Word has spread that I am studying my Interior Design Degree and opportunities are arising which gives me the chance to practice what I have already learned in the first year of study.
My daughter’s boyfriend’s parents have consulted with an Interior Designer to look at redesigning their living room. They were delighted when it was suggested I also give them some designs of my own. How exciting and what a journey the last few weeks have been!
The first thing for me to do was to meet with Angela and chat about all things design. I took along by sketch book and tape measure, we discussed colours, textures, furniture, the existing space and likes/dislikes over a delicious cup of coffee. Their living room measures 6m x 4m and consists of sliding patio doors that lead to the back garden, 2 small windows that overlook the driveway, a large window made up of 4 smaller windows that also overlooks the driveway. Internally, a doorway leads to the hall and sliding pocket doors lead to the kitchen. Currently the two smaller windows have curtains constantly drawn for privacy from the main road. This of course lets no natural light in and so it’s important to think of a design that offers both natural light and privacy.
They have two armchairs that they would like to get reupholstered and two leather sofas, all of which they intend to keep within the space. One more change they are keen on having is to replace the open fire with a log burner. With this in mind I designed a few spaces, all with different colour schemes and two different layouts. One of which is based mainly around the TV, another which is a more sociable space. Both designs work well but they are a family and busy hosts and so logistically the sociable space would work better for them.
Once I had made some sketches I played around with the layout of the furniture within the space. On the chimney wall I added bespoke furniture for storage and on the opposite side created designs that temporarily blocked off the doorway into the hallway by added wooden slats for the tv to sit on, not only giving this side of the room texture and character but adding a temporary wall space in a playful way. With each of these steps I made a note of the cost and where the product can be purchased. A really important factor for me was to include some of the colour and/or texture from the kitchen that leads into the living room area, this way the two rooms will compliment each other but offer different functions. They have two large tiffany style light shades in the kitchen that inspired my colour boards. They also have black kitchen units and soft lighting, this led me to look at bold colours that add drama to the space.
I made a list of important considerations for the room
- TV area
- Window blinds
- Texture in materials
- Colour scheme
The next stage was to create these designs digitally. I chose to use SketchUp which is a 3D modelling design software that can be used on the net, this was helpful to try before I make any payment towards an upgrade. The experience was very time consuming but so much fun, I’m really pleased with how the designs look, it’s great to see them in 3D. Alongside these designs I created two mood boards using Indesign. I soon realised that using the free version of SketchUp gives you limited options in terms of colour and furniture and so giving my client a mood board will enable them to have a better idea of how the colours and textures can work together. Adding real plants to the space not only adds dimension and vibrant colour but they purify the air too.
I met with Angela 3 weeks later and presented my designs on my Ipad. I talked through each design and the reasons for doing so and we discussed the different options offered to her, she was particularly impressed with the slat wall for the TV and the way the furniture was laid out offering a better sociable space. By chatting with Angela right from the beginning I could build up a better idea of her taste in design and by pushing the boundaries I came up with colour schemes she didn’t think she would like, sometimes we need to push a little further and be experimental with colours and textures, this experiment worked really well and I think it was helped by showing different colour schemes, different ways of having the sofas and chairs. The feedback was so encouraging and I look forward to finding out which direction they have chosen, it would be so interesting to see the other Interior Designer’s ideas too!
This was such an exciting opportunity and I am so grateful that I was given the chance to create designs and this was only made possible by completing the first year of my Interior Design degree, I have learned so much and looking forward to getting stuck into year two!