cook in the kitchen in peace, without having the constant interruptions from a television that can be seen and heard over the worktop.

circular dining table and turquoise-pained chairs

There is no doubt, it seems, that separate rooms provide areas of sanctuary and quiet which in turn, create cosier, more inviting spaces to spend time to undertake your preferred activity of relaxation. One might even argue that segmented rooms are actually driving families back together in a more traditional sense, since the kitchen and dining room are becoming device-free zones, promoting a healthy appetite for dinner conversation.

Dog on a lap on a sofaWith this in mind, we’re thinking about the more conventional ways you could furnish these individual living rooms without compromising on style. First things first, retrieve that box of ornaments from storage and choose a selection of objects that will look fantastic displayed in a bespoke alcove bookcase by The Bookcase Co. Think about quality curation, carefully selecting objects that work well together based on a specific colour palette, as opposed to quantity.

A slim and stylish desk for homework or working from home is essential. This mango wood version from Swoon is effortlessly chic and compact and will fit in alcoves, smaller rooms or even under the stairs.

Enormous three-seater and corner sofas might work well in gargantuan open-plan living areas; however, smaller spaces call for smaller sofas. Create cosy nooks for books with a two-seater sofa from Arlo & Jacob. The perfect size to snuggle up to someone, or stretch out and make the most of some quality alone time.

Dining table & chairs with a tall cactus in the backgroundA well-placed rug can instantly update your interior, bringing with it warmth, pattern and texture. They also help to create zones, if you do happen to have a room on the larger size and want to break it down further. You’ll find a vast selection of traditional and modern rugs from OKA, with the option of wool and cotton, amongst others.

To avoid areas becoming too dark and closed off, this slender floor lamp by Perch & Parrow is fashionable and functional; perfect to shed some light on those newly created cosy corners of your living room.

How does wall cladding work and why should you have it?

Exterior wall cladding on an apartment building

If you want to improve the look of your home, and save on the amount of energy you use, investing in exterior wall cladding may be a good idea. In addition, cladding the outside walls of your home can offer them protection against the elements.

In this article, we’re going to look at these areas in more detail. We’re also going to explain the different types of wall cladding that exist and how they work.

How does wall cladding work?

Exterior stained clad wall with yellow door

Put simply, wall cladding is the art of covering the exterior walls of a property with a certain material. There are three main wall cladding materials and they all have positives and negatives; let’s take a look at them.

Vinyl wall cladding

Vinyl-clad front elevation of a housecredit

Over the years, vinyl wall cladding has been the most popular choice. You can choose from a selection of vinyl cladding suppliers. This type of cladding was originally introduced as an alternative to aluminium siding; it was cheaper and more effective. Today, vinyl cladding is still an affordable option. However, it does have a tendency to warp and fade over time. It is also easier to damage than some other types of cladding.

Timber wall cladding

Weathered exterior wood cladding on an apartnemt building

The main attraction of timber wall cladding is it’s appearance. It often blends well with the overall appearance of a property. If you decide to invest in this type of cladding it’s worth noting that it requires similar amounts of maintenance to other timber areas of your property.

UPVC wall cladding

Exterior UPVC cladding on an apartment buildingcredit

It’s worth stating from the outset that this type of wall cladding tends to be more expensive than the others we have mentioned. This extra expense does bring benefits, such as high levels of durability, appearance that does not fade and improved levels of insulation. There is also little maintenance required; you just need to clean the cladding with a damp cloth.

Now you have a better idea of what wall cladding is, let’s take a look at its benefits.

Why cladding the walls of your property is a good idea

House with exterior brick and wood cladding

One major reason why people have cladding fitted to the exterior walls of their property is that it improves the appearance. It’s not just about the look when it comes to cladding though. There are several other advantages.

  • Protection against adverse weather conditions such as hail, snow or extreme heat
  • Insulation against external noise
  • Insulation that keeps warm air in during cold weather and cool air in when the weather is hot. This helps to reduce energy use and resulting costs

As you can see, there are several significant benefits to be had if you decide to invest in wall cladding. Make sure that you do your research and seek expert assistance when it comes to having the work completed. No matter which type of cladding material you use your property will benefit, so you need to make the choice based on your requirements when it comes to cost, on-going maintenance and durability.

[disclosure*]

5 things you should know BEFORE installing underfloor heating

Aerial view of a sofa on a wooden floor

Wave goodbye to radiators and hello to more space and a warm home for less! Underfloor heating is a great choice and if you’re thinking of taking the leap to luxurious warm floors, these are the five things you need to know…

#1 It provides a constant temperature across the home or in individual rooms

Feet in orange & blue spotted socks on a wooden floor

The great thing about underfloor heating is its flexibility. Therefore, it sometimes pays to spend the extra money to get a professional supplier and installation company to not only fit the system but design it for you in the first place.

With central heating, the boiler fires up and sends heat through to all the radiators on the system, unless you switch the radiators off in certain rooms (if you can) or lower the temperature of the radiator with its thermostatic valve.

This gives you some flexibility, but not a lot. Underfloor heating is completely different. You can create single zone underfloor heating areas so that the important rooms in the house are heated when you need them to be but other rooms can enjoy a lower level of heat.

The ability to control your heating at every point of day and night means you save money as well as having a more comfortably heated home.

