As the seasons change and the weather starts to warm up, it's natural to want to freshen up your life and give it a refreshed look. The winter’s been long and cold, and the idea of new beginnings is more appealing than ever. As an interior designer, this is the perfect time to take stock of your studio, portfolio, library and style and start planning your spring cleaning (or renaissance if you’re feeling fancy!).
But wait, wait! Before you start maniacally scrubbing and decluttering without a sense of purpose, it's important to go through some few key do's and don'ts. In this article, we’ll go through all the ways interior designers can clean up their spaces and minds (physically and mentally) ahead of the new season. And if you like professional interior design content, don’t hesitate to subscribe to our newsletter.
DO: Clean up your sample library
As an interior designer, your sample library is one of your most powerful tools. In it, you store all your fabric swatches, paint chips, and other materials that enable you to bring any potential design to life. Nonetheless, as time passes, it’s typical for your sample library to become cluttered and disorganised, making it increasingly difficult to retrieve what you need, precisely when you need it. This is why it's crucial to periodically clean and streamline your sample library. Here's how to go about it.
First, start by emptying your sample library. Although this may appear intimidating, it's key to begin with a clean slate. Spread everything out on a table or a level surface, enabling you to examine all that you own.
Next, segregate your samples into different categories. These may include fabrics, wallpapers, paints, and other materials. While sorting, ensure to discard any item that's obsolete or no longer relevant to your current projects.
After you've sorted your samples, organise them in a way that makes sense to you. There are several ways to do this, depending on your preferences. Some designers prefer to organise their samples by colour, while others opt to arrange them by material type. Regardless of the approach you choose, ensure that it's logical and easy to navigate for you and others.
As you organise your samples, make sure to label each item clearly. This will substantially simplify your quest to retrieve a particular item in the future. You may consider using a labelling machine or merely inscribing on the back of each sample.
Once you've organised and labelled your samples, it's time to place everything back in your sample library. You might consider procuring new storage solutions to ensure that everything is within reach and neatly organised. This may encompass shelves, filing cabinets, or storage bins.
Finally, maintain your sample library by conducting regular maintenance. This involves going through your samples every few months and disposing of any irrelevant items. It also entails keeping everything systematically organised and easy to locate. We know it’s tough but so worth it.
DON’T: Forget about last year’s trends already
As time goes, it’s really easy for designers to discard previous trends and latch on to new ones as they rise in popularity. However, all that does is create dated designs that don’t build upon your existing portfolio and personal signature. To change all that, this season we’re opting for upcycling. This is how you do it.
First, take a moment to consider what things are totally just fads and what other ones could become timeless. For example, the very specific and difficult to match items tend to have low life spans, as it is obvious where they are from and potentially even where the initial inspiration came from. It is the more versatile, sleek and classic item that can stand the test of time, no matter when you used it first in a design.
Then, take those timeless trends and consider how you could make them more your own. Are you a lover of colour and pattern? Then you know how to give it a twist. Or perhaps you are more of a minimalist? Then it’s time to simplify it. Whatever the trend is that you like, make sure to make it your own.
Finally, employ those trends and techniques in different ways, but always infuse in them something more personal that can be identified as only your own. Remember: repetition creates recognition.
DO: Reimagine your processes in more sustainable ways
As you go for a reinvention this time of year, it’s also time to think about how your interior design studio could work in more sustainable ways. Here are some things to consider:
01. Choose sustainable materials
One of the most important ways to make your interior design studio more sustainable is to choose materials for your client’s that are eco-friendly and sustainable. This includes using recycled or upcycled materials, as well as materials that are renewable or non-toxic. For example, you could use reclaimed wood for furniture, or choose natural fibres like organic cotton or linen for textiles.
02. Reduce waste
Another important step is to reduce waste. This can be achieved by using materials more efficiently, and by recycling or repurposing any leftover materials. You could also consider using modular furniture designs that can be easily disassembled and reused.
03. Use energy-efficient lighting
Lighting is an important aspect of any interior design, but it can also be a significant source of energy consumption. To make your studio more sustainable, consider using energy-efficient LED lightning in your designs, as it uses less energy and lasts longer than traditional lighting. You could also make use of natural light by positioning workspaces or play areas near windows, or by using skylights.
