When choosing a new interior design scheme, it's easy to seem lost and not know what to choose. You know you want to redecorate and might have some ideas, but you certainly don't want to make an expensive mistake. With so many colours and designs, how do you even know where to start? Here are our top 10 tips for how to make selecting the perfect design easier, and how to make sure you don't fall into common pitfalls.
Time of day
What time of day will you be using a room? Colours and patterns change dramatically according to the time of day they are lit, especially from daylight to artificial light at night. There's no point in choosing a wallpaper which looks amazing during the day if you only use the room at night when it's lit by artificial lighting. For example, a bedroom should be at its most appealing in the evening under artificial light as that's when you want the room to draw you in. Make sure you inspect any product samples in the room they will be used, and at the time of day you want them to be most impressive and welcoming.
A bedroom needs to be at its most inviting in the evening when you are wanting to relax before sleep. This Drumley wallpaper from Regal will bring a relaxing splendour to your room.
Neutral base colours
Greys make fantastic base colours. Don't just think of them as cold – greys come in all different tones from cool to warm. They also act as a fantastic canvas if you want to make other more colourful items in a room stand out.
You can use greys as a neutral base, to enable items such as pictures, vases and ornaments to really stand out.
Feature walls and curtains
A feature wall doesn't just have to be made of wallpaper. Feature walls could be a full wall of curtains, or a large piece of furniture. So, if you have a wall of heavily patterned curtains, think of this as your feature wall and make the other walls a more neutral pattern. Patterns on curtains need to look great both open and closed, so make sure a pattern works in both situations.
Selecting for darker rooms
People often say that in darker rooms you need pale wallpaper and fabrics. This is not quite true as a pale colour with a subtle pattern would be lost in a darker room. What you need in lower light is a good contrast between foreground and background so that the pattern stands out.
Designs with a good contrast between light and dark will stand out best in darker rooms. Little Greene's Broadwick Street has great contrast between the pale background and the darker bold pattern.
If you have fixed ideas, try to express them
You might have seen something you love: a pattern on a shirt, a shop window display, something at a friend's house, or photos on a website. Collect this together so you can start to get an idea of what it is that you love! Similarly, if you have fixed ideas about what you don't like, be as specific as you can be. The more information you can gather, the easier the process will be. It's surprising how often people say something general like "I don't want flowers" and the end up selecting flowers. This is because they have fixed their mind on a certain type of pattern and haven't realised there are amazing other designs out there too.
Be open to suggestions
Don't rule out suggestions and ideas too quickly. You might find that the perfect design you want is buried away at the back of a book in-store or amongst many other designs on a webpage, and to find it you have to look through lots of designs not to your taste. Don't dismiss too early on the basis of the first few images. Just spend a little bit of time and it will pay off.
An abstract version of a pattern might be just what you are looking for, like this Kasuri wallpaper from Designers Guild.
Stay in touch
The more you talk to us, the more we can help you. We can check stock levels of product with manufacturers, warn you if design is running short or is due to be discontinued, and place stock on reserve if you just need a little time for final decisions. Don't assume that something you like now will still be available in six months!
Give yourself enough time when ordering
Many wallpapers and fabrics are imported, some even coming from as far away as the USA. This can easily add two weeks to lead times according to where the stock is held in the world. The more time you allow when browsing and ordering, the more choice you will have available. It's a common mistake to book a decorator and then find the product won't arrive in time.
To allow yourself the best selection of designs, you should allow as much time as possible. This Nikko wallpaper from Thibaut is one of the designs which comes from further afield.
Use the "plus two" rule. When ordering wallpaper, always order an extra two rolls. When ordering fabric, always order an extra couple of metres. This will mean you have extra available to you for if you make a mistake, or if you need to patch something due to wear and tear or damage. In the future, your design might not be available, and almost certainly wouldn't be from the same batch.Think of it as an insurance policy.
It's personal choice
Lastly, and most importantly, remember it's all down to personal choice. You can ask other people their opinions, and get told what you are choosing is wrong or out of fashion. However, you're the one who is going to live with it – if it makes you happy and it's the one that you want, it's the right choice for you!