Showing posts from 2009

Here Comes Christmas - Time To Decorate Your Dining Room for Christmas Dinner

You had better start thinking about Christmas now as it always arrives before you know it and you never get the chance to have everything just right. Start planning now! I can help you out with some ideas for decorating your dining room, complete with table setting. I just wrote an article called A Christmas Decorating Idea for Your Dining Room, this may get your creative juices flowing. If not, don't worry, I have a few more articles in mind to help you out in this busy time of year, and if you have any ideas for things you would like me to write about in regards to Christmas, let me know in the comments box below and in the next few weeks I will add some more.

We also have a few Christmas videos for you to watch, How to make your own Christmas bows, how to make a Christmas wreath, and how to chose a Christmas Tree. Do you go out and choose a "green living" Christmas tree or just pull out the artificial tree from the box in the attic? I think I will make a poll on th…

Keeping it clean - does a minimalist interior make sense?

After spending hours trying to keep my house clean, I decided to get ruthless and go minimalist!
I have packed away anything that is not 100% necessary for my survival.

What a difference it makes. I feel like the house is twice a big, and like I am breathing fresh air, not air laden with dust that I could never get rid of (living in the country doesn't help with this problem), but it sure means only a few minutes to wipe down surfaces now and the house always looks good. I should have done it years ago.

Unfortunately you just don't realize how your house becomes "full", I think perhaps we should make a rule, that when you buy something new, you have to sacrifice something old to leave the house, recycle it, sell it or give it away. I can't believe what a difference it makes and now I am going to stick to the minimalist look, as I feel I can mentally breathe now without all the clutter.
Yes, now here is my confession..... as we work from home, and because my daughte…

What a difference a new paint job makes

What a difference a new paint job makes!

For all of you wanting to find a quick fix to refreshing your interior or a client's, then a new paint job comes highly recommended.

We have just had some painting done to our home to tidy up wear and tear and I can't believe the difference it makes. We haven't changed any colors, simply had another coat of paint applied and the house looks good as new!

Another upside is that it is cost effective for major visual results. We tossed up with the idea of repainting ourselves, and after our last attempts, where scraping paints drips of flooring took longer than the actual painting, we decided to leave it to the experts. They are fast efficient and know all the little tricks of the trade. We have come to the conclusion that we are good at designing and terrible at DIY, so we stick to what we are good at!

So my lesson for the day here is two things, painting is a great way to refresh your interior and DIY painting is not always the most cost …

Do Feature Walls Still Spin Your Wheels?

Do Feature Walls Still Spin Your Wheels?

This is going to be a short blog post as I want you to comment on what you think about feature walls.

I recently visited a house, it is about 10 years old and crammed with feature walls. I found the hairs on my arms rise as I moved from room to room, it really was not a nice feeling.

The problem with the feature walls was the contrast, or too much of it. Off white walls with heavy dark colors like aubergine (right purple/black) in the bedroom, an even darker version in the formal living room, but not the whole wall only part of it! Deep forest green in one bedroom, royal blue in another.....can you visualize it? It was just to hard on your eyes and the rooms didn't flow and it became a joke, oh, I wonder what color they have pulled out of the color swatch for the next room?

Successful interior decoration should be considered, harmonious and pleasant to the eye at a minimum! Does this mean NO to feature walls? Here is where I want your opinion.…

The Importance of Quality Curtains

The Importance of Quality Curtains

I know I go on and on about this topic, but it is one of those pet hates - cheap and nasty curtains. They really bring down a good design. It is the finishing touches of interior design or decoration that people notice, no matter how much detail you put into space planning and architectural features they get left behind when you see poor curtain selection at the windows. Let's face it, most homes today have a lot of windows and they are expensive to drape, but please resist the temptation to buy that cheap fabric on sale at the local fabric store and then not use enough at each window and forget to line them, so all you have is a piece of mediocre fabric hanging beside the window limply with no fullness, no length and no design presence.

The curtain tracks or rods are also important. You need to make sure you spend a little bit extra on the curtain rod or track length so that you can have stack backs (space to either side of the windows for the cur…

How to Walk Your Client

How to Walk Your Client

I hear you say - "what?"

I know it sounds weird but I am quite serious.

You need to learn to walk your client through the design process. This means starting from scratch as if they a complete design virgins. And like life, they will never tell you if they know nothing about design as they won't want to look inadequate in your eyes.

Let's face it, the reason the client employs an interior designer is so that they can get a good end result achieved from a professional, but as you are well aware, you need considerable input from your client to make their project succeed.