04. Incorporate plants
Plants are not only a beautiful addition to any space, but they also have many environmental benefits. They can help purify the air, regulate humidity, and even reduce noise levels. Incorporating plants into your designs can help create a more sustainable and healthy environment for your clients and their guests.
05. Choose local suppliers
When sourcing materials for your projects, try to choose local suppliers whenever possible. This can help reduce transportation emissions and support local businesses. You could also consider using materials that are sourced sustainably, such as FSC-certified wood.
06. Educate your clients
Finally, it's important to educate your clients about the importance of sustainability in interior design. This can include explaining the benefits of sustainable materials, as well as encouraging them to consider the environmental impact of their own choices. By educating your clients, you can help create a culture of sustainability that extends beyond your own studio.
DON’T: Spread yourself too thinly
When the seasons change it’s easy to get over excited and say yes to every single project around. While that might sound beneficial at first, overdoing it can lead to instances of burnout, lowered output quality and client dissatisfaction. Before taking on a new project, ask yourself:
- Does the project align with my design philosophy and aesthetic?
- Does the project fit within my business goals and objectives?
- Does the project require skills and expertise that I don't possess?
- Do I have the time and resources to complete the project successfully?
- Is the client a good fit for me and my business?
- Are there any ethical or moral concerns with taking on the project?
DO: Design for cleanliness
An often forgotten quality of a good design is its ability to be cleaned easily and also maintain that look for extended periods of time. Now that everyone is in spring cleaning mode, try to remember how to design for this effect. Here are some tips you could consider:
01. Incorporate easy-to-clean surfaces
When selecting materials for the space, choose those that are non-porous, smooth and waterproof. For example, stainless steel or stone countertops are great options for the kitchen. Overall, try to avoid textured surfaces or fabrics that can trap dirt and dust and are difficult to clean with household items.
02. Choose the right flooring
The flooring you choose for the space can make a big difference in how clean it stays. Avoid carpeting, which can trap dirt and allergens, and opt for hard surface flooring such as tile, vinyl, or hardwood that can be easily cleaned and sanitised.
03. Utilise storage solutions
A cluttered space is more difficult to clean, so be sure to include plenty of storage solutions to keep items organised and out of sight. This not only helps to reduce clutter but also makes cleaning easier and more efficient.
04. Proper ventilation
Proper ventilation is key to maintaining a clean and healthy environment. Good ventilation helps to prevent the buildup of moisture, which can lead to mould and mildew growth. It also helps to remove odours and airborne pollutants from the air.
05. Opt for hands-free fixtures
In spaces such as bathrooms and kitchens, hands-free fixtures such as motion sensor faucets and soap dispensers can help to reduce the spread of germs and bacteria.
DON’T: Stay comfortable in your style
Your mental health might be paramount, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t push yourself a little bit with work – especially in the creative sphere! When thinking about the new season ahead, consider how you can push yourself further in your style. If you’re stuck on how to do so, here are some tips.
01. Experiment with new materials and textures
Many designers tend to stick to familiar materials, such as wood and metal, and textures, such as linen and velvet. And we totally love that. However, there are countless more options available that can add a unique touch to your designs. Consider incorporating materials such as concrete, glass, or recycled materials. Try out different textures, such as faux fur or woven rattan. Don't be afraid to mix and match textures for a dynamic look.
02. Take inspiration from different design styles
It's easy to get stuck in one particular design style, but exploring different styles can broaden your design horizons. Look at design trends from different eras, such as mid-century modern or art deco, and draw inspiration from their unique elements. Doing so will add interest and depth to your designs.
03. Embrace bold colours
While neutrals have their place in interior design, bold colours can add personality and vibrancy to a space. Don't be afraid to use bright hues, such as mustard yellow or fuchsia, as accents in your designs. If you're hesitant to use bold colours on walls or furniture, try incorporating them in smaller details, such as pillows or artwork.
04. Try out different layouts
It's easy to fall into a pattern of arranging furniture in a certain way, but trying out different layouts can give you a fresh perspective. Experiment with asymmetrical arrangements or consider placing furniture at angles. You may discover a new way of arranging furniture that makes a space more functional or visually appealing.
05. Collaborate with other designers
Working with other designers can bring new ideas and approaches to your designs. Collaborate with designers who have different backgrounds and perspectives to challenge your own ideas and push your creativity. Joining a professional design organisation or attending industry events can provide opportunities for networking and collaboration.
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