With the appropriate interior décor, the most simple property can be turned into a dream home. But which style of decoration to choose? From fun, funky eclectic to warm, breezy Mediterranean, there are a whole host of modern styles that all have their good points. Thanks to homify, it is now easy for homeowners find the style that is right for them.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. The Internet is an obvious place to look, as are interior design magazines and blogs. Famous artworks, celebrated buildings, favourite holiday destinations can all get the creative juices flowing. Alternatively, simply sign up to homify, a platform that brings together over 50,000 interior design professionals just bursting with fresh, exciting ideas for apartment refurbishments.
One way is to assemble a scrapbook of photographs, pages torn from magazines and rough working sketches. A more high-tech approach is to collect images online on sites such as Pinterest. At homify, you can create your own virtual ideabook where you can save and annotate your favourite ideas.
After settling on a style of decoration, it's important to work out a budget, being realistic about how hands-on or hands-off you want to be in doing up your flat. If you have skills and experience in this area, then that this something you can factor in. Otherwise, ask around locally for tips on reliable painters and decorators, or connect with reputable professionals through homify. Planning ahead, it's as well to consider details such as disposal of rubbish and ways of reducing annoyance to neighbours by restricting the renovation work to certain hours of the day. Also, make sure that any modifications comply with government red tape, leasehold agreements and so forth.
Your approach to your renovation project is likely to depend upon your reasons for doing it. If the plan is to sell on the flat within a few years, it's sensible to limit the work to a few essential upgrades. Giving the walls a fresh lick of white paint and sprucing up the kitchen area with new cabinet doors and appliances—these simple measures can do wonders for an apartment's marketability. Installing a washer-dryer (especially a quiet model so the owner can still use it during unsociable hours), air conditioning and a fresh bathroom suite will also add value to the flat. If, on the other hand, the flat is to be a long-term home, then the heart should rule over the head as you plan your décor.
With a sprinkling of good interior décor, there is no reason for any flat to look ordinary and functional. Leave the dull everyday world at the door by hanging up bold printed wallpapers—Pop Art designs, exotic florals and animal prints can make the most utilitarian space feel luxurious. If a flat seems a little gloomy, place a mirror near the window to help direct light into the shadows, and brighten up the interior with shimmery metallic accessories.
One way of making the most of a large room is to break it into smaller areas of interest with different groupings of furniture. Thus you can avoid a situation where only one part of the room is used and the rest goes to waste. These smaller units can then be tied together into a unified whole by a shared colour scheme and aesthetic, with visual accents such as rugs, lamps and prints leading the eye around the space in an orderly, satisfying way. When choosing patterned fabrics and artworks, think about them in relation to the size of the space—will they still make an impact from across the room?
With small rooms, the key is to make them feel light, airy and welcoming. Having white or brightly coloured walls is the most obvious way of opening up up a confined space, but a bold choice of printed wallpaper can sometimes work just as well, creating an extra feeling of depth. Dark, bulky, heavily padded furniture that absorbs light and gets in the way should be avoided in favour of clean, bright fabrics, jazzy acrylics, transparent glass and shiny metallics. In addition, experiment with different groupings of furniture—simply placing them around the walls can result in a dead space in the centre of the room.
The first place to begin is with a lick of paint—an anonymous room can be given an instant lift with a vivid choice of colour. Another simple and inexpensive way of making a flat feel more like home is to put up curtains that reflect your personal taste, whether that's for flesh floral prints or some other trend. Likewise, replace dull old lampshades with colourful new ones—it won't cost much, and immediately the flat will feel more bright and fun. Use any nooks, crannies and shelves to display treasured belongings and decorative items. Lastly, consider adding a window box—a touch of greenery and a few blossoms can go a long way towards turning a cold, impersonal space into somewhere friendly and welcoming.
With a bit of imagination, it's easy to compensate for limited square footage. Bright colours and wall mirrors can help to make the proportions of the flat feel less cramped and confining. Wall-mounted shelves and cabinets can free up much-needed floorspace, while space-saving devices such as folding chairs, stacking tables and kitchen cupboards with lazy Susan-type revolving storage are not only practical but can also add to the distinctive style of your bijou apartment. Similarly, touches of luxury like a wallpapered bathroom or a bedroom with swagged curtains can help your petite pied-a-terre pack a punch.
Students are likely to limited as to time and money, as well as by the rules of their tenancy agreements, but there should still be scope to add a few attractive decorative touches to their dwellings. Even if it's not possible to repaint the walls, fresh, young colours can be introduced in other ways—for example, by dotting a few bright, vibrant decorative items around the room, by putting a patterned rug on the floor and by placing cheerful new throws over tired old furniture. Reclaimed second-hand items and heirlooms can be used for storage—a stack of vintage suitcases, for instance, can serve instead of a chest of drawers, while a few crates set on their side one on top of the other can be turned into a bookcase.
The great thing about decorating a large loft apartment is that it gives you a broad canvas to work with. When dreaming up a design concept, think about emphasising the scale of the property with oversized wallpaper prints, big artworks and extra-long counters and sofas. At the same time, it's important to make the most of any original industrial features such as metal struts by picking them with your lighting scheme and echoing them in your choice of appliances and furnishing materials.
When assembling the décor for a modern home, you can't go wrong with a mixture of creamy whites, sophisticated neutral tones—beige, tan, camel, grey—and occasional accents of warm colour. Furniture should be clean-lined and unfussy, with luxury expressed in superior finishes and materials rather than any obvious ornateness—a modular wraparound sofa in soft suede for the living room, perhaps, and a king size bed with Egyptian cotton sheets in the master bedroom. Likewise, artworks and ceramics should be contemporary in feel and in tune with the overall aesthetic. An open plan kitchen and a family bathroom are the two areas of the home that should receive the most concentration in achieving a sleek, well-equipped design.
Decorating a modern flat
A typical flat in the modern style will usually have white walls, a wooden floor and discreet touches of colour, all adding up to a look that's fresh and clean. Key items of furniture are a sofa, a glass coffee table and a rug, all chosen for chic, understated design. A scattering of cushions and personal belongings displayed on open shelves can bring brightness and individuality to a modern-style apartment. It's the look to go for if you're doing up a flat with an eye to renting it out or selling it.
Scandinavian style furnishings
The Scandinavian style can range from the austere and minimalistic to the cosy and homey. Either way the atmosphere should be restful and quiet, with everything feeling well-coordinated and no single details fighting for attention. Other important elements are pale pine worktops and tables, shelves and storage to clear away clutter, and a keynote palette of warm greys and muted blues. Depending on how it is done, it's a style that is as suitable for city flats as it is for rural homes.
Country style furnishings
The country style is relaxed and reassuring, old-fashioned yet airy and fresh. It's a look that can be very simple and unpretentious, with painted wooden kitchen furniture and deep sofas and chairs made for comfort, but it can also accommodate busy floral wallpapers, rich fabrics and elaborately draped curtains. Evoking an easier pace of living away from the city, it's a look that can work well in chalet-style apartments, or in flats with traditional features such as exposed floorboards and roof-beams.