Choosing the right furniture is the single most important factor when decorating your home. Decorate a living room with too big a couch and you lose out on space in your home; you will also end up with a cramped, dark living area. Use a too small table in your dining area and you will be left with an unimpressive table disappearing into a stark room.
According to Emma Spengler, owner of Emma Spengler Design Consultancy, the secret to decorating your home tastefully and timelessly is to remain true to yourself.
“Uniqueness and individuality is important in creating a home,” she says. “A home that brings joy and one in which it is liveable is my greatest delight as a designer.”
Spengler, who is currently designing the show units for the latest Midrand-based Foce Property Investments’ development, Umthunzi Valley – set to launch on 17 March – says that while it is never a good idea to try and design your home to look like a show unit, gorgeous as they are, there are definitely a few general rules to turn every room in your home into a joyful sanctuary reflecting your personal style and tastes while remaining pleasing to most eyes.
According to Spengler the biggest mistake we make when designing our own living rooms is investing in the wrong furniture for the space. Furniture that is too small or too big, or is the wrong shape – for example, a corner unit where it doesn’t fit – has a detrimental effect on not only the look and feel of the room, but also the practicality and useability of your space.
You should instead aim for a room that is comfortable and suited to everyday life as this is where you come to unwind. Select furniture that is suited to the feel of your home, is functional, and does not leave the living room feeling cluttered and tiny.
This seems quite obvious but Spengler says that the biggest mistake made when decorating the dining area is to use a table that is the incorrect size for the room.
“The dining table needs to be suitable to the space provided; it should be small enough to walk around it comfortably and big enough to not get lost in the space,” she adds.
When decorating a dining room, especially in an open-plan home where this room is often incorporated into the living area, you need to ensure that your design is complemented in the dining room for it to flow effortlessly with the rest of the space. Your chief consideration should remain the fact that you want enough space for your family and friends to enjoy long and relaxed meals around your table.
While Spengler likes to keep most of the general-use areas clean and clutter-free, she says that a bedroom should reflect the personality, likes and interests of the individual that will be using the space. The last thing you want is a home filled with generic, hotel-feel bedrooms.
When designing the bedrooms in your home, create a personal space for each person – the bedroom should strongly reflect that individual’s tastes.
The biggest mistake we make we decorate our bathrooms, especially shared bathrooms, is to let the room accumulate clutter and an overdose of personal-use items.
In the case of a shared bathroom or guest toilet it is best to keep the room clean and clutter-free with only the essentials.
Because of South Africa’s beautiful climate our outside spaces are generally seen as an extension of our living areas. Spengler says that leaving the decorating of your garden or patio as an afterthought, or not doing it at all, is the biggest mistake you can make.
Instead, aim for functionality when choosing the furniture you want to use in these areas – furnish your outdoor space with use in mind and the distinct goal of creating an extension of your home and living spaces.
Designing to sell
You may love your home, but when putting it on the market there are a few, low-budget design changes you can use to up the appeal of your home for most prospective buyers. Spengler draws on her experience with the Umthunzi Valley show units to give you guidance.
“Furnishing a property for show is completely different to designing a family home, for example,” says Spengler. “When designing your own home you should be guided by your lifestyle and individual tastes and preferences. But a show house or show unit needs to appeal to a wide audience.
“The concept for each of the Umthunzi Valley units had to be carefully considered to attract a wide range of potential buyers and not be exclusive to any one individual. You have to strive to please everybody that is a potential buyer. This makes the design brief very complex, and our aim was to create a space that isn’t complicated but is easy to understand and enjoy.
“The strategic approach was the importance of showing the variation of interior design possibilities; it was therefore suggested that the three show units are decorated in different styles to ensure that a range of interior aesthetics will be showcased to attract a broader range of new homeowners within the development. I’m very excited to get feedback from the potential homeowners on show day on the 17th once they have viewed all three uniquely decorated units.”
This feature is sponsored by Foce Property Investments