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Top 10 Interior Mistakes by Lauren Gilberthorpe

Lauren Aston
30 August 2017

Hello from Canada, 

While I’m away I’m handing my blog over to lovely Lauren Gilberthorpe, a fabulously talented interior designer I met a few years ago on social media. Lauren’s own blog and her new Design School are both packed full of tips about making the most of a space and styling it beautifully so I asked if she’d share some of her Interiors expertise with some ‘what NOT to do’s’. She’s kindly obliged with a list of 10 brilliant points! I can’t wait to put them into practice when I get back…

From one Lauren to another

Hello to any of you who don’t know me, I’m Lauren! In my head I have been an interior designer since the age of 6 and have ever since been obsessed with houses, textures and colour. I am the founder of the LGI Design School and also own my own design studio where I specialise in residential interior design. After spending almost ten years in the industry I am well equipped with top tips and tricks of the trade to help you avoid making some of the most common interior design mistakes.

Take it away…

1. Rugs are a fantastic tool for grounding a space, adding texture and colour and providing a platform upon which your carefully selected furniture should sit. However the dimensions of the rug are so important. Too small and it will simply disappear into the room loosing all effectiveness. That being said allow for enough space around the side so it doesn’t just look like a carpet. A simple tip for overcoming this is to draw the rug out with a floorplan or you could even tape out the shape and size of the rug to see how it fits around your furniture.

2. Styling is like the cherry on top when coming to the end of a project. Piecing together different objects adds dimension and personality to a room. However a common mistake it to over accessorise with too many small objects which can end up looking cluttered. As a rule of thumb try not to use things that are smaller than an apple. Opt for quality over quantity and use larger statement pieces. Scale is so important.

3. Did you know that within the interior design industry the rule of thumb for the number of light sources in a room is around eight?! Lighting is essentially one of the most integral elements to a design. So don’t fall into the trap of having one light source, you can spend so much money on carefully designing a room but if you haven’t illuminated it properly it will really let it down. I would strongly advise planning out your lighting to include light sources at different heights around the room, also considering task light (such as a reading lamp or kitchen pendant) and ambient lighting to create a soft glow. I love using dimmers so you can easily adjust the mood of the room.

4. Long gone are the days when a three piece suite was a must have! Now you don’t need to stress about having matching furniture, it actually looks much better to mix different wood finishes, textures, shapes and sizes to create points of interest when your eye moves round the room. The key to this is to maintain balance, try to evenly spread out similar elements to tie all of the aspects together. 

5. The next pitfall to avoid is not thinking practically when designing a room. When looking at a room objectively you can sometimes forget to take into consideration a cupboard door that needs to open or a route that is commonly taken to access the door. I promise you if you block pathways or cupboards that you need to get to it will annoy you so much when you come to living in your space. Whenever I measure up a property I always measure the width of a cupboard door that opens out to ensure I don’t obstruct it with furniture. Likewise think practically about the space needed to get to the door as again squeezing around something every time you leave the room will get frustrating pretty quickly!

6. Over the years people naturally collect furniture from here there and everywhere. I really advise you to be selective with what you keep and don’t be afraid to have a bit a clear out once in awhile. Try to avoid the feeling that you must hold on to and use every bit of furniture you’ve ever acquired, your tastes have probably changed and that’s ok!

7. As utterly gorgeous as the Farrow & Ball paints are, I’m well aware that their hefty price tags can leave you a bit weak at the knees, but do be careful if you decide to colour match as the quality of the paint can make a considerable difference to the finished colour. Make sure you make big samples of your chosen colour to check it’s still suitable for your room before you opt for any paint colour.

8. I touched on styling a bit earlier, and another common mistake in this area is to not consider the heights of the accessories you use. If you choose objects that sit on the same level it will become very boring and your eye will move around the room quickly. Try to create what is known as a ‘cityscape’ effect by introducing different heights to grab your attention.

9. Not doing a floor plan is probably up there with one of the biggest errors when designing a room. It should really be one of the first things you do. I know how easy it is to get carried away when you see the ‘perfect’ sofa and make an impulse purchase based upon your rough idea that it should fit in the space. But with so many furniture options out there, a floor plan with measurements can actually save you a lot of time by eliminating lots of things that you can’t have simply because they won’t fit the space. It’s also a great way of seeing how the furniture will fit in your room without lots of heavy lifting moving things around.

10. The final thing which seems to be quite a common misconception is that pushing all of your furniture up against the walls is the only option. By pushing everything to the edges of the room it creates this rather useless void of space in the centre which ends up being pretty useless. Instead ‘float’ furniture by bringing it into the room. If you have a large space don’t be afraid to create sections by placing a sofa in the middle of your space as a division. If your space is smaller, even pulling the sofa into the room by 10cm will give the illusion of more space.

Goodbye from us both

I hope you enjoyed all the tips and tricks, don’t forget to checkout Lauren’s website and Design School if you’d like to learn more!

 Thank you for stopping by 🙂 

Lauren x

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