Therefore you need to guide them, step by step into how that is achieved.

I was reminded of this when I had a client recently, who on the outside appeared in control and knew what she was talking about as she and her husband had recently had their home decorated I presumed she did. I was in a hurry as working with a newborn baby, time is precious, so I leapt straight in thinking sh…

It's the little things that count for interiors

It's funny how, as an interior designer, I get annoyed at the smallest of details when I am out and about. I am currently writing this from a laptop in hospital and have noticed so many little design faults in the way it is laid out and the detail in the planning.

The first thing that I noticed in the room was finding a basin to wash my hands in. There are signs up everywhere about washing your hands and the spread of germs, but boy it was tricky to find a wash hand basin. Can you guess where I found it? Behind a column, half way into a patients "bedroom" space, the curtains were pulled around the bed, so I hadn't been able to see it. I am glad my daughter wasn't allocated that space as the whole room had to use the one basin!

Then to make it worse, they have the lever type faucets with a large wall mounted spout. Great for not having to touch the tap or faucet, but the height of the spout and the shape of the basin means that every time you turn the tap or faucet …

Trends in Interior Decorating and the Environment

Trends in Interior Decorating and the Environment

This is a topic which I have very strong opinions. I get asked frequently for advice on what the current trend in interior decorating is. It is pretty much impossible to answer. With the way the world is now, we have access to the Internet, international television, global magazines and we can now readily access designs and ideas from other countries. The fashion changes with the seasons and the stores are frequently stocking the shelves with the latest new look. So what look should you have and for how long?

This is where I put on my "green" hat and start to consider the question about the sustainability of the interior design industry if we are going to keep up the consumerism for the latest and greatest interior decorating trend. How much stuff can we buy, display and then trash for the next new trend four months later? What happens to all this "stuff". Having small children, I compare this to visiting McDonald&…

How to Have Fun with Your Interior Without Spending a Cent.

How to Have Fun with Your Interior Without Spending a Cent!

In the current world financial situation, money no longer grows on trees! Did it ever?

Money is a lot harder to come by, people are afraid of losing their jobs, worried about their financial future and less likely to be committing to making major changes to their home interiors, but that doesn't mean we have to sit back and put up with the status quo. We can have fun and change our interiors without having to spend a cent. We just need to get a little creative! Here are some ideas on how you can make your home feel like it has had a makeover without spending a cent.

shift furniture into different rooms, it's amazing how a change of environment can make a piece of furniture look completely differentrearrange your artwork on the walls, reposition mirrors - these help change the light in your room and depending on where you place them, can make a room feel largerclean your walls. I know this sounds too simple, but over time…

How do you become a professional interior designer?

How do you become a professional interior designer?

This is a question that I get asked frequently by readers. It is very difficult to answer because all countries have different criteria. So I will give you a brief overview of how I see the path to becoming an interior designer.

Firstly you need to have the desire and passion for interiors, if not you will never make it through the learning period.

Secondly, you need to be able to access quality education. This is easier said than done, and I get asked frequently to recommend education facilities worldwide. Unfortunately I do not have intimate knowledge about global interior design education facilities and who is best in each region, but I can give you some tips on finding the right education facility for you.

find out from you local interior design institute or association what are the minimum requirements for you to become a registered or practicing interior designer in your country, then make sure that the education facility will pr…

Where do Interior Designers get their Ideas from?

Where Do Interior Designers Get Their Ideas From?

I am constantly being asked this question, and I must admit, that as the years go by I start to feel that I struggle to come up with something new and original myself. I think that this is because I am a conscientious designer who takes the time to get to know my client and strives to create something unique and original each time. What is original? Interior design and decorating has so many influences, be it historic, ethnic, locational, budgetary, personal, environmental to name a few.

Where am I going with this train of thought?

Good question, I'm not sure myself, but I do know that the longer you are in the interior design and decorating industry, the harder it becomes to create really great interiors. It is like any good relationship, you start to take things for granted over time and things become average and boring, they lack passion and direction and you think you know it all. This starts to show in your work.

So how do you put…

Interior Decorating Quiz

Interior Decorating Quiz

This time I am writing about new things on our website.

We now have an automated quiz on interior decorating. How cool!

Go and test your knowledge on interior decorating here.

Then send me your results to go into the draw for a mystery prize.

There will be more quizzes coming, as they seem to be popular with our readers, as they are fun, easy to do and educational.

We also want to get some recognition for our website, so if you have a few moments and you love our website, could you do us a big favor and make a vote for our website, or two if it lets you!

