Why hire an interior designer?

Why hire an interior designer?

Let us guess; you’ve read the title of this blog and are thinking why should someone hire an interior designer when they could just do it themselves for less money? Because let’s face it, we do not understand what you want or your day-to –day requirements for the space. Let us put these fears at ease. Interior design is our job; we want nothing more than to make your dream a reality, after all your word is absolute to us.

 

As professional Interior designers, we will evaluate the interior situation as a whole. With a trained eye, we can help you draw up a plan of what needs to be done, evaluating the space from an unbiased point of view, to ensure we optimise the potential for the interior.  Being an established company, we also have a variety of connections and regularly work with trustworthy and reliable contractors.

By bringing an interior design expert with you on this journey, we will ensure the outcome is everything you wanted and more. It is our job to know how your interior is going to be used, fully understanding how the day-today activities taking place within the space is going to influence the use and design of the room. We will expand your horizons and open your eyes to the design possibilities and potential of the space. We can provide ideas and concepts you may not have heard of or even considered.

Remember that one piece of perfect furniture you saw that time? The one you loved but now can’t seem to find anywhere? The one that no matter how hard you look, the furniture just seems to have vanished! Well, we are here to tell you to relax; we’ve got your back. We can do all the research and leg work for you. We have access to such an extensive range of products produced both in the United Kingdom and abroad, some of which are not even available to the public. We can assure you that whatever you are looking for, hiring one of design team to do the legwork for you will increase your chances of finding that beautiful piece of furniture. We can show you a completely new universe of materials, products, and finishes, which are just waiting for you to discover them.

As interior designers, we have established trusted accounts with designer furniture brands where we receive discounted trade prices. By hiring us as your interior designer, we offer a supple and fit service. The benefit of this is that we pre-order all of your furniture on your behalf, meaning we can get you access to some of the most incredible designer furniture brands but at a fraction of the price.

By hiring a designer form our team, we can ensure that the WOW factor interior is being brought to the table every time and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t secretly love to leave people stunned by their interior? Whether you are somebody looking to sell a home or a companies just starting out in industry and looking to increate footfall, allowing us to help you leave an incredible and lasting first impression, giving yourself an edge above all the competition can only reap more rewards.

We understand that the cost of hiring a designer may seem daunting or expensive, but imagine not hiring a designer and doing the job yourself, only to end up with an interior that has not turned out the way you expected. We hate thinking about how you would feel if you finished a project, only to reflect on it with regret, thinking that that you have wasted your time and money.

The benefit of using an interior designer is that we work out all the technicalities on your behalf; we believe this is an area of the design equally, if more important to the aesthetic. An area, which needs to be perfect in order for the design of the business or home to run smoothly. We work out the best way to utilise the space on your behalf. Exploring the best way to utilise circulation flows, ensuring you utilise the space to the up-most potential avoiding those nasty design and layout problems, which can sneak up on you later if not worked out in the early stages of the design. This is something our interior design team have a specialist eye to notice. Your interior designer will make sure the flows in and between public social areas and the private zones flow smoothly, as well as figuring out the best way to use the services available to you, configuring of the design of the services to best suit your needs and budget.

We understand that you will have fears and concerns over hiring an interior designer but let us put these fears to bed. Let us change the way you view interior design. Here at Astounding Interiors, making sure that you are both comfortable and completely satisfied with the design is our first priority; our design team will see the project through to scratch to the very end, helping you every step of the way to avoid those nasty surprises. If you are considering an interior designer but are still unsure and want to know more give us a call or email us and we will be happy to discuss our services and your project in more depth. Let us handle all of the hassle for you.

