Five Design Cheats To Transform Your Home Interior
Murray Hill Apartment designed by Tina Ramchandani Creative. Photograph by Mr Jacob Snavely, courtesy of Tina Ramchandani Creative
Easy decor hacks from the interior design experts.
Updating – or even more daunting, renovating – your home can be a seriously stressful prospect. But it doesn’t have to be. Whether you live in a humble apartment or a full-scale home, giving your interior a fresh update is simpler than one may think, thanks to these five easy tips. Meant to offer easy, yet impactful, ways to tweak your furniture or accessories, the advice below will give your home a brand-new feel without breaking the bank. And to make sure no decor disasters ensue, we enlisted some interior design experts for their eagle-eyed opinions. Read on for their handy guide work.
Layer, layer, layer
When decorating a room, don’t underestimate the power of layering smaller accent pieces on top of each other, such as flowers on top of stacked books, or throws laid on top of bedding. Doing this right will make the space feel more three-dimensional and richer. “Layering the ‘little things’ can make a huge impact on the style of your home,” says Mr Bennett Leifer, a New York-based interior designer. “I always bring in a ton of fresh flowers, art books, pottery, small sculptural items and bedding for photoshoots. It’s amazing how layering these types of items can really transform the feeling of a space.” Designer Ms Tina Ramchandani, also in New York, agrees, emphasising the importance of layering furniture over rugs. “Since rugs take up the majority of the floor space in a room, they are very impactful on a space,” she says. “A rug can bring in a new colour, texture or overall vibe.”
Pick the right room
Redoing a whole home can be overwhelming. To start, focus on one specific room where you spend a lot of time, or particularly enjoy hosting in. “In order to get the best bang for your buck, I recommend focusing on the area that you spend the most time in,” said Ms Ramchandani. “Most of my clients spend a majority of their time in the living room, so we pay special attention to designing details for the living space that will enhance both the look and function to meet their everyday needs.” Meanwhile, Mr Leifer suggests shifting the focus into the bedroom. “It’s the room where we spend the most time, and how we both start and end our days,” he said. “It’s really important to have a sense of serenity and balance at both of these times.”
A detail that is often overlooked? Lightbulbs. A simple lighting refresh, or a more intensive fixture change, can dramatically alter the mood and look of a space. “Lighting is so important, both on a large and small scale,” says Mr Leifer. “The temperature of your lighting can totally change the feeling of a room. Some bulbs feel more white, some feel more golden. I would start with a trip to the hardware store, where you can get a variety of types of bulbs and try a bunch out. Some will inevitably help you achieve the ambience you are aiming for. Once you learn what your light hue is, you can replicate it across lamps and chandeliers for an even glow.” However, when doing so, remember to consider scale – a too-big or too-small installation can completely ruin a space. “People don’t put the proper thought into how something will occupy the space, individually as well as together,” says Ms Ramchandani. “Oftentimes clients are looking for each piece to be just perfect and super-amazing. Yes, each piece should be lovely, but they all need to work together, to create a beautiful environment.”
Focus on building walls (not emotionally)
When refreshing the home, think in obvious terms – as in, start with the walls or floors that support it. “If you are going to commit to redoing the entire room, I would think big,” Mr Leifer says. “Start with the envelope of the space, including the floors, walls and ceiling, as well as the items that are layered here, like carpets and window treatments. For the walls, start with a great paint colour or wallpaper that provides the right backdrop for your space. Next you have drapes, which are both functional and beautiful. In your bedroom, you probably want a sheer set to let light in (while providing a touch of privacy), and a blackout set to help you sleep.” If going down the wall route, Ms Ramchandani adds that a splash of paint will do wonders for those who are on a tighter budget. “Painting is a fantastic way to liven up the home, whether it’s a fresh coat of the same colour, or an updated palette altogether,” she said. “For whites, I love Benjamin Moore’s Super White, as it’s a clean white, with no colour tint. It’s a great backdrop for both art and furniture in a home. Another solution for the walls is wallpaper, which can add an extra element of texture to the space.”
Don’t fixate on one item
A popular source of tension when redecorating: finding that perfect drinks trolley, for instance, but having no other furniture to support it. Avoid fixating on one item and, instead, find pieces that form a well-balanced whole. “A common mistake is starting with a smaller, specific item and selecting the rest of the room around making it ‘work’. Keep the end goal in mind and remember how you want the space to feel and function as a whole,” says Mr Leifer. Ms Ramchandani adds that focusing on the bigger picture, as opposed to particular items, will lead to a much more cohesive finish. “Hone in on the overall aesthetic you’re trying to achieve,” she says. “With clear focus concerning the look, it’s much easier to create the space you want by filling in the pieces.”