Interior Design and Decorating

Whether you’re embarking on a complete home makeover, updating a few rooms or starting from a clean slate for a new build, interior design and decorating can be an exciting and fulfilling experience, yet predictably, not without its challenges too.

Planning is key to achieving the outcome you envisage which includes finding the balance between your needs and lifestyle and what may purely look attractive, but be completely impractical, inefficient and costly to maintain as a functioning space.

The multitude of home renovation and real estate programs on television can certainly be a source of motivation, inspiration and ideas, nonetheless, any enthusiasm for taking on a project should be tempered by one’s budget, time, access to the right equipment and importantly, labour, all considerations which are not necessarily applicable to the glossy shows that make it all look so easy.

My best advice for anyone starting a major transformational project is to at least weigh up the benefits of engaging the services of a professional against what is realistically achievable on your own. A good place to begin is taking advantage of the complimentary consultation process offered by some interior designers and decorators.

If you do decide to go it alone, I come back to my earlier remarks that planning is essential and so too is ensuring that any proposed changes will, within reason, suit the needs and lifestyle of all occupants in the home.

Some considerations you may like to give thought to include:

  • It is imperative to check that any planned alterations comply with Australian standards and codes set for building, plumbing and electrical work;
  • For projects involving extensive work in bathrooms and kitchens, I would highly recommend consulting an expert first, particularly if you have never attempted a renovation before as even one mistake in these spaces can severely hurt the hip pocket;
  • A rule of thumb for some decorators is keep your colour palette neutral for resale purposes, but conversely, colour, applied selectively, will add personality and definition to a space, yet is quite easily updated as taste’s change without breaking the bank. What I think is a greater priority, is the structural elements of a home which are more costly to alter than cosmetic touches;
  • Waist height positioning of shelving and appliances in a kitchen is absolute paramount to its functionality. For example, nothing is more dangerous than a microwave space that is above shoulder level. Just think of the catastrophe waiting to happen should someone tip a dish of hot food or water over themselves.
    Equally, minimising strain on the back and knees is a healthy practice and most relevant as we age, but constant squatting and bending over to use an appliance located towards the floor is not a desirable option;
  • Do not skimp on storage as it helps to reduce clutter and cleaning time and more so if the items are placed behind glass, which very much suits the likes of books, crockery and decorative knick-knacks;
  • Mitigating accidents from  slippery floor surfaces is vital as you don’t have to be old to have a fall. There are so many fabulous options on the market that will accommodate this requirement, although not at the expense of aesthetic appeal;
  • When designing and decorating homes, able bodied people often forget to plan ahead in catering for disability, be it themselves, or their visitors. Imagine for a moment if you were suddenly confined to a wheelchair either temporarily, or worse, would it be possible  to easily reach the light switches and powerpoints? The simply thought of placing these and other common devices at an accessible height will make an enormous difference to whether your home is an enjoyable place to be.

I do hope that some of my suggestions, which are only touching the surface of the planning process, will help make your interior design and decorating project a satisfying journey with a happy ending.

NEWS FLASH: Click here to view the completed renovations to the Byron and Clarkes Beach Houses and to book accommodation for all four homes.