Why Astounding Interiors create mood boards

No matter who or what the project is for, Astounding Interiors will always create a Mood board. This is the foundation of all communication for any project between designer and client.
No matter what the project, our designers will study, review and refine every detail of the design, from finishes and materials, to the furnishings, fixtures and equipment.
The mood board consists of a collection of samples communicating a variety of possible colours and textures within the project’s design; this allows the consumer to understand the proposal more clearly. The visual and tactile aid the mood board provides helps to communicate this in the clearest way.
Over the course of a project, the designers experiment with a variety of different finishes and materials. As time progresses this collection of materials will be edited and refined. By the time the concept is due to be presented to the client we will have narrowed our samples into the perfect collection which best communicates the proposal.
We want to get you involved.
The Beauty of a mood board is that it reduces wasted time and helps prevent disappointment for you. There is nothing worse for both us as designers, and you as the consumer, when we propose a complete high-resolution design to the client, only for them to turn around with disappointment because we have not met their requirements or fulfilled their design wishes.
Efficiency is everything.
Producing a variety of design concepts is a time consuming practice and a labour of love for us as designers and the last thing we want to do is waste your time and money. The implementation of a mood board helps to communicate the idea in the quickly and efficiently, removing any design concerns of both the designer and client. This helps us to ensure we are hitting the nail on the head, and proving you with the best design possible.
Getting the basics right.
The mood board helps to the basic undertones of the design concept, exploring the themes of colour palettes, typography, layout, concepts, images, furniture inspiration, etc.
The trick with the mood board is to get you, our client, feeling involved in the design process. We want you to feel comfortable approaching us with any ideas and suggestions you would like to explore.

Renovations, where to start?

When you are looking for a project, it is important to think about the potential, and not just thinking about the shell in front of you. However, consider the original state of the property. Read through building reports, understand what are the restrictions with the property? What needs repairing? Are there any underlying core problems such as damp, infestations and drainage or service problems? There are specialists you can hire who can carry out these surveys for you.

Building reports can also indicate when any alterations were made and how. Making sure any alterations you make in the future don’t harm or damage the existing features, which may be listed.

A measured building survey of the existing building will also help you to understand the space you have available to work with. Astounding Interiors have professionals skilled in this area which produce these plans. Having a measured building survey undertaken means that you will have scaled plans, which can help you understand what you can work with and how you can change the building, while understanding where your limitations are with a new design.

Once you understand where the limitations of the building and if there are any underlying problems that could cause serious problems, it is important that you get all of these issues addressed before you can start any serious work in order to prevent any deterioration. There are a range of problems you should keep an eye on, for instance, a climbing-based plant, such as ivy can deteriorate the walls by growing in and loosening the structure of the building. Problems like a damaged roof might be indicated by water sheets, so look out for water sheets when viewing potential property and if they have water sheets, be sure to assess the potential extent of the damage caused.

Buildings of this nature, or which have been left vacant which are abandoned, are also vulnerable to vandalism.

It is also important to check the building vulnerability and past connections to any flooding events.

If the building is of a heritage, it is recommended that you consider checking to see if there are any special consideration or restoration grants available which would apply to the property. Due to their nature, these grants are not made frequently available.

Before you go changing anything it’s important that you apply for planning approval, and make sure that the new proposed alterations have consent, if it is a listed building and that it abides by all the government’s building regulations, professional designers like those at Astounding Interiors know these regulations well, however if you wish to become more acquainted with them yourself they are readily available for anyone to access on the government website. Note that some regulations which affect neighbors will require cooperation and approval from anyone who may be affected, examples of these regulations are the party wall act and the right to light. These can be found on the deeds to the property, which you should take the time to read through thoroughly.

Be aware that these processes previously mentioned take time, which should be considered when taking on a new renovation.

When it’s time to start building works, make sure you have access to a water and electricity supply, with appropriate waste removal drainage systems, these systems are a primary function for any building. You must also make sure the site in question is also stabilised and safe to access.

If demolition work is required, now would be the time to approach this. The hiring of skips which will be delivered and taken away will make the removal of demolition waste a smoother experience.

If your site has restricted access, then we recommend considering ahead of starting the building work how you plan to get heavy machinery and big vehicles access to and from the site, as well as figuring out how and where you plan on putting the required building materials or any on-site bathrooms.

Once you have fixed the external developments, ensuring the interior is protected and dry, you can start internal renovations. Ensure all the floors have been levelled, this is a standard practice which will make it easier to fit the interior later down the line.

