Interior Design Course
Welcome to the Walls and Floors Interior Design Course! Over 6 sections, I’m going to teach you some interior design essentials! From planning out your decorating project and knowing exactly what you want to achieve from it, through to choosing the correct colours, building a scheme, sourcing the products, and finally adding some stylish, homely finishing touches!
Here's a summary of the interior design course...
1: The Design Analysis
2: Finding Your Style
3: Choosing Your Colour Scheme
4: The Importance of Texture
5: How to Source Products
6: The Finishing Touches
Part 1: The Design Analysis
The first step in any interior design project is to fill out a quick brief / analysis, to make sure you consider all the factors, before you make a start. This will help you create a room that fits your needs and lifestyle exactly, and fulfils any functions the room may have.
You need to look at the people who will use the room you’re transforming – do they have any special needs? i.e. If you have children, does there need to be something to keep them entertained?
You need to look at the function of the room you’re working on. i.e. Does your living room double up as a dining room? Do you need a dining table in there, or do you need to invest in some fold away lap tray tables?
What possessions will you be keeping, if any? You’ll have to incorporate them into your scheme, and potentially replace items you’re not keeping. i.e. Are you keeping your dining table? If not, do you need to budget for buying a new one?
I’ve put together a design analysis to fill out. It will help you to get a better understanding of what needs to be done, ready for Week 2’s task, which is all about finding your style. This leads us nicely to this week’s task…
Task Time: Complete Your Design Analysis
Hopefully by now, you’ve started to understand the importance of filling out a design brief. It’s the foundation onto which you build your interior design scheme.
Your task for week one is to fill out this Design Analysis. Either print it out, or write the questions and answers out on paper.
This will give you a clear overlook of what you’re trying to achieve, ready for the rest of the Interior Design Course. Once you have collated all the relevant information, you should be able to formulate priorities and compromise between needs and desires. Remember - it’s probably not possible to achieve everything in the original desired outcome due to constraints, especially on a budget, however the rest of the course will teach you to overcome and replace any short comings with innovative improvements.
Part 2: Finding Your Style
The next step in planning an interior design scheme is to understand a little about your style. A person's individual style effects the colours, lighting and accessories that will eventually be used in the room, so it's important to understand what your style is. That way, you'll easily be able to to tell whether or not something ties in with the project or not, to produce a room that is just right for you.
You may come to find that you have more than one personal style. Most people do, in fact. In this case, you'll need to identify the different styles, and choose the one that's right for the room / project you're focusing on.
Here's an example: You're decorating two rooms - the kitchen and the bathroom. You have two styles. You like bright, bold, tropical colours (vibrant greens and pinks), but you also like serene and soft palettes (gentle blues and off-whites). Since the kitchen is a place where we usually like to wake ourselves up with breakfast, the brighter, tropical colours might suit the kitchen better. Whereas the bathroom is a place where we like to relax and unwind - so the gentler palettes would better suit here.
I've created a task to help you identify your own personal styles...
Task Time: Create A Scrapbook or Pinterest Board
1) Head down to Wilko and buy a scrapbook, or simply make an account on Pinterest and create a new board. Title the scrapbook / board 'My style' or 'Things I like'. Now, flick through interior design magazines, or browse through Pinterest, and find interiors or accessories that you like - things that catch your eye - themes you'd like to have in your home. If you see a coastal-themed living area you love the look of, cut it out and stick it in your scrapbook (or pin it to your Pinterest board). Keep going, until you've got a decent collection of images built up.
2) Before long, you'll see similarities between the pictures you've chosen. Try to divide yours into two or more styles.
When I did the task, I saw two clear styles:
'Woodland' - logpiles, faux fur, forest critters, wood effects, tartan prints, etc.
'Tropical / Botanical' - ferns, cacti, teals, greens, pinks, flamingos, etc.
Here's the Pinterest board. I've highlighted 'woodland' pins in brown, and 'tropical / botanical' pins in pink.
3) Once you've divided your pins into different styles, choose one of them. For example, I'll choose 'tropical'.
Now, pick three words that describe your chosen style.
Some words you could choose:
Airy, masculine, eclectic, historical, street, urban, Californian, off-the-wall, conservative, light, in-your-face, extrovert, gentle, relaxed, rich, simple, exotic, tropical.
