Perfecting your pad with 8 interior design cheats

A close friend once said to me, “If it’s trendy in mainstream shopping centres then it’s already going out of fashion” but I disagree. It’s more about personal style than trends. Because one season it’s all about minimalist greys with accents of yellow and the next it’s textured velvet teal couches. .

Decorating your home – or your rental – is a process. Sure, that four-poster bed might be what you want to sleep on but what if it doesn’t fit through the door of your flat? Or, what if as much as you want to purchase that Lazy Boy Chair, you first need to buy a bed, so you’re not camping on a mattress on the floor.

With the envy-inducing visuals of beautiful spaces online, it’s hard not to feel like you’ll never progress from your Coca-Cola crate bookshelf to something made from solid wood. We spoke to Adri van Zyl and Vincent Clery from Atelier Interiors, who gave us some basic interior decor tips to help kit out your pad.

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Pick timeless over trend

You know you’re adulting when you start speaking about furniture as investment pieces. But let’s be honest, as novel as that ’90s blow-up luminescent chair in your lounge is, it’s probably not the most long-term, durable seating solution. If bought wisely, a solid couch, decent quality rug and treasured artwork can stand the test of time. Investing in items that you love is more meaningful than filling your space with lots of pieces.

Do it yourself

Want to make a drastic change but don’t have the cash flow? Adri suggests creating an accent wall because it’s seasonal, and if you land up not liking it, you can fix it with a different coat of paint. Alternatively, find a new artwork to hang up or get one of your favourite visuals blown-up and use as wallpaper. Just remember to pick your DIY battles carefully. For example, building a cupboard from scratch might be more expensive than finding one second-hand and probably isn’t as easy as YouTube tutorials make it look.

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Be sentimental

You know that Micheal Jackson poster you’ve had since you were 14 years old and no matter what, just can’t seem to part with? It’s totally cool to hang it up above your vinyl player. Your home should feel comfortable and lived in – it’s an intimate reflection and extension of who you are. Focus on showcasing visual elements that are valuable to you. Bedrooms, for example, are often neglected spaces because they’re least seen by everyone else. Don’t pass up the decor opportunity to transform yours into a meaningful space.

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Consider flow

Without detailing the art of Feng Shui, the basic premise is that you should keep living spaces open, light and clean. By opening up living spaces, you’ll breathe fresh light and life into them. Now, you may be wondering how exactly you’ll achieve this, especially if you live in a matchbox apartment in Cape Town.

Use sheer curtains if you need to soften your space or want more light –  this will immediately make your space look bigger. Note: Curtains should always reach the floor to achieve maximum flow. You should also think about colour continuity and layering the space with texture to create warmth and depth. Never underestimate how scatter cushions and couch throws can enhance a space.
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Use good lighting

The reason clubs turn on the house lights when it’s closing time is because overhead lighting kills the atmosphere. Lighting is the difference between creating an ambience that feels a cosy lounge versus an office cubicle. No one wants to feel like they need to put on sunglasses indoors; unless they’re an artist in a music video and need to look cool.

If you don’t have down lighting and can’t install a dimmer switch then play around with feature lighting. Feature lighting can be defined as any kind of light source that draws focus to a particular area. For example, most houses have overhead lighting like ceiling light fixtures that, without a dimmer switch, provide harsh lighting. Free-standing, bedside and desk lamps are examples of feature lighting that with the right bulbs emit a softer light and cosier atmosphere.

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Get rid of clutter

The Japanese organising consultant Marie Kondo has a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising that explains the link between clutter and psychology, but that’s another discussion altogether. Effective storage management is essential, especially for small spaces. Vertical shelves and linen drawers under your bed can help stow away as much of your daily essentials as possible. During your next great spring clean throw out everything else that you don’t need. Moreover, if you find an item you don’t remember owning or haven’t used in the past five years, then it’s a sure sign you don’t actually need it.

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Don’t feel like you have to splurge

The price tag doesn’t always equal material or sentimental value. It takes time to find inspirational additions and treasures that suit your home’s style. A home is like a great wardrobe, you can have the basics, but it’s never complete. So, next time you see that ridiculously expensive gold-leafed potplant, think about whether or not it’s really going add something special to your space.

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Don’t forgo functionality

Good design follows functionality. Most people live busy and chaotic lives, and home is usually a place of rest and practicality. You might love the thought of having a bunk bed, but if you’re not keen on climbing a ladder every time you need to sleep, then it’s probably not the best plan. Similarly, if you have pets, kids, an at home studio or need to store sporting equipment, then make hands on decor choices that not only look good but also compliment your lifestyle.

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Images supplied by Atelier Interiors.

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