Securing the inside of the building is as equally important as securing the outside, protecting people from any possible dangers of collapsing infrastructure.

Remember it important that when you are starting any contracted work with a company, that they are fully licensed. Especially with liability. Like with anything in this industry, never assume it will go perfectly and that you can finish it fast. Set out knowing your budget, taking into account a plan for all the possible issues which could arise.

Deciding to take on a project of this scale is stressful and difficult, which is why there are professionals like that at  Astounding Interiors who you can employ to do this for you, taking the time and stress off your hands, being experienced in this field, we are prepared for these possible negative eventualities.

Colour psychology: retail design.

Your patrons will build a first impression up from the first 90 seconds of entering into your store. If there is ever a place where first impressions count it is here. Further to this statistic, 62%-90% of first impressions are influenced by the colour and 52% of shoppers will not return if they do not like the stores aesthetics.

Red, this is the colour of sales. When you see the colour red, it seems to say “LOOK AT ME”; this colour is perfect for instantly grabbing your audience’s attention as it is eye-catching and can help to encourage your patrons to make quick decisions in your store. However, too much red can cause aggravation. Hence why is used in fast food chains, the red colour stimulates people to buy cheaper food and eat and leave fast. This helps the store to have a faster turnaround of customers.

On to pink. This is often seen as a two-faced colour, for instance in a psychological experiment on dangerous prisoners, they had their cells painted pink. Prisoners exposed to the pink addition to their cell experienced calming effects for 20 minutes. Before seeing spikes of high levels of aggression, higher than they had experienced before entering the cell. For this reason, pink is a double-edged sword.

Next is orange. This colour is seen as motivational, it makes people happy, energetic and enthusiastic colour. Like red, orange can capture the attention, but without the aggravation side effects. For this reason, the colour is a suitable for a retail design.

Yellow, seen to be a warm and cheery colour, it helps stimulate concentration, with people often see yellow first. It is seen that too much yellow can cause fatigue and irritation, babies will cry more in a yellow room, for this reason, yellow is advisably not suitable for retail stores targeting families, mums and young children.

Green is a calming and refreshing colour; this is perfect for a retail store. With a variety of tones within this colour available, the only recommendation is to avoid using excessive amounts of dark greens as people will associate this with money, and you want your shoppers to shop in peace without concerns of how much money they are spending. Being the colour of nature, green is frequently considered to be the easiest and most relaxing colour on the eyes.

Brown, signifying warmth and security. It is a stable, dependable and down to earth colour. This colour is also appropriate for a retail design and works well when used in unison alongside other colours.

Blue is representative of loyalty, trust and confidence. Blue is a calming colour and will help lower pulse rate, keeping people experience feelings of tranquillity. This is also a good colour for a retail store. It will promote a relaxed experience for your patrons.

Now purple, this colour does not appear often in nature; because of this, it is widely considered a rare colour. For this reason, it was used and is now frequently associated as the colour of royalty. In addition, this colour has become a symbol of luxury, wealth and sophistication.

The penultimate colour to discuss is white, considered to be the portrayal of light and purity. Often described as the absence of colour, it is arguably the colour which best reflects perfection. A shoe store in Las Vegas is entirely white. For this reason, it looks like it glows from the outside. The bonus of using the colour white is that it makes the store appear bigger.

Finally black, seen to be a slimming colour, it is useful when making a store appear smaller. Using black will make your merchandise POP. Black is also a good colour to paint a high ceiling, as it will make your space feel more intimate.

The design process broken down

The design process broken down:


Upon starting any project, we want the client to feel confident in what we do. Part of this confidence comes from understanding the design process.

There are three main categories within the design process; the first being the design and concept stage, the second is the documentation stage, and finally the third stage; the project management and build stage. Together these three categories will cover the whole design process form the first conversations, to the satisfying moment when you finally take a step back and admire the product of all your hard work.

