Essential Design Tips

Your can’t-go-wrong guide to interiors.

Interior design is more art than science, and your intuition and personal taste are the ultimate arbiters of what works for you. With that said, even the experts have certain guidelines they fall back on time and again, because they work in every space. You can’t go wrong if you:

Create a focal point
Choose a single large and striking item to serve as the focal point of your room. It could be a piece of art, a fireplace, an entertainment center or a couch, but something needs to anchor the space. If you have an open plan home, the best place for your focal point is usually directly visible through the entrance to the next room.

Warm up with rugs
Lay a rug over your hardwood or cement floor to instantly add warmth, texture and color to the whole room. Rugs can also reduce ambient noise by absorbing sound waves from footsteps and voices, which would otherwise echo. When sizing up a rug, choose one that’s either big enough for all the furniture in the room to stand on, or one that’s small enough that none of the furniture in the room need stand on it. The pattern of the rug is likely to be the deciding factor in whether bigger is truly better.


Use mirrors to instantly
brighten and enlarge a room.


Modular seating can help you
create a truly sociable arrangement.


Rugs instantly add warmth,
texture and character to a room.

These classic design tips work in every style of room.

Vary the scale of items in the room
Think of your room as a cityscape — it would be boring if every building were the same height! The same goes for any space you’re designing; create interest and variety by mixing large and small, tall and squat when choosing your furnishings and accents. Balance low seating, for example, with tall mirrors or artworks that take advantage of vertical space.

Create visual space with mirrors

Mirrors make rooms look larger both by reflecting space, creating the illusion that it is doubled, and by bouncing light around the room, increasing the overall brightness of your space. Use mirrors to brighten up a small, dark entryway; cluster several wall mirrors for an eclectic look, or opt for a single extra-large mirror. Leaning it against one wall can create the illusion of height, while hanging it can create an instant focal point for the room.

Make your seating ‘talk’

To ensure your living room looks and feels welcoming, position all the sofas and chairs so that people sitting on any of them could comfortably talk to each other. This may mean facing them dead on or at a slight angle, so experiment with your room layout until all your seats are ‘talking’ among themselves. Swivel chairs are a fantastic option for creating a truly sociable seating arrangement.

Whether you’re contemplating a total redesign, or simply feel that your existing space isn’t quite ‘right’ yet, don’t be shy about letting an interior designer help out with professional advice.