How to interior design your home like a pro

wooden window shutters

You’ve picked up your paint swatches and scrolled through endless catalogues, but when it comes time to actually start the redesign, it can be hard to know what to prioritise. Whether you’re decorating your first home, or refreshing a dated look, here are our top picks for professional-level home design that fits your family’s lifestyle.

Walls

Tearing out a few walls simplifies the question of what to do with them, but fear not: even if a renovation is out of budget, there’s a lot that you can do to transform the look and feel of your space. This is arguably the highest-impact item on your design list.

Involving your kids in the design can help them take ownership of their space and feel included, but setting some parameters will help you maintain your sanity and a more cohesive-feeling home. Ask about favourite colours, textures or themes that they would like used in their space, and then aim to incorporate these in subtle touches – bringing these in via a feature piece of furniture or décor is usually a better idea than letting them inspire the paint or wallpaper.

In the rest of the home, try to strike a balance between bold feature elements and subtler backgrounds. Choose a rich, saturated paint colour for the walls, but recognise that you’ll need lighter neutrals for the flooring and furnishings. Many prefer the opposite approach: neutrals or pale tints on the walls with feature furnishings and décor. This allows you to swap out your feature colours or prints as the mood or season strikes you.

Wallpaper tends to look dated, though a contemporary print with bold colours or elegant metallic on a feature wall or structural element can add artistic flair and interest to your room. Wall stencils are the cooler, updated variation.

Floors

Consider durable flooring for the family home, particularly if your children are young. Hardwoods, engineered hardwood flooring, concrete and cork are all good options. Using area rugs on a hard surface floor makes cleaning easier and allows you to define spaces and change your style frequently.

Window coverings

Window coverings should always be functional, but you can elevate your space with the right choices to tie together a look. Light, airy curtains offer a feeling of movement but are less practical around children. Wooden shutters offer a more durable alternative, and the wide range of forms and finishes suit nearly every design.

Furniture

Your interior design plan may or may not include a furnishings refresh in its scope. It’s possible to change décor without repurchasing furnishings, but in that case you should take existing furniture into account during the design-planning phase. Think about improving storage, even if larger items such as seating or tables are out of scope. Improving beds or appliances is a great investment that may or may not influence design but can significantly improve your daily experience.

Start your redesign by considering how much you’re willing or able to change. Wall paint or coverings will have the highest impact, while changes to flooring tend to be subtler and pricier. Window coverings are a minimalist touch with surprisingly high impact, and furniture changes follow after as more of a finishing touch, rather than a first investment.

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