 

The concept stage

Upon starting any project, we provide a presentation highlighting the key overall concepts. There is a lot of initial research and conversation, visiting of the site and gathering of photos. This helps us to develop the overall concepts. As this stage progresses and gets a stronger sense of direction and identity, we can are able to start developing spatial planning (this consists of a General floor plan & layout). After this, we will develop mood boards showing key features of the overall designs using material and tactile aids to communicate details and design concepts (for more information about mood boards check our previous blog post). One this stage has been refined we will start to develop the Finish boards, these are communicating the key flooring, wall and ceiling finishes. Lastly, we will develop the Lighting design & layout.  Together this will give us an in depth and thorough proposal.

The documentation

After a full review of the Design has taken place and the design concept has been approved in principle by the client, we will look in detail at the overall design and produce the following final elements:

// Flooring plan

// Furniture & general arrangement plan

// Elevations indicating walls, features and finishes

// Details of fixed furniture & features

// Finishes specification

// Lighting specification

// FF&E Schedule

 

At this stage, all the items are fully costed and a list is created, each item with an individual price showing total transparency of costs.

 

The project management and build

Finally the project management and build. This is where you start

to gain a real sense of excitement. The Proposal will begin to take a strong sense of form now. In this final stage of the design process we will work on:

// Invoicing

// Procurement

// Construction

// FFF & Equipment placement

 

 

After all of this is complete, we finally have the honour of the handover of venue. There is no more satisfying or fulfilling moment than seeing a the final product of a project your poured your heart and soul into designing and feeling that sense of joy when the client sets their eyes on the final product, being everything they imagined it would be.

Figuring out your budget when remodelling

When you are renovating, understanding your budget requirement is key.

Before you jump in, there are a few things you can think about which will help you to understand how much it is going to cost. Bare in mind, if you want an amazing design, you need to be able to finance accordingly. You must be realistic with your ideas and do your research. Understand that you cannot get a £90K design for £10k. If you want something that will put you ahead, consulting a professional design practice, like Astounding Interiors, will help you in this area. It is our job to innovate with design. We have experience in all the areas, which can save you time and money. Experienced professionals, like the designers at Astounding, will be able to make your budget go a lot further than you can, so hiring a professional is worth a review. Consider carefully how much you can afford and how much you are willing to invest in getting the design right first time. Understand whether you are looking for a cosmetic renovation or a structural one too.

The first thing to consider is the size. If you have a large site, you are likely to need a lot more money. You can hire a professional to survey the property, once surveyed they can go away and draw up an estimated cost. They will be able to deal with the planning and regulations on your behalf. However this additional service will cost you money to undertake.

We always recommend that you research.  When you are renovating it is good to understand what is out there and find reference images, these can be a style of furniture, existing designs, an inspirational image you like, a mood, or even a period or genre.  All of these are good at informing you what sort of style to go for; the style you choose can influence the price range massively.

Read the regulations. The regulations will inform you about what you can and cannot do with the property. This can also inform you about how many people you can comfortably fit into your location. This will inform the quantities of furniture you will want to be purchasing. Do not forget, if you are buying in bulk, it is always good to see if there is a discount available.

Check the plumbing, lighting, and electrics. If you plan on moving these facilities around, this will cost you money, as you will be altering the structure of the building. We would advise you to pay a professional to undertake this, in order to prevent any accidents from happening or problems arising later down the line. These problems, if not addressed correctly the first time can cause a domino effect of other problems, which can create an expensive feat to cover.

Check the condition of your home. Look for underlying problems with the site, including issues like damp, woodworm or rot. Get these addressed in advance, if they are left unaddressed they can create problems which will be more expensive to resolve later down the line.

When you renovate and work with a designer, it is always good to get confirmation of changes or ideas in writing. By having everything in a written format, both you and your designer will be on the same page and will be able to use these points as reference, this will make the process smoother and help you to reach a design solution faster. This is a tactic, which will save you both money, as it will mean there is fewer design mistakes and you will be able to complete and open the establishment.