For my tropical style, my three words will be: 'Fresh, natural, exotic.'
Bring your chosen style and three words with you to the next installment of my Interior Design Course, where we'll be looking at choosing your colours!
Part 3: Choosing A Colour Palette
The most important thing, when it comes to choosing the colour scheme of your pending project, is to understand a little about colour. What mood each colour evokes, and how to know if colours will work well together.
The colour wheel: Back to basics
You may have seen the colour wheel back in school. It's simply an arrangement of colours, put into logical order. You may have heard of primary, secondary and tertiary colours, too.
There are three primary colours - YELLOW, RED and BLUE. Out of these, after endless bouts of mixing, you can eventually make any other colour in existence.
Mixing primary colours together will land you with secondary colours:
RED + YELLOW = ORANGE
YELLOW + BLUE = GREEN
RED + BLUE = PURPLE
Mix primary colours with their neighbouring secondary colours, and you'll end up with tertiary colours:
YELLOW + ORANGE = BEIGE
YELLOW + GREEN = LIME
BLUE + GREEN = TEAL, etc. etc.
Where's white, black and grey, you ask? These are achromatic - they aren't technically colours, so they aren't displayed on the colour wheel. However, we can use white, black and grey to modify our primary, secondary and tertiary colours. We'll come to that later.
If you want to use more than one colour in your decorating project, and you want a nice, harmonious blend where the two colours work well together, you’ll want to choose a pair of complementary colours. To find a particular colour’s complementary colour, just look opposite it on the wheel. For example, aquatic blues sit opposite orange - that's why teal and copper works so well together.
Warm and cool shades
You can divide the wheel into two halves – warm and cool. This is perfect when it comes to deciding what sort of scheme you want to go for in your home. Do you want to create a rich, warm, cosy atmosphere, to help capture the warmth of summertime all year round? Or do you want to create a cool, mellow, refreshing ambience you can relax and unwind in after a hard day at work?
From yellow, through to orange, red and burgundy – that’s the warm half of the colour wheel. They’re the colours we most associate with fire and sunshine.
From green, through to turquoise, blue and purple – that’s the cool half of the colour wheel. Those are the colours we associate with vegetation, water, sky, and twilight.
Above: Magia Mosaic Tiles
Contrasts and Accent Colours
If you're unsure what 'contrast' means, here's a simple definition: 'to differ strikingly'. When talking about contrasting colours, several types of contrast come into play. But to keep it simple, we'll focus on three: light/dark, plain/bright and cold/warm. Introducing a contrasting colour into your scheme can help bring balance to a decor scheme. For example, an all-black room might look too dark; so introducing white 'accent' colours will help to add some light into the room. An all-white room might look incredibly plain - so a 'pop' of bright colour would massively help to add interest. An all-red room might look too warm; so adding some blues or whites into the mix will help to cool things down - creating balance.
For example, below, a white backdrop has been broken up with the introduction of some eye-catching purple wall tiles...
As mentioned earlier, different colours can effect our moods in different ways; environmental colour has been proven to affect human health and behaviour.
Reds, oranges and yellows tend to excite and stimulate. In experiments, these colours have been shown to increase pulse, respiration rates and blood pressure, with red being the most effective. They are also warming colours, and project energy, activity, secrecy and intimacy. Therefore, these colours and qualities fit well in rooms where you'll entertain and welcome guests - such as the kitchen, or the living room.
Blues, greens and violets promote feelings of peace and relaxation. This becomes more true, the paler the shades used. Contrary to reds, oranges and yellows, these colours actually slow the heartbeat and relax muscles throughout the body. They help simulate and meditation and healing. Therefore, use them in rooms that are dedicated to harmony, relaxation and rest - such as the bathroom or bedroom.
Here is the symbolism associated with each colour:
Red - exciting, bold, passionate. Will add warmth into a colour scheme.
Yellow - radiant, joyful, cheerful, optimistic. Effective in dark hallways; can provide a warm welcome.
Green - fresh, tranquil, relaxing. Ideal for injecting a natural look into any room throughout the home.
Orange - warm, lively, sociable, energetic. A good choice for rooms lacking in light.
