“Like the best advertising, idea-driven design has the most impact,” says Darren. “The idea helps you sort through finishes and schemes to achieve your look and represent your vision.” Your idea might be “fuss-free family home” or “stylish Hamptons”. He advises using interiors magazines, the internet (including blogs like this one, of course!) to search for inspiration and create a scrapbook or an online moodboard with Pinterest (Are you pinning yet? I knew it!).
Now an idea and a theme are two very different things. The way he explained it, a kids’ birthday party might have a theme, while a wedding, something altogether more classy, should be about an idea instead. And we all know people who make the mistake of going with a theme (in weddings and in homes) and taking it so far it becomes ridiculous. I’ll risk upsetting a lot of people here but French country? What’s that all about?! (I flirted with shabby chic myself a few years ago. Patchwork and roses EVERYWHERE. In hindsight? Terrible! But I loved it at the time).
Another boring but absolute necessity that Darren talked a lot about was planning, highlighting the importance of function and flow in a home. A scale floor plan enables you to see the space configuration and hopefully any major issues will jump out at you and you can look at solutions. He advises allocating some of your budget to fixing planning and layout issues (badly located doors, restriction of light etc). Pay attention to proportions, which can really have an impact on flow and liveability. Darren says priority number one (assuming you’re revamping your entire home) should be to improve the layout of poorly positioned rooms, particularly kitchens and bathrooms (“They sell houses!”). An accurate floor plan will also help you discover the best place for pieces of furniture.
“Don’t be afraid to block out a window or change a doorway here or there. These small, yet dirty changes, can yield transforming results,” he says.
Come back tomorrow to learn about styling. Everyone loves that bit, don’t they?