Hiring a designer will save you money long term as they can ensure the venue stands the test of time, that it is also effective and efficient, ensuring you won’t have to renovate the site too frequently to stay current.  This criteria should be addressed when setting out the brief, from here the designer will be able to provide a concept which can stand the test of time and the remains resilliant to turbulent changes in trends. There will often be a design free, but this will cover the costs of studio time and the designers required.

A good design practice will also be able to get you discounted prices on furniture, which you may not be able to get, as well as the access to styles are not always readily available on the high street. This service at first glance may seem daunting but the cost benefits you can reap out-weigh the negatives. At Astounding, the products we supply will be of high quality, so while it may seem expensive because when you look online you can find a piece of furniture, which looks similar for next to no money. Remember that you are probably not buying the original product, instead getting a rip-off copy that will not stand the test of time, and be prone to breaking. So, before you scrap your designer, consider whether you want to spend a little more money the first time, not having to fawk out large amounts of money later down the line replacing the knock-off look-a-likes.

When you are at the stage of selecting materials, you should fully understand the function of the room. This information can include, (if it’s a venue related to hospitality) the type of music genre? If it is a club, you should use hardwearing durable surfaces, if but it is a lounge, considering more luxurious, soft surfaces. Doing research like this will help you to form an idea of how much the finishes will cost.

Prioritise everything.  Look over your entire wish list and decide what you can compromise on and what is a necessity.

Geographical location: Take into account where your site is located. If it is rural or in a high street. This will effect transport costs and if it on a narrow road or high street consider the cost of lorries, skips etc. to get to your site. As having to arrange a road closure will also cost you money.

Finally, take into account how much work you want to do, consult a builder/construction company, as they will tell you how long it will take and provide you with an estimated quote of how much it will cost to execute the final design and demolish the existing. Remember that these quotes will be subject to change. If you have problems on site or with deliveries, etc. then these will cost money. The chances are, the final design you go for, will grow and change as you develop the property and as a result, the cost for you to hire the builders can increase or diminish. Like anything with building work, take care to protect any important walls, fixtures or floors.

In the early stages, it is best just to create an estimate cost. Overestimating by a little, is better than underestimating by a lot and can result in you being in a situation where you cannot finish the job. Keep in mind money for flexibility in case you have an issue during the construction period. Knowing your priorities and limitations will enable you to know where you must cut the project back.

When budgeting, you can make your life easier by setting up spreadsheets, which will help to keep your spending and payments organised. Keeping track of where you are investing your money is crucial. Once you have estimated costs being able to go through the spreadsheet, and make adjustments as you go will help you to keep track of the pennies, it can be easy to get carried away with your spending, knowing how much you are setting out to spend in the various zones will help to manage this process. Plan it all out in your spreadsheet the first time around, when you find a product; make a note of the colour, finish, quantity, the cost, where you bought it from (website and company) etc. By putting everything in one place you can see where you are spending your money. If you are buying multiple items from one company you can time when you purchase items (when buying, remember to check the lead and delivery times of the products, this is espicially important if you are trying to meet a deadline). Having all these details on your spreadsheet will help save you time and money, as instead of wasting energy finding all the products all over again, you will know exactly what you are buying and where you are buying it from all, in one place. Consider opening a new account at the bank especially for the project. This way you can balance your renovation and personal life/necessities accordingly.

Lighting rules for a nightclub

There are four main types of lighting: ambient lighting, task lighting, accent lighting and feature lighting. In a nightclub, you are most likely going to use three of these; ambient lighting, task lighting and feature lighting.

Ambient lighting refers to mood lighting, it is traditionally, the main source of lighting across an establishment.

Task lighting refers to the key areas where staff need to focus on the job at hand, this is important for the entrance/lobby, behind the bar and for a DJ booth.

Feature lighting is for decorative effect, typically used around bars and near the DJ booth. You can also use this lighting to make a feature of any recessed surfaces or ceilings.

Once you are through the lobby and into the club, the main focal points will be the bar and the DJ booth, as these are the two main reasons people have come to the establishment. So these two will need to stand out and be eye-catching with a creative and durable lighting technique.

