Plan ahead for perfect home interior

Planning for furniture placement in your new home is best done at the architectural design stage.
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Planning for furniture placement in your new home is best done at the architectural design stage.

It's never too soon to start planning your home interior when you are building.

In fact, it's best to think about this right at the beginning, when you are having those initial discussions with your architect or developer.

After all, you don't want to move into a completed home and find you can't arrange the furniture comfortably, or that prized pieces simply don't fit. Or maybe you position your seating so you can view the television but then find you are turning your back to the view.

Interior designer Andrea Robertson specified a modular sofa with chaise for the new Lockwood show home in Christchurch.
LOCKWOOD HOMES

Interior designer Andrea Robertson specified a modular sofa with chaise for the new Lockwood show home in Christchurch.

Rangiora interior designer Andrea Robertson knows exactly the potential pitfalls. Her practice creates build packages for both homeowners and builders that are designed to prevent interior disasters.

"Most people have trouble visualising how things will look on a larger scale, especially paint colours – they look different in different rooms," Robertson says. "Instead of spending lots of money on test pots it's a good idea to engage the services of a professional for advice, even if it's to reassure you that you are on the right track, which can save a lot of stress later on.

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When choosing furnishings, surfaces and