What size should my rug be? What's the correct height to hang pictures? What can I do with that awkward space between my two sofas? Can I mix and match metals? How do I inject some life into my room? Your most asked interior design questions answered!
Remember here though, as I always say, these rules are simply guidance and the thing I love most about interior design is that it allows us to be creative! Rules are there to be broken so if your gut feeling is to go for something that goes against the interior design 'rules' then throw the rule book out of the window! It's YOUR home!
How do I find the right sized rug for my room?
Ideally the larger the better when it comes to rugs. The most common mistake seen with rugs is that they're too small for the space. If possible and space and budget allow then all the furniture in the room should go on top of the rug. The general rule of thumb is to leave around 45cm space of bare flooring around the perimeter of the rug.
Although this looks striking and really sections off a space, it's often not feasible space-wise in a modern day home to have this set up. My personal favourite placement for rugs is to have them large enough so that they go under the front two legs of furniture such as armchairs, sofas or beds. Coffee tables should always sit with each leg or base completely on the rug. This set up allows the rug to tie all the pieces of furniture together and to anchor them instead of them floating in the room.
Rugs can also be great for creating different sections in a room. For example if you have a very large room having two different designated areas demarcated by rugs works really well to create two different cosy spaces.
An invaluable tip when rug buying is to clearly mark out the size of the rug in your space before you buy! Frog tape is fab for this or mark out the space with good old fashioned newspaper. When it comes to rugs don't do guesswork! Make sure you visualise the size in the space before you buy. When I recommend rugs for my designs I always draw them in to a scaled drawing to make sure they work well for the space.
What is the correct height to hang pictures?
The most common mistake I see here is pictures or mirrors which are hung too high. No prizes for guessing who hung them (jokes jokes!).
The general rule is to hang pictures with the midpoint at eye level which tends to be around 150- 160cm from the floor, depending on your height.
If you're hanging a gallery wall then draw an imaginary line through the average middle height and follow the same rule.
The same goes for stacking wall art ie having one above the other.
If you're hanging wall art behind a sofa then around 20-25cm above the back of the sofa is a good rule to follow. You want to create a cohesive look for the sofa and wall art. If the wall art is too high up it will look disconnected from the sofa, too close and it will look cramped.
Hanging three pictures which complement one another side by side above a sofa is always a winner. Not only do they add interest compared to just one picture, they also fill the space enough without looking too small. A gallery wall is also a good shout for the same reason.
Picture heights vary somewhat for children's rooms and you can really mix it up- remember that their eye level is much lower than yours! I like to hang artwork lower and at children's eye level and to play around with different heights in my designs. That way children can clearly see the artwork in their room and gives them an opportunity to interact with it too! My little boy has a lion picture by his teepee which he loves kissing goodnight before bed.
What can I do with that awkward space between two sofas?
Corner sofas can be a good option for a corner in a room but I often find corner sofas limit couch spaces rather than provide more. So if you have two sofas then inevitably you'll get that fiddly corner space between the two... you try a side table but it looks too small. You try a floor lamp but it looks too bare. It ends up becoming a bit of a dumping ground... but don't worry, there are solutions! Breathe life into your awkward corner with some suggestions and inspiration below. There are a few options for this scenario but ideally you want to introduce some height and potentially something lower as well to mix it up.
A side table and oversized lamp
The key here is to make sure the side table is about as high as the arms of the sofa. Then add an oversized lamp to create some height and add some drama. Wall art also looks great with this set up as the light from the lamp will draw the eye to it.
A fabulous excuse to bring the outdoors in and to welcome plants in to your home! Plants in that awkward sofa space add height as well as that beautiful pop of green foliage. The bigger and more leafy the plant, the better!
The impressive height of this stralitzia plant totally detracts from the consistent level of the two sofas. The plant, as well as a side table, create a focal point where the two sofas intersect.
A bookshelf adds that all important height between two sofas. Books, decorative objects, vases and lamps could be displayed to inject some interest to the space.
Can I mix and match metals?
Absolutely! Brass, copper, gold, nickel, chrome... Mixing metals can look stunning when done properly but is something that can feel quite daunting so follow these tips for a perfect mix and match set up.
Limit your mixing to two metals.
The goal is to avoid it looking like different tones of metal have been thrown together willy nilly. By limiting it to just two metals in a space you're keeping the look consistent whilst still introducing some style.
Make sure each metal is featured in the space two or more times
Repeating the use of each type of metal at least once creates a cohesive look throughout the space and ensures a consistent style.
Designate your metals to different areas
Do all the plumbing ie taps and hardware in one metal and the rest of the kitchen fixtures in another metal. This keeps the look consistent.
Use mirrors to add a little extra!
Using mirrors matches the reflective feel of metals so a metal rimmed mirror which matches the bathroom drawer handles, or a kitchen splashback which echoes the chrome fixtures is a great idea.
Accessories can also be used to introduce metals to a space. They're also a fantastic way of using metals and injecting some style without committing to changing your hardware. Matte black accessories paired with gold taps are a huge trend at the moment and add some depth to the gold.
Tip! On that note I would discourage anyone from going down the matte black tap route. Unless you genuinely don't mind cleaning them pretty much every couple of days. It doesn't take long at all for limescale to build up and make them look really tatty unless you wipe them almost daily. A limescale remover can help but use with caution as cleaning products can easily make them peel.
What are some key elements I can introduce to inject some life into a space?
One thing I love about interior design is that we can use our homes to channel our personalities. Your home should be a reflection of you so fill it with all those individual things which appeal to you and make it a happy place to live. These are a few things which never fail to brighten a space and inject some vitality.
Over the last few years there's been a huge rise in biophilic design; interior schemes which bring the outside in and which mimic the natural world. As more of us realise the importance to our wellbeing of getting outside and being closer to nature, so this is reflected in interior design. Plants have been linked to lifting moods and reducing anxiety and they look beautiful in just about any interior design scheme- what's not to love! I tend to incorporate at least one plant in each of my interior designs and find my own home feels bare without them. I'm also thoroughly enjoying getting out and doing some gardening this Spring...but that's a different blog!
Coffee Table Books
What better way to introduce some personality to a space than filling it with things which tell guests more about you and your interests. Coffee table books do just this and there are so many beautiful books out there; the choice is endless and there's sure to be a book for everyone. My one piece of advice when choosing coffee table books is to make sure it says something about you and what you like personally. The Tom Ford and Chanel books have become incredibly popular to have on display but if fashion just isn't really your bag then why have them in your house as expensive ornaments. My favourite coffee table books are For The Love of White, The Interior Design Handbook and Grounded: A Companion For Slow Living. They look great on display and are beautiful to just pick up and have a flick through too.
Another great idea which truly encompasses giving life to a space are the Printworks Photo Albums. They act as coffee table books but are actually photo albums. They even do one to display all your children's artwork.
Accessories are a fantastic way of channeling your personality in to a space. It's also a great idea to have at least one 'wow' accessory such as a large vase filled with oversized pampas grass. It might be something personal to you which you picked up whilst on a special holiday, or something that caught your eye on an unforgettable day out... Something which tells people a bit more about your life.
So there you have it- my thoughts for lifting a space and injecting your own personality and style in to your home! As always, I'd love to hear if this has helped so please do leave a comment below and if you need help with interior styling do get in touch Bamboo Interior Design. Kate x