If you have any changes in floor height like a step or a ramp, this must be clearly lit so it is not a hazard! The best way to light this feature is with a continuous lighting strip so you can avoid confusion.

The importance of task lighting behind the bar is a point largely overlooked. Bar staff need correct lighting when preparing drinks, often in a clubbing environment, the bar gets very busy, very quickly, so staff are likely to feel a degree of pressure and with pressure comes mistakes. In this environment, you cannot afford for people to make mistakes so the provision of good quality task lighting in this area is crucial.

Before you start putting lighting into the club, think about how each of your areas are used, once you have planned how each zone will be used, finding the appropriate lighting will be much easier. Be sure to remember that your lighting should reflect your interior theme.

Another lighting technique that is used is lighting for EDM shows. This lighting is normally synchronised with the DJ. This lighting includes led fixtures, moving lights, conventional flashing lights, lazers etc. The benefits of using LED in nightclubs is not only efficiency, but LED lights have a long shelf life.

Mediterranean design

This style of design generally refers to the Interiors within the countries of Greece, Italy and Spain. When you think of these countries, you think of that warm sun, as a result, the interior design style uses a more minimalistic approach with white wash walls and ceilings; this is to help the interior feel cool, aerated, fresh and open.

Although Different countries within the Mediterranean will be partial to use different colour palettes, the design principle features remain the same. For example; to demonstrate this change in colour difference, interiors in Greek design will use cooler, vibrant tones like blues, greens and turquoise colours, where as in Italy they use earthier, warmer tones, like oranges and reds. In contrast, the Spanish colour palette also follows a natural approach, combining the cooler Greek style of blues, browns, whites and greens with the orange, red and terracotta tones commonly associated with the Italian palette.

The Principle behind creating a Mediterranean interior is quite simple, for a base, white wash walls, with hardwood or terracotta tiles/stone flooring tends to be a typical foundation for all the interiors. You can incorporate more contemporary design features to this Design by using exposed Timber beams on the ceilings and over the top of key features like archways or Stoves or Fireplaces.

Moving on from this, the Mediterranean style often uses mosaics, you can incorporate these mosaics into features all around the home, whether a table surface, or as a splash back in the kitchen, or in the bathroom and around the shower.

The design uses vibrant, but rustic accessories and furniture while still being reflective of the outdoors. As a result, you will find plants, flowers or plaited produce around the design. The produce braided typically includes onions, garlic, and peppers. Herbs can also be used in the interior, whether they are potted or left to dry out.  This is not only a fragrant aroma but also produces an additional source of vibrancy and colour.

The Mediterranean style uses accessories incorporating a rough-hewn iron hardware. Commonly seen on doors and within the lighting design, home accents of iron combined with copper are also used for kitchen cookware.

The General design within the interior is commonly reflective of a laidback, community atmosphere. In this culture, you will find that doors are always open to the neighbours, friends and family. The result of this is large plank kitchen tables able to seat eight or twelve people. Overall, in Mediterranean design the key advice to remember is to use rustic and colourful furniture and accessories with multiple rich textures, while remembering to incorporate the outdoors within the interior.

One of our recent projects for a nightclub called Mist, used a Mediterranean inspired colour palette. In this design, we used the cooler blue tones typically associated to Greek interior take on this style to create a Mediterranean atmosphere.

How to make a large space feel smaller

In order to make a large space feel smaller you simply need to take the opposite approach to making a small room bigger.

When you can start, think about analysing your choice in colour palette. By using deeper and darker tones and with dark ceilings, you can make a room feel instantly smaller. A good tip here could be to use wallpaper on your ceiling, this can add an unusual flare of creativity to your interior, generating an aura of curiosity to your room. The use of patterned finishes will help to make a room feel cosier. You can incorporate this by using wallpapers with a bold and large pint on it. When you think of wallpapers, do your research. We know first-hand that there is no end to the amazing wallpaper finishes you can have, you simply need to look for it, or if you prefer; let us do the legwork for you.  Astounding Interiors’ interior design service have an extensive range of wallpapers and can show you your dream interior, opening your eyes to a new world of furniture and finishes which you didn’t even know you wanted. If you want to go for an even cosier feeling and have the funding to spare, maybe experiment with using a fabric finish on the walls, one way you could achieve this is by using a suede wallpaper. Although more expensive, these plush finishes not only add texture but also add an instantly cosy nature to the room. Be aware that these sorts of finishes on the walls will wear down if you have furniture pushing up against them.

