Top 10 tips to create a perfect home
Interior Architects and Designers, Thornton-Allan Interiors, have over 10 years experience designing and project managing luxury interiors for discerning clients in the UK and Europe.
Creative Director Lisa Thornton-Allan shares her top tips for creating the perfect home.
1. Location, location, location
When looking for your dream home, don’t compromise on location. In most cases clever designs can meet your interior criteria but however perfect your home is from the inside, you can’t move it. In general people tend to be happier when their home is in the right location with a few compromises in terms of interior requirements compared to those with the dream interior in the wrong place. Draw up a list of what is important to you in terms of location and views, close to work or schools, town or country – and don’t compromise.
2. Draw inspiration from the history of your property and the area
This will provide you with a useful reference point and give integrity to your scheme. This doesn’t mean to say that you can’t play with the period of your property to create a more contemporary feel but make sure it pays homage to the existing architecture and feel of the house and its surroundings. Look at local artists and artisans, colours and materials to place your property in context to its surroundings.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Most of our clients have impeccable taste but a good interior designer will be able to help you with space planning and should also be able to inform you of up and coming trends, new materials and suppliers that you may not be aware of. We regularly attend International Trade Fairs and specify furniture, fabric and materials from across Europe.
A third party designer can also help to provide a compromise if you and your partner have differing views on what you want from your scheme.
4. Invest in classics and have fun with accessories
Just like a good wardrobe, it’s important to invest in quality key pieces such as sofas, beds, tables and central lighting. These will stand the test of time, create a feeling of luxury and quality to your scheme and above all will be comfortable. Have some fun by adding accessories in terms of cushions, throws, accent lighting and rugs. These can be changed according to the seasons or as you tire of them. A backdrop of key quality pieces will enhance these High Street pieces and add an element of individualism.
5. Create a backdrop using neutral colours and add colour through accessories
This does not mean defaulting to the dreaded taupe which smacks of show houses and lacks personality. Blues, greens and greys all make really interesting neutrals which can be accessorized with a whole palette of other colours, patterns and textures.
6. Make your house your own
Art, photographs, heirlooms or just things that make you happy should be key features of your scheme. Again, a good designer will be able to help you to place existing furniture, art and favourite accessories in the right place and to use them as inspiration for the rest of your scheme. Use fabrics, shapes and textures that reflect your personality and lifestyle. Make sure your home reflects who you really are rather than who you think you should be.
7. There is no reason why you can’t stick to your budget
Make sure that you receive quotations for all aspects of the scheme before you commence and then go through them to decide which items are really essential and which areas can be reduced. There are an increasing number of new, highly cost effective, design led materials available that will not compromise on the quality or look and feel of your scheme but will substantially reduce costs. Clever design can also ensure you stay within budget. Again, mix and match, investing in key essentials such as taps and showers but go for a more cost effective sink unit or shower tray. A high quality kitchen worktop will automatically upscale the look and feel of your more budget conscious kitchen units set off with high end appliances.
8. Storage is key
Providing a ‘home’ for items such as shoes, coats, paperwork, toys etc that is practical and in the right place will mean that you can keep your home tidy without it becoming contrived or hard work. Ensure that you have adequate wardrobe space and storage in the bathroom. This not only looks good but makes your home a more enjoyable, stress free environment. There are loads of really clever storage solutions available that can be built into your scheme.
A good local cabinet maker will be able to provide bespoke storage solutions for awkward spaces to enable you to maximise your space.
9. Make sure there is a flow and cohesion to your scheme
This doesn’t mean every room should look the same, far from it, each room should create the right mood and feel for its purpose but there should be a flow to the design that links the scheme throughout the house. For example different floor surfaces chosen for aesthetics and functionality should have a unifying feel in terms of origin, texture and colour.
10. Collect photos and mood boards
A clever storage solution, a bathroom in a hotel, colours, patterns or layouts that catch your eye. You will usually find that schemes that inspire you are slightly different and more adventurous than those that you have traditionally defaulted to.
Thornton-Allan Interiors have offices in London and Kent.
Contact Lisa Thornton-Allan for a free consultation: