• LIVING & DINING ROOM DECORATING TIPS

     

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    As some of you already know, I looooove interior design!! I love it so much that I decided to do a diploma in it a few years ago; this doesn’t make me a master of interior design, but it has equipped me some basic principles which have been a huge help when I’ve needed to decorate a space. I recently finished decorating my open plan living & dining room, so I wanted to share 5 tips to help you guys approach your next design project with more confidence.  So, keep on reading and be inspired! (N.B. I’ve included shopping links at the end of this post)

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    1. Create a Plan



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    Although it may seem boring, planning your design project is THE essential first step. Interior design is the art of creating a beautiful and functional environment, so having a well thought out plan will help you to achieve your design goals. You need to have a clear vision for your space, a list of what tasks need to be done, and a budget so that you know how much your project will cost. So, the first thing I did was create the simple mood board above using the ‘Pages’ App on my iPhone.  I suggest that you ask yourself the following questions before you start your mood board (I’ve included my answers to these questions in parentheses so that you can understand how this guided my planning):

    • How do you want you want your space to feel? (I wanted a contemporary space that was inviting, comfortable, stylish, and fun.)

     

    • What activities you plan to do in the space? (I wanted a space that allowed me to entertain my friends, watch tv, relax, eat, and to do creative projects. So, this meant that I needed to have enough seating, space for my TV, comfortable chairs to relax in, and a dining table which also functions as a surface for my creative projects.)

     

    • How much storage do you need? (This was very important because I needed to store extra linens, all my arts and crafts supplies, cook books, photo albums, and just a bunch of random stuff. So I got a large sofa with storage under the chaise lounge for linens, and then I used 3 shelves from Ikea (i.e., Kallax Shelves – they are amazing) with baskets to store everything else.)

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    I then selected the colours I liked and followed the 60%/30%/10% rule when choosing how much of each colour to use for wall colours, furniture and soft furnishings. So, the predominant colour I used was white (i.e., 60%) and this was the colour of 3 walls, the ceiling and all my shelves. For the 30% I chose a mixture of teal, grey and black and I used these colours for my feature wall, couch, curtains, dining chairs, coffee table and soft furnishings. Then I chose a bright yellow as my accent colour and this made up the remaining 10%; I used this fun colour for my arm chairs and a couple of throw pillows. By the way, you don’t want too much of your accent colour otherwise it will overpower the room.

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    I also created a detailed spread sheet of each item of furniture I needed to buy, the store I needed to buy it from, and the cost of each item. This not only helped me to clarify my budget, but it also helped me to organise my shopping efficiently so that I could prioritise what items I needed to buy online and what stores I needed to visit in person. By referring to this spreadsheet often I stopped myself from making impulsive purchases – I don’t know about you, but I fall in love with decor items very quickly and all reason seems to fly out the window! Trust me, you don’t want to buy an expensive piece of furniture from Morocco then realise later that you’ve run out of money to complete your decorating project. It’s just not worth it.

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    2. Create a Focal Point



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    A focal point makes a room feel more inviting, because it gives the eye a place to rest and it also centres the room. I chose to have 2 focal points since my living-dining space is shaped like a long rectangle. The first one was a large statement mirror that I bought from Homesense; it truly was love at first sight……. thankfully, it fit into my budget! Then for my second focal point above my couch, I decided to display 3 paintings that I bought from Ghana years ago. I actually framed the paintings myself by cutting my own mounts and attaching them to black foam board – super easy!

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    Focal points are the star of a room, so I encourage you to play with scale and choose large objects that add visual interest to your space. A common mistake that people make is to use small pieces of artwork or furniture as their focal point and the end result is that the room simply lacks that ‘WOW’ factor. So, try to use pieces that are proportionate to the size of your room and the furniture within it.

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    3. Enlarge a Small Space



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    My living-dining space is not very big which is not surprising since I live in the UK where large rooms are a luxury. So, to create the illusion of a bigger space I used reflective surfaces and glass furniture to bounce more light around the room. In the picture above you will see that I have a glass dining table and coffee table. Glass is wonderful because it doesn’t block light,  thus it gives an airy feel to any space.  On one of my numerous trips to Ikea when I was decorating, I discovered glass panels specifically made to sit in top of Kallax shelves. These glass panels not only reflect more light around my space, thus making it feel bigger, but they also protect the surfaces of my shelves from stains. They are so worth it and I think they are one of the best discoveries that I have made in Ikea thus far. Ikea truly is such a magical place………I would be quite happy to live there forever!

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    Another great tip to make a room feel bigger is to place your curtain rods as close to the ceilings as possible (see the picture below). This draws your eyes upwards and elongates the walls. However, if you have very high ceilings or a large room you can bring the curtain rods lower to make the room feel smaller.

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    4. Add Texture



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    Always remember that we experience a room with all of our 5 senses, so texture is sooooo important to the way a room makes you feel. Since I wanted to feel relaxed and comfortable in my living-dining room, I chose the fabrics of my throw pillows in a mix of velvet and chenille, I picked a fluffy grey throw rug, and I picked a soft rug for the floor. These subtle details instantly make one feel at home; it’s so comforting to curl up on the sofa at the end of a day and be surrounded by soft fabrics – bliss! Also remember to pick soft furnishings according to your colour scheme because they help tie the whole room together.

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    5. Add Personality



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    I don’t take myself too seriously so I wanted my home to reflect this. Since I love superheroes it was only fitting that Captain America and Ironman have their own place of honour on one of my shelves.  I think the most memorable rooms I’ve been in over the years have included something unexpected that stirred up an emotion within me. In this scenario, I’m always left with a smile when I see my superhero figurines in my living-dining space. They remind me to have fun and to enjoy life.  So, when you are decorating remember that it is YOUR space and be as random as you dare!

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    That’s all folks!

     

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    N.B. My feature wall colour is called ‘Teal Tension’ by Dulux in a Vinyl Matt finish.

    My couch, yellow armchairs, coffee table, curtains, and fake plants are all from Ikea.

    I bought a lot of my soft furnishings from Homesense but since this store does not provide shopping links, I’ve included links to similar products from Amazon below.

     


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    2 Comments

    1. Priscilla Obienu
      8th May 2020 / 12:14 pm

      Beautiful

      • MSA
        Author
        8th May 2020 / 9:07 pm

        Thank you!