When selecting the furniture consider the size of the room. Think large furnishings, large rugs, large sofas and large stuffed armchairs, ect. The use of oversized furniture will affect how the scale of the room feels. By filling a room with large featured furniture, you will reduce the empty space in your interior.

If you have the budget, we recommend having built-in furniture developed for the space, like floor-to-ceiling bookcases and cupboards, having your furniture more central and pulling it away from the walls allowing space for circulation can help to make spaces feel smaller.

Gallery walls, this can make larger spaces that may not be fully furnished feel smaller.

You can break up a space by zonally adding in sections. This could be generated by using a range of interior design techniques. For more information, visit our previous posts.

How to make a small space feel large

With interiors becoming increasingly pushed for space, being smarter with interiors is becoming a growing trend. There are many ways you can create the illusion of having a larger space. In this blog we will discuss a few of these design techniques that you can implement into your space today.

By painting your walls, trims and ceilings all in different tones of the same colour, you can actually make the room look larger. White is good at making a space feel larger e.g. by painting the walls in an off-white, the trims one tone lighter than the walls and the ceiling two tones lighter you can open the space up to feel like a larger room.

The colour palette you select when creating this design makes a big impact on the space. By using light and natural tones you can make a space feel instantly larger. If you use bold clashing colours it will instantly make the space feel smaller.

It is important that you utilise as much natural light as possible, natural light will also help to make a space feel larger. You can bring more natural light into a room by uncovering your windows.

Reflective and see-through finishes will also help to make the space feel bigger. Mirrors reflect light and make the space feel bigger. If you place mirrors strategically e.g. using a wall length mirror opposite a window will give the illusion that the space carries on further, reflecting large amounts of natural light will help the space to feel bigger.

Glass allows more light, making space feel bigger. Even in bathrooms, if you use a see-through shower curtain you can make a tiny bathroom feel instantly bigger. Even in a dining room, using see-through chairs can make a space look aesthetically much bigger, you can accessorise chairs with a throw or cushion to make this more aesthetically pleasing.

Smart storage solutions and furniture that is multifunctional has boomed because of this trend and growing demand for smart interior solutions. Examples of smarter storage solutions you can implement include using adjustable dining tables that can be elongated or shrunk according to demand, poufs that open up, doubling as a storage container for any throws and shelving solutions to take stuff off the floor. By making sure the floor-based furniture you do have uses exposed legs, you can also make the space feel more spacious. Any furniture that blocks out large chunks of the floor will make the room feel small, as visible floor space has been dramatically reduced.

Minimising clutter will be your new best friend. By implementing a more minimalist look and reducing the clutter you own, you can open up spaces. Having fewer smaller furniture pieces and using a single, larger statement furniture piece, which fills the room, can also help to make a room feel larger. Colour coding the items you do have can also make a room feel more streamlined.

By using furniture that is the same colour as the walls can also open up the space, as it gives the illusion of depth, broadening the space.

Not all of this information means you cannot incorporate statement pieces; in fact, you can still use statement art pieces. This can actually make the interior feel instantly more expensive. The use of a striped rug can elongate a small room. You can also use rugs to break up a smaller room, contrary to what you may expect, by dividing the room in this way you can actually give the illusion of having more space and will help to give the illusion of zones. This technique is good for studio flats.

In fact, we encourage you to break the rules! For example, just because it is a living room it does not mean you have to have a sofa on the floor, have a swing sofa if you want! This can actually benefit the space, as it will mean that more of the floor is visible.

Finally, the lighting, the removal of overhead lights and implementation of pendant lighting, smaller floor and shelf lights reduces harsh lighting; this softer lighting evokes a more natural feeling and draws your eyes around a room.