Please vote for us as your favorite education website

scroll down the categories to find the category
Best Education Site Sponsored By ... Toshiba

Put in and press send and you will be giving us your vote. Thanks

Kitchen Design - the Fridge, the Freezer and the Microwave

Kitchen Design - the Fridge, the Freezer and the Microwave

I know this topic doesn't sound riveting, but it is important in kitchen design. After just returning from holiday and living in a holiday house, I realized just how often I used the freezer. This house had the freezer outside in the laundry or wash house as some people call it. The was a rather large refrigerator in the kitchen itself, but the freezer was outside.

As a mother with young children I use the freezer often. Whilst away my youngest child happened to slam his fingers in the door, at home it takes me 10 seconds to grab the frozen gel pack out of the freezer and bang it on his hand! I had to run outside and grab the ice having to leave him screaming in pain. I know that this isn't something that happens frequently through out the day, but just think, we were there in autumn, so ice cold drinks or ice blocks, ice creams weren't high on the list of desires for us, but in summer, you would be running outside …

Helping Hand for Creating Color Schemes

Helping Hand for Creating Color Schemes

Creating color schemes sounds like an easy thing to do. Just look at a few swatches and pick a few colors! I once met a designer, who did exactly that, and I can tell you that the end result was awful. All the work that had gone into the architectural and interior design was ruined by the choices of color. It looked awkward and unconsidered and very unprofessional, if I was the client, I wouldn't have been happy.

Interior designers and decorators don't just randomly pick colors because they like them, they make well considered choices based on color theory and a good client brief of what the end expectations of the project are. That way you are guaranteed to create an interior that works for your client.

If you are interested in working with color, be it as a professional or if you just want to learn to do it for your own home decorating, then I will give you a helping hand. I have a free ecourse on color available that goes through all th…

How do you Survive the Global Recession as an Interior Designer

How do you survive the global recession as an interior designer?

Times are tough out there for everyone, so I am going to give you a few tips on how you can weather the storm and come out the other side with your business stronger.

Below are some tips or ideas on getting the most out of your business and staying a float in the current economic market. You can choose to do some or none, it depends how well your business is currently faring.

Take out your financial accounts and review them, find out where most of your outgoings are are see where you can trim them.Streamline your office supplies, do you really need that cute little embossed leather bound folder to take to meetings or would a clipboard do? Get your real necessities delivered so you don't impulse buy.
Streamline your travel commitments. Think ahead, could you call in at suppliers on your way to work or way home, could you make your appointments to coordinate so you don't have to go to and from the office in between, s…

Sorry for all the emails

I apologise to you all for the mass of emails sent to you.

I have no idea what happened, I just changed the feed on the blog, then all of a sudden it started sending out emails to everyone.

I cannot apologise enough. Sorry, sorry, sorry.

Please stay subscribed, it was an accident and I will investigate into how it happened to make sure you aren't annoyed like this again. I am very conscious about how many emails I send, and this is an invasion of your mailbox. Thanks for your understanding.

Thanks for your time.
Lee Brown

Is There Anything New in Furniture Design?

Is There Anything New in Furniture Design?

After just returning from Sydney, Australia visiting the Australian International Furniture Fair, my answer is a big NO!

I don't know about you but I am so bored with copies of original 20th Century Furniture Designers. They may now have a different leg, or a slightly narrower arm but the original design concept is nothing new. Have we gone as far as we can go with contemporary furniture design?

Every now and again I see students pushing boundaries to create a piece of furniture art, a new chair, marketable and saleabale? Unfortunately not, but I think it is great that students have the passion and desire to want to make history. I just wish the manufacturers would jump on board and get in behind the young designers of today. They may be already somewhere out there, if anyone knows of any programs, let me know and I will promote them, because I really would love to see some innovative and inspirational pieces of furniture become available to…

By Passing the Interior Decorating when House Hunting

By Passing the Interior Design when House Hunting

We have been looking a houses over the last few months and I'd just like to share a few tips with you from an interior designer and architectural designer's point of view when it comes to assessing the house from the inside.

Tip One: Don't be fooled by great interior decorating. Close your eyes and imagine all the furniture and artwork, decorations, floor rugs removed and then picture your furniture in the same room. How good does it look now?

Tip Two: In today's modern world we need power outlets or sockets everywhere, especially in the living room, kitchen, bedrooms and garage. Check that there are enough. You don't want to have to use multi boxes and overload your electrical system, or upgrade it, it can become costly very quickly.

Tip Three: Open and shut everything. Sounds crazy but it will drive you insane once you move in to find that the window in your bedroom won't open, or worse still won't close once …