Your home is a significant asset. Since it required a substantial investment, it’s only natural that you want to beautify it and ensure that all of its spaces look exactly how you want them to. You can create a stylish home with the tips in this blog.
With all the expenses that its purchase entailed, it might not be practical for you to hire an interior designer right away. After all, a kitchen remodel could cost over USD$113,000 for an upscale project.
Fortunately, you can do the task yourself—as long as you take the time to understand the fundamental principles of interior design first. There are lots of resources online that can help you achieve your vision for your home. You can also experiment with different layouts through this amazing free online interior design tool and other related software.
Here are some tips to help you create a stylish home without an interior designer:
1. Understand color theory
One of the fundamentals of interior design is color theory. Since various shades and hues are embedded into your surroundings, it can be easy to overlook how they complement each other. Nonetheless, you can see this principle at work in nature, such as green leaves serving as a backdrop for vibrant red or pink flowers.
Understanding color theory can ensure that your spaces will be visually appealing. After all, you don’t want your residence to look tacky or overbearing.
Moreover, colors can evoke different types of emotions. There are universal perceptions that you can follow, such as red to stimulate appetite or blue for a relaxing vibe, but you should also be aware of cultural differences that can influence those effects.
Colors are categorized into three:
- Warm—Red, orange, and yellow are the main colors in this category. Mixing these hues would also create their secondary counterparts. They typically stimulate the eyes and evoke feelings of passion and happiness, as in the case of red and orange, respectively. (2)
- Cool—In contrast, cool colors are green, blue, and purple. Their toned-down nature gives a calming vibe, especially when using blue. Green, which is the color of nature, is often used to depict abundance and new beginnings, while purple is associated with wealth and royalty.
- Neutrals—Black, gray, white, brown, tan, and ivory fall into the “neutrals” category. White is typically linked to purity, but you should also be careful when using it outside of Western contexts since it may sometimes be associated with death or mourning.
After becoming familiar with these categories, you need to understand color harmonies. Applying color theory correctly means that you arrange the hues and shades so that they’re in harmony with each other.
A few types of color harmonies are:
- Analogous—When utilizing an analogous color harmony for your home, you will be using colors that are directly beside each other on the color wheel. For instance, blue would be paired with purple and cyan, while orange would be coupled with yellow and red.
- Complementary—Complementary colors would be two colors that are positioned directly across from each other on the color wheel. For green, it would be magenta, while blue would complement yellow.
- Monochromatic—When designing your home, going monochromatic or using just one color may be the easiest and safest route. While you may use different values or intensities of the same shade, you still run the risk of your space looking boring.
- Triadic—With this color harmony type, you combine three colors on the color wheel that are spaced equally from each other. An example would be using red, green, and blue.
2. Know how to balance design elements
Aside from mastering color theory, you should also be aware that each object and element in a particular space carries a visual weight. Knowing this, you should also balance them against one another when incorporating them into your rooms.
You have to evoke a feeling of equilibrium so that you won’t overwhelm yourself or your guests. Balance can be achieved through shape as well as colors, patterns, and textures.
These are the three different kinds of balance:
- Symmetrical—In this type, two sides mirror each other evenly. This is ideal for formal spaces. A straightforward example is placing one chair on each end of a table. It’s the easiest type of balance to achieve since you just need to repeat what you did on one side.
- Asymmetrical—Here, you balance shapes, lines, colors, and textures without duplication. This can present a more visually complex layout for your space. You can do this by balancing the visual weight of a sofa by placing two chairs in front of it.
- Radial—This one focuses on circular patterns. To achieve this, you’ll need a central focal point and place elements to radiate from or around it. For instance, you can have a round dining table and place chairs surrounding it.
3. Determine the rhythm that you want to achieve
Similar to music, you can also establish a rhythm for your rooms. This is accomplished by utilizing patterns and contrasts to generate visual interest. Positioning the same color or shape at regular intervals replicates movement and encourages the viewers’ eyes to go around the space. For example, using the color red as an accent, you can place it in the pillows, then on a painting on the other side of the room, and repeat it again on a rug or table.
These are the mechanisms that you can use to reproduce a sense of movement to a space:
- Repetition—Repeating patterns, shapes, and colors to encourage the viewer’s eye to pick up on these subtle details.
- Progression—In progression, you increase or decrease an element’s quality. Changing the size, such as placing different sized mirrors on the wall, is one of the simplest ways to achieve this rhythm. Using the monochromatic color palette, you can achieve easy progression by using different shades of the same hue.
