Insider secrets for interior design success

Newsletter Article, Autumn 2013

Whether you embark on your redecorating journey with the help of an interior designer, or fly solo, follow the advice of a professional and you’ll arrive at a room and home you’ll love.  One of our local partners, Carolyn Kolasinski of Kolaris Design shares her top tips exclusively with Evoke.

Interior Design

Start with the practical use of space and the lighting, move on to layout, then figure out your colours and style. Source the right products for your scheme and don’t forget to consider a bespoke piece to pull it all together. 

Sound a little too complicated? Don’t worry: following these steps will help find your way.

1) Practicality

This always comes first.  Ask yourself who will use the space and how.  Is the room for the whole family or a space for entertaining?  What activities will take place here?

This is a good way to establish what furniture you need.  For example, how much and what kind of storage do you want? How much seating will you need?

This is also the time to address the lighting and electrics.  Is there enough light?  Can you adjust it to different levels to suit how the room will be used?  Study, play, or work during the day, cosy evenings or watching TV need very different levels of light.  And don’t forget those long, dark, winter afternoons.

Do you have enough plugs and are they in the right places?  If you like to curl up in a corner with a book, is there enough light in that area?

Lit media unit

Consider making your furniture a light source too.

Working with bespoke furniture makers means we can incorporate lighting seamlessly into furniture to great effect. Imagine a cabinet or shelving with glass contents illuminated while the integral lighting adds ambient light to the room.

The effects you can create are endless: a soft glow up onto the ceiling, lit wooden boxes for display, lighting around the base or underneath a piece furniture, all can give a beautiful effect.





2) Layout

Think about how people will move into and out of the space.  Where would the furnishings best fit for ease of use and to allow a comfortable flow of traffic?

Spend time trying out different scenarios.  Sometimes the immediately obvious layout isn’t the best one.  A useful trick is to make a scale drawing of your room. Then draw the furniture – either existing or planned – also to scale.  Cut out these drawings so you can move each piece around on the plan to help you see how it might work in the space.

While you’re doing this think about what we call ‘lines of sight’.  When you walk into the space, which is the first place to catch your eye? Make sure it isn’t a neglected corner!

 Tip: Artwork, especially at varying heights, adds interest to any room.  Often tall lamps or tall cabinets are a good way of getting some height into a room.

Once you’ve taken all that into consideration, and have a layout you’re happy with, it’s time to move on to colour and style.


3) Colour and style

There may be something you’re sure you want to incorporate into the room such as a piece of furniture, a painting, or a rug.  You can use this as a starting point when thinking about the colours and style of the room.

Peacock style & colourEven if you’re starting from a completely blank canvas, the following tip is a really good way to help you work out what colours and style you want to use.  It’s important to consider the room as a whole so all the elements – the colours, fabrics and furnishings work together. If you are going for an eclectic look there still needs to be a coherent thread.

Try this: What sort of feel do you want in the room? What sort of style?  See if you can find some buzzwords that describe what you’re after.  This can be easier said than done but it’s worth persevering.

Examples might be, fresh, calm, vibrant, cosy, luxurious, pared down, boho chic, colonial – the words need only work for you to help you picture a look you want.

Now is a good time to hit the internet.  Pinterest is a useful tool that allows you to create boards of images which reference back to the websites you found them on.  It’s also overflowing with images and ideas others have collected.  Keep referring back to your buzzwords to keep you on track.

This is not an easy process.  Many of our clients feel they’d really struggle to get all the elements to work together and complement each other within the framework of the style they want to create. We’re on hand to guide and help them identify the look and feel they want.  And of course to help source the materials and products that will bring it all to life.


In praise of bespoke furniture

We often recommend bespoke furniture as part of a room scheme.  It allows us to work with the client and the maker to get the perfect piece for the room.

The benefits of bespoke furniture are many – we touched on lighting earlier but you can get really clever with the designs. For example we helped design a dresser unit for the dining room of one client, which concealed a home office.

It incorporated a pull-out desk, and spaces in the lower units for a printer, scanner, laptop and document shredder.  The scanner sat on a pull out mechanism so the lid could be lifted.  Their once little-used dining room is now used daily and I envy their household filing system!

We helped design a desk for another client, which had built-in drawers in the base unit.  The front looked like a bookshelf but could be pulled forwards to give access to hidden drawer space behind the books.  This meant the client could fully use and get to the storage space under the desk.  You just can’t get that clever with off-the-peg furniture.

Most of us have spaces and areas within our homes we could use more effectively for storage or display.  Bespoke furniture is often the only way to get the best use from awkward spaces.

Quality versus cost is also very much on the side of bespoke furniture.  That may surprise you, but in the long run it often doesn’t cost any more than mass produced furniture.  With a good designer and furniture maker you can get a whole lot more for your money.  And you have an enormous choice of detailing, materials and colours to make the piece truly yours.

So happy planning and remember, we’re here if you need us.


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Carolyn Kolasinski   

Kolaris Design

07966 284498





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