Consistently perfecting the art of interior design is made all the more challenging by the fact that no two rooms are ever truly the same. Although, this statement can be brought into question when we consider high rise buildings or hotels (at least where the planned layout of each room is more or less identical), it is the unique way in which the room reacts to light, its surroundings and the views, plus of course the end-user, that create a marked difference.
The following five practices are enduring approaches that, when combined, contribute to an interior that is able to flourish – whether the room is a small third bedroom or a large exhibition space. These are five approaches to accomplishing interior design excellence, adopted by BSBG…
Each area of a room deserves its own level of attention. So we provide emphasis on the areas we wish to draw attention to, creating focal points with the use of furniture, backgrounds and colour. There are areas of a room we might also wish to downplay, and to identify these we must first assess the state of the natural room. If, for example the room is open with a sprawling monumental fireplace, or there are huge French doors leading on to a beautiful veranda overlooking the ocean where the Sun meets the horizon at dusk – these are features that you would want to draw attention to. We earmark these features or areas as the dominant levels of emphasis, and use subtlety in our approach to the other areas of the room in order to further accentuate the already eye-catching dominant level. We adopt simple, neutral colours and furnishings elsewhere, keeping the floor, walls and ceilings from providing a distraction, thereby leading the eye of the occupant to the selected feature. Too many items or features vying for the eye’s attention can be disorienting, confusing and also quite disturbing.
VIOLET – “Robust deep purples are reminiscent of rich textured fabrics and the robes of royalty; regal shades for opulent living. Subtle, nocturnal tones bridge the gap between this colour family and warm neutrals… Warm shadows and deep ombre.”
Whilst each room should adhere to a theme, variation is important from room to room, giving a sense of purpose to each space, and to evoke different feelings within the occupant as they move through the building. Colours, patterns and shapes should differentiate each space, and yet there should also be a sense of unity, as the disparate nature of variety and unity when combined with distinction create a harmony unique to the overall development. This brings us to unity…GREENS – “Botanical shades, respectful of the cycles of nature; from bud, to shoot and leaf. Healing greens are reminiscent of aloe and herbs, soothing both the mind and the eyes… A spiritual refreshment for all the senses.”
When we talk about unity, we refer to the concept of the designer, which will in the majority of cases create a thoughtful relationship between living room, dining area, bedrooms and bathroom. This can be accomplished through repetition of certain colours, patterns and lines, to develop an overriding theme. However, with too much unity you run the risk of your concept drifting into monotony. This is why perfecting the balancing act between variance and unity is such an important task.
Functionality isn’t a word that creative people are always keen to acknowledge, and yet the importance of this consideration in interior design can’t be understated. At every stage of the design process, the question: ‘What is this room going to be used for?’ should never be far from one’s mind. Space planning has to come first, which includes the definition of the route taken when moving through the room. This will more or less dictate furniture placement and layout. If the room leaves something to be desired in terms of proficiency for its function before any interior work has even been carried out, it is the interior designer’s task to maximise the efficiency of the space using the tools at their disposal. It’s not always about creating beauty and sophistication; great interior design can sometimes be about manipulating the space and stripping out the design to a minimalistic state for the sake of usability.
The experience of a space is 90% dependent upon the materials featured. Materials that look and feel great will always have a more positive effect on those that are of poor quality. As a rule, we say that the more natural materials we can incorporate, the better. Linen, silk and natural wood are popular with interior designers for a reason – they exude quality. But quality isn’t always represented by cost, and the ability to understand what represents the ultimate in comfort, quality and sustainability (long-lasting) will usually only come with experience and a good deal of research.