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Affordable interior design

If you are going to make a distinctive and personal style statement with your decorating, you must be prepared to break some rules. For instance, it is commonly said that yellow and purple clash, as do coral and turquoise and red and blue. Yet, if these colours are skillfully manipulated, you can turn "clash" into "creative coordination".

Interior designer, Sue Adams, shares some of her tips on creating a designer look for home interiors - without breaking the bank!

Breaking the colour code
Unexpected colour combinations catch the eye and create visual stimulation in ways that "safer" colour combinations simply cannot match.

For instance, English designers are fond of saying that 'blue and green must not be seen without a colour in between'. Yet, it is possible to do just that to great effect. So don't be afraid to play with colour and break some rules. Mulit-coloured or monochromatic, simply or elaborate, our purpose is to give your own personality true visibility and meaning through the design and decor of your home or office.

Classic off-white walls
Off-white is the perfect colour for walls in homes where furniture, artwork, and other beautiful forms are intended to take centre stage. As simple as selecting a white paint for walls may seem, there are many whites from which to choose.

All colours (including white) are measured in colour units. with a single colour unit representing the difference in colour that is detectible by the naked eye. A colour can measure anywhere from one to twenty-five units away from pure white and still be classified as white. (Although most off-whites fall between six and ten). When making your choice bear in mind that off-whites in warm shades give the sense of forward motion, while cooler tones seem to recede.

A textured approach
Whether a decorating style is contemporary or traditional, the textures of upholstered furniture should be mixed. In rooms with traditional decorating schemes, textures that are different, but not too much so are recommended.

A sturdy fabric for the sofa, such as woven wool, quilted cotton, or leather, works quite well. Because the sofa is usually the largest and most dominant piece in the room, it warrants the use of bold, nubby, and showy textures. Moving down the texture scale, lounge chairs should utilize fabrics that are just a bit finer and lighter in weight. Less oft-used accent chairs should be covered in even finer and more delicate fabrics. Unity should not be sacrificed to diversity when it comes to texture.





Picture this
When displaying art, make sure you take a focused approach. If you were to place pictures, paintings, or posters on all four walls, they will lack visual clarity. It is far better to group smaller pieces in a grid on one wall, which will serve to create a focal point. Similarly framed, smaller works of art can be grouped in a grid of four.

To maintain visual unity, use identical mats and frames. Bear in mind that structured grids are more appropriate for formal decors, and random collage-like groupings are more casual. Finally, take the scale of your furnishings into consideration when deciding on placement.

Finding your niche
Without question, a window seat is one of the best seats in the house. Nestled into an alcove with ample cushioning and a commanding view, you can curl up with a good book or take a nap.

To best control the natural light that permeates a window seat from three sides, stick with simple pleated shades that gently filter the light and shield the eyes from direct sun. When space allows, a window seat can become a full-length single bed with storage space below. With this in mind, outfit the cushion/s with sturdy fabric that has a soft feel. Aside from pull-out drawers below (for stashing blankets), furnish the space with bookshelves that invite you to read, relax, and reflect.

Sofa so good
If you want to enliven the look of your sofa without buying a new one or reupholstering it, try outfitting it with new cushions. Start with a matching pair of cushions on the outside corners, which will serve to anchor the sofa. These cushions are good places to use patterned fabrics that you love, but were afraid to use on larger pieces. Next, add two cushions of different fabrics and shapes for off-centre interest. Lastly, add a large lumbar cushion in the centre.

Make a personal statement with cushions by placing a stitched monogram on it. Or put your creative talents to use and make your own creative cushion design. As a general rule, stay away from small cushions, but also avoid pillows that are higher than the back of the sofa.