Gold - The colour gold is the colour of success, achievement and triumph.
Silver - The colour silver has a feminine energy - it is fluid, emotional, sensitive and mysterious.
Soft pink - soothing, calming. Will add a relaxing quality to a room.
Purple - joy, creativity and power. Best for bedrooms.
Blue - sea, sky, truth, faith, loyalty. Good for creating a refreshing coastal look.
Black - statement, dark. Blacks absorb a lot of light, so important to incorporate reflective surfaces and bright accents. Gold, lime and orange work well with a black backing.
Grey - quiet, calm, understated. Goes well next to any other colour. Perfect for grounding a room full of colourful accents.
White - light, fresh, hope, holiness. Perfect for adding a sense of spaciousness to a room.
Task Time: Identifying the Colours within Your Style
Look back to the style board that you chose in Week Two of the Interior Design Course. From what you've learnt this week about colour, what do the colours in your chosen scheme tell you?
For example, in my chosen style board (above), which focuses on a tropical botanical scheme, the green shades convey a fresh, tranquil and relaxed setting.
Also, I found that gold was a reoccurring colour in my tropical botanical scheme, which portrays success, achievement and triumph.
Purple is present throughout my style boards. It represents joy, creativity and power.
White seems to form the backdrop to the examples in my chosen style. White represents light, hope and space.
Another thing I've noticed whilst looking through my style board is the consistent presence of wood textures. Brown is a very natural colour, which ties in perfectly with the tropical scheme. This is something I will take into consideration when it comes to sourcing products in Part Five.
Part 4: The Importance of Texture
A room without texture is missing something. You can have the lighting, and the colour scheme, and the furniture – but without texture – with nothing but flat, plain surfaces – a room will feel empty, lifeless and bland. Texture adds character, and that special ‘pop’ to the appearance of a room.
Above: Wood Split Face Tiles
So what is texture?
In interior design terms, it’s considered ‘the sensations caused by the external surfaces of objects through the perceived sense of touch.’ i.e. you don’t need to touch a surface to feel it; you can feel it with your eyes. And that’s why texture can add personality and interest into an interior area; it adds another dimension to what you’re seeing and experiencing.
Think back to last week in the Interior Design Course, when we talked about how different colours can affect the mood of a room. Texture works the same way. Using rough textures will make a room feel more intimate, whilst using smoother textures will make it feel more aloof and impersonal.
We also touched on the importance of contrast last week. If all the spaces and objects in a room are too similar, our eyes won’t know what to focus on – that’s why we should use a mix of different textures. Not too many, mind you. 3 textures in one space is generally the golden rule. More than that, and it starts to give your visitors a headache.
Equally as important is balance. Whereas with colours, every dark colour should be off-set with a light one – with texture, every rough surface should be off-set with a smooth one, and every dull matt surface should be off-set with a shimmering gloss one.
Above: Slate Split Face Tiles
Ways of implementing textures into your home
If you have ceiling mouldings, then lucky you! They make for a great textured feature in any room. Make them the focal point, for a regal;, exclusive look!
Wooden benches, satin reading chairs and marble table tops offer great ways of adding textured visual impact. Woody, natural textures help to create a rustic farmhouse ambience.
Got a plain, smooth sofa, or arm chair? Inject some interest by adding a blanket and some throw cushions. They can help to add a warmer, more homely look.
Break up a dull floor space by adding a rug. And add 3D wall art or textured tiles to wall spaces. Undulating wave tiles were a big hit at the Surface Design Show 2016, which I visited at the Business Design Centre earlier this year. For all of my findings from the show, click here: Surface Design Show Highlights.
Task Time: Create a Texture Mood Board
Some people get stuck in a rut when it comes to their style. For example, I like stripes. But in an overall decorating scheme, endless stripes would get a bit repetitive. So here's a task to help loosen you up, and to help you step outside your comfort zone!
In last week's Interior Design Course task, we identified the colours in our chosen styles. Choose one and create a collection of as many textures as possible (on Pinterest or create a real life collage). For example: samples of fabrics, carpet, wallpaper, tiles, etc.