- Transition—Transition is more challenging to achieve, but it does produce a smoother flow, where the eye is naturally drawn through all the elements of a space because of its cohesiveness. The most common transitional visual guide is utilizing curved lines to lead the eye, examples of this are arched doorways or winding paths.
- Contrast—With this mechanism, you position two opposing elements together. It can be colors, like black and white, or through shapes, such as circles and squares.
4. Make sure there’s design cohesiveness
Always look at the bigger picture. Often, when designing a room, people tend to focus so much on the details that they overlook the cohesiveness of the elements.
Ensure that the colors, shapes, lines, and even textures are in harmony with each other. Moreover, cohesiveness should encompass your entire home, not just within the rooms. Have a common style or theme that will run all through your residence. Of course, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t stick to one color or pattern alone, but you do have to make sure that everything works together as a whole.
5. Identify focal points in the room
Unless you’re in the process of building your home, chances are, you already have furniture and fixtures in your rooms. While this would mean that you need to work with what you already have, it’d actually be easier since you have a point of reference on-hand.
A room’s focal point can be an architectural feature, such as a fireplace, window, or bookcase. It can also be a special portion of the area that you want to emphasize. It should be something interesting, colorful, or textually appealing. Basically, it’s anything that can draw the viewer’s eye toward it. Then, you can enhance its centrality by positioning your furniture and accessories around it.
6. Master proportion and scale
Another factor to consider is proportion and scale. Again, visual elements still carry weight, and striking a balance between them would entail an understanding of proportion and scale.
Both are associated with size and shape. Proportion pertains to the relation between the size of one element and another, while scale refers to how they look like together in the same space.
One of the general rules that most interior designers follow is that a coffee table’s length should be two-thirds that of the sofa that it’s set against. You can also follow the golden ratio, which is 1:618, which is prevalent in nature. To apply it, you can divide a room into two sections but not equally. One portion would have a larger area, where you can position the main furniture, while the other part could be the location of a seating or storage area for bedrooms, for instance.
7. Invest in good lighting
Lighting is an essential aspect of interior design. You don’t want insufficient lighting to dampen a room’s vibe, so make sure that you take this factor into consideration.
If you’re still in the process of building your home, you can opt for large windows to let as much natural light in during the day as possible. Maximize different types of light fixtures as well, such as floor lamps, accent lighting, and overhead lights. Going for light-colored paint on the walls and furniture can also liven up a dark room.
Here are some lighting tips for every space in your home:
- Living Room—For living spaces, where people typically congregate, you should use lights that create ambient illumination. This way, even if your loved ones or guests spend a lot of time in the same room, they won’t get visual fatigue because this type of lighting avoids shadows or direct illumination. (3)
- Kitchen—You have to strike a balance between task and ambient lighting for kitchens since you want to be able to see what you’re cooking or cutting without stressing your eyes. You can also install lights under the cabinets to illuminate work surfaces located on countertops.
- Bathroom—For bathrooms, you should make sure that the lights don’t cast a shadow on the person using the mirror. Ideally, you can follow a lighting plan where you can place wall sconces on each side of the mirror and another one on the opposite wall, but not directly in front of the mirror.
- Backyard—The expansive outdoor space of your backyard can make it challenging to illuminate. Knowing this, you should think about putting up fixtures in three locations: close to the home, midrange, and in a far corner. This way, you create attention-grabbing focal points at night when you look out from inside your home.
- Dining Room—The lighting type for this room would entail placing fixtures right above the dining table. These would serve a dual purpose of task and ambient lighting. Additionally, if you have dark-colored walls, you may want to increase the intensity or lumens of your lighting fixtures to ensure that the space is lit sufficiently.
- Bedroom—If you’re someone who enjoys reading a book before dozing off, wall-mounted lights would be the ideal option for bedside lighting. You can then add ambient lights through floor lamps and architectural fixtures, but make sure to avoid ceiling-mounted ones right at the center of the room, as they may hurt your eyes when viewed from the bed.
- Hallways and Stairs—For hallways that feature artwork and photos that you want to highlight, you can install accent lighting to draw the viewers’ eyes to them. If you have a high ceiling, you may want to consider chandeliers to illuminate staircases well.
- Home Office—The layout and, consequently, the lighting of your home office should complement the everyday tasks that you’ll be doing in the room. One of the things to remember is to ensure that none of your light fixtures create a glare on your computer screen.
You can definitely design the interior of your home, even without the help of professionals. You just have to make sure that you learn about the fundamentals of the art before you make significant renovations to your space, such as breaking down a wall or redoing the paint job. Of course, you can always stick to minor adjustments, like moving your furniture around or installing fixtures.