#2 It’s best fitted with high thermal conductivity flooring

Child playing with a toy digger on a wooden floor

Sounds a mouthful, doesn’t it?! But what does it mean?

It means to get the best from your underfloor heating system, you need a top layer of flooring that’s incredibly efficient in grabbing hold of the heat and keeping hold of it.

This means the system doesn’t need to work as hard. There are many flooring options – wood, laminate, ceramic tile, polished concrete and carpet – that work well with underfloor heating.

It’s true to say that some options work better than others. Polished concrete floors are a great conductor and retainer of heat. Ceramic tiles also work well and some wood flooring solutions are also a great fit.

It’s possible to use carpet but it must be of a low TOG rating to allow heat through it and into the room. However, even then, it’s not so great at hanging on to the heat.

#3 A smart thermostat adds more flexibility & sophistication

Nest smart thermostat

Although we think of underfloor heating as a modern invention, it’s been around for some time. The Romans used ‘fire under the floor’ to heat their bath houses.

Modern day underfloor heating is more sophisticated and flexible but to get even more out of the system, a smart thermostat is a must.

If you have a multi-zone system, you can set different temperatures in different rooms with a few taps of your smart phone – and alter it throughout the day.

Underfloor heating response time is slower than the boiler and radiator approach but that doesn’t mean it’s at a disadvantage. It just means that you plan your heating to fit with your activities from day to day. For that, you need the tools to set the heat of the system as and when.

#4 Correct installation is key

High-gloss kitchen floor
That’s why getting a professional and expert in all thing underfloor heating should install your system, even if they don’t design it.

Wet or water underfloor heating works by a series of pipe loops being laid in the sub floor and hot water circulating through them to heat the floor.

It’s an incredibly simple, yet effective system. But, this doesn’t mean that things can’t go wrong when it’s being installed. Discovering that you have a leaking pipe when you’ve already laid the floor isn’t the opportune time to try and repair it.

All wet underfloor heating systems should be pressure tested BEFORE you start pouring high conductivity screed or laying insulation boards to protect the pipes. Once laid, the system will function without a hitch for years to come.

#5 Underfloor heating is a system that you’ll love!

Kitchen diner with wooden floorboard floor

Underfloor heating isn’t for everyone. If you like dry, hot heat that leaves your house stuffy, then underfloor heating isn’t for you.

If you prefer an ambient, constant temperature, as well as a luxuriously warm floor underfoot, then underfloor heating is for you.

However, you’ll need to have some patience. With some installation processes, the screed must dry thoroughly before the heat can be switched on because if you dry out liquid concrete too quickly it cracks. That means the floor isn’t as structurally sound as it should be, leading to problems further down the line. In other words, you may have to wait a week or two before the big switch on.

Underfloor heating suits any property and isn’t as expensive to fit as you’d think either. A proven technology, more and more people are realising the benefits of underfloor heating – why not you?

Underfloor Heating Trade Supplies understands the simplicity of underfloor heating but the amazing benefits it brings to any space, from a single room in a home to multi-zone systems in commercial premises.

[disclosure*]

Is your home running short of space?

Small detached house with white picket fence

If your home or holiday home is feeling a bit cramped and you’re thinking about the possibility of moving, then there are a few alternatives that you might want to consider before you go to all of the hassle of viewings, coping with solicitors and all of the problematic processes of a move.

Rather than going to pastures new, have you thought about extending your existing place? There are many different ways to create new space in your current location, if you have the room to do so.

Loft conversion

Loft conversion

This can be a really quick job that creates an extra room if you currently have some loft space that isn’t being used effectively. What feels like a wasted space can easily be converted into a new bedroom or an office.

Conservatory

Conservatory

A conservatory can add a significant amount of space to your property and can been done fairly cheaply. Perfect for enjoying the warmer weather and can really brighten up the entire feel of your downstairs area. Spending time where you are experiencing more daylight even impacts your mood and your well-being.

Outdoor building

Chicken in front of a shed

If you need some extra space for storage then you could buy a shed for the garden. You can get all kinds of sizes and materials to store the bigger items that are taking up room around the property.

If you’re looking for something bigger for living space, then you could opt for a building to be erected outside if you have enough room. Take a look at some Armstrong Steel reviews for some feedback from customers who have chosen steel buildings to create extra property. They could turn out to be a lot less expensive than you think and could be the perfect option for an office or a living room.

Garage conversion

Blue garage doors

If your household is one of the many that don’t use the garage to park their car in, then you could use the space for something much better. A garage conversion can transform your living space and give you the opportunity to expand your living room, dining room or kitchen area.

Improve your storage options

Under-sofa storaged drawers

If you have lots of items, maybe toys that are frequently in use, are you storing them wisely? Try to opt for dual purpose storage options; storage boxes that can also be used for seating, when you buy a bed, buy one that has storage drawers built in and look into options for built in wardrobes and cupboards. There are so many inventive ways of creating extra space and if you can get a good joiner, you can create storage space practically anywhere.

If you’re starting to feel that your home is getting too small to live in then take a look at all of the available options and get some quotes for the different possibilities. Moving home can be really stressful and time-consuming, so if you’re already happy with your current location then make the most of the alternative ways to create extra space.

[disclosure*]