Pick textures and patterns that you might not usually go for. It's your chance to think outside the box, and you may discover exciting contrasts of texture that can inject a more adventurous look into your colour scheme.
Part 5: How to Source Products
Unusually in this part, we're going to start with a task!
Task Time: Creating A Style Concept, Ready for Sourcing
Remember Week 2 when you created your style boards? I asked you to choose three words to describe your chosen style. Remind yourself what yours were (I described my tropical botanical style as 'fresh, natural and exotic').
You're going to use these three words to find three images that sum up your scheme. One image for each word. This will form your Style Concept, which will help you source your materials, furniture and accessories.
It's important to bare in mind what you've learnt in terms of colour and texture; the colours you identified from your Style Boards in Week 3, and any textures you liked the look of from last week's Texture Moodboard.
Once you have these three images, this is your Style Concept, which you will work from when designing and sourcing your products. Take a look at the three pictures, and then about how the colours, themes and textures can translate into your finished room. Remember to tie back to your Design Analysis from Week One, where you outlined what you wanted to achieve in your finished room, and what functions it has to serve.
In my Design Analysis, I wanted my living room to be a place where I can relax after a hard day at work - but also a fun place, where I can entertain my guests. So I'll want lots of lounging space - cushioned sofas, maybe even bean bags to sit on.
When I look at my three images, I can imagine the room being filled with foliage; either in the form of plants, or through patterned wallpapers / tiles / soft furnishings. There will be some wooden textures in the room; perhaps a wood effect floor, or a piece of wooden furniture, like a rocking chair. I can think about different forms of wood - driftwood, or recycled pallets. White could form the base of the room (the wall spaces), as the greens would pop against it. Not forgetting the exotic quality of the parrots, I could inject bold / tropical colours through the choice of accessories (for example a lamp shade, or a rug, or an ornament). The yellows could be introduced in the form of the metallic golds which I discovered earlier on in the Interior Design Course. This could be a photo frame, a bird cage (to tie in with the exotic parrots) or a bright bean bag.
Once you have an idea of how the colours and textures in your Style Concept can translate into wall / floor coverings, furnishings and accessories, it's time to look at what your budget can allow, and to look at sourcing your products.
Considerations, Budget and Sourcing
Look back at your Design Analysis from the start of this interior design course. What budget did you set? What parts of the room have to stay the same? What parts can you change? What parts need to change, to incorporate your new style? Does your existing wall / floor fit in with the new scheme, or do they need updating?
Prioritise your purchases, according to your budget - and save money where you can. For example, I have a plain cream sofa, which doesn't exactly tie in with the fresh and exotic palette of my chosen style. However, it's not in my budget to buy a new colourful sofa, so I have to improvise. I can inject this tropical scheme into my sofa by adding some themed cushions - either with exotic floral prints on them, or with parrots with pops of bright yellow and purple.
What's the wall going to look like? Paint? Wallpaper? Tiles? If it's a plain colour, do you need to add a colourful piece of wall art, or a mirror, or a photo frame?
What's going on the floor? Bare boards? Carpet? Tiles? Lino? Remember - bare boards need treating regularly, and they can give you splinters. Carpet stains easily. Lino blisters and warps over time. Tiles are the only hard-wearing, zero-maintenance, long-lasting option for interior floor spaces. Could a large impersonal floor space by made to feel more homely by adding a rug?
Do you need to buy any furniture? Do you have any in the room already that you can make fit into the scheme, or does it need replacing?
What accessories can you add into your room to help enforce the style / scheme? Vases, bowls, cushions, throws, ornaments, ottomans, side tables, lamp shades?
Where to source from
For wall and floor coverings, browse our range of tiles. We have colours, textures and patterns to match every style - and with realistic wood effects, splitface tiles, hexagons, and captivating geometric Moroccan designs, tiles are perfectly suitable for use throughout the house.
For accessories and furnishings, if you're on a tighter budget, browse eBay, car boot sales, and local listings on Facebook.
Interior design and lifestyle magazines (such as Good Homes) are full of trendy buys each month (usually with a couple of budget pieces).
Keep an eye out when you go around friends' and family's houses for must-have pieces that fit in with your scheme.
Try Etsy and Not on the High Street for more bespoke pieces.
Watch TV shows, such as Grand Designs, for interesting new products.
Made.com is designer-lead and full of more interesting, colourful furnishings.
Check out voucher websites like VoucherCodes.com for vouchers across a wide variety of home products.
For tile discounts, take a look at the Walls and Floors Offers Page, but shhh - it's a secret!
Interior Design Course Part 5: The conclusion
Know what you're going to have on your walls and floors. Know what you need in terms of furniture. Think about what accessories will help to inject your scheme into the room.
Tackle your project in that exact order:
1) Create your backdrop - lay your floor tiles, and decorate your walls.
2) Introduce any large, heavy pieces (furniture).
3) Add the littler accessories that help complete your scheme.
Next week, in the final part of the Interior Design Course, I'm going to help you complete the above tasks. We'll look at tiling tips for your walls and floors. We'll look at ideas for updating existing furniture. And we'll look at styling tips, to add those finishing touches!
Part 6: The Finishing Touches
In this last installment, we're going to tie it all together! We're going to look at creating the base of your room (using tiles), we're going to look at ideas for updating your dated existing furniture, and we're going to look at those finishing styling touches.
Creating your the base for your room
Last week, we talked about the benefits of using tiles over bare wooden floorboards, carpet, lino or laminate. Wood effect tiles are a very versatile option, and look great on floor spaces throughout the house! If you do choose to go for tiles, then you have one of two options. You can pay a professional to do the tiling work or you can tackle the tiling yourself. If you choose the latter, and it's your first tiling project, then fear not! You're in good hands. Check out our How To Tile section for handy step-by-step video tutorials.
Upcycle your existing furniture, or create new pieces
Last week in the Interior Design Course, we looked at what new products you could afford to buy within your budget. If new furniture isn't allowed for, have you considered updating your existing furniture, to make it fit your scheme? 'Upcycling' is a major trend when it comes to interior design. It allows for creativity, it doesn't break the bank, and it's less wasteful.
If you've got a piece of wooden furniture that is dark and dull and doesn't quite fit your scheme, then Annie Sloan chalk paint is a quick, easy and effective way of transforming it into something personal and unique. Don't be afraid to be clumsy when painting - brush strokes add character and a shabby chic finish. Complete with a wax coat to seal and protect. For example, in my botanical living room, I would use a green paint.
If you're on a tight budget but you want to bring some new furniture into your room, then use the upcycling process to make your own for next to nothing! Acquire some old wooden wine crates, and give them a lick of paint to tie them into your colour scheme. Then it's simply a case of using your imagination. You can stack the crates on their side and fix them together using wood glue. This creates an interesting and characterful shelving unit, which fits to any shape or size by simply adding more wine crates.
Alternatively, if you want to create a new side table or coffee table, then visit your local tip or car boot sale, and find a cheap table with a leg frame. Take it home, smash the worktop off, paint the leg frame, and then fix your wine crate on top of it! Voila - a bespoke piece of upcycled furniture, made to purpose, that is completely your own.
Accessorizing your sofa
If your sofa doesn't fit into your new scheme, but you haven't got the budget to replace it, then here are a two simple tips to help inject your scheme into your existing sofa...
- Add the primary colour or colours of your chosen scheme or style into your sofa in the form of cushions and throws. Experiment with layers and using different textures.
- Try buying a patterned rug or pouffe, and sitting it in front of your sofa.
How to make a display on a coffee table or shelf
To dress a coffee table or shelf in an interesting way that ties in with your scheme, choose one of the colours we addressed from your styling scheme in an earlier week, and buy some accessories that tie in around this colour. Use a mix of textures to add interest. Group them together on your coffee table, or on a shelf. For example, for my tropical botanical scheme, I would collect together green candles, brightly coloured parrot ornaments, etc.
Choose some fresh (or faux) flowers that match your colour scheme, sit them in a vase, and place them on your coffee table or shelf for a refreshing pop of natural colour.
For a casual look, add a stack of magazines to the under-shelf of your coffee table.
The Interior Design Course: There you have it!
So there you have it. Your room should now contain a healthy dose of your own personal style! It should also tie in with the functionality and briefing of the Design Analysis you completed in Week One! So enjoy your completed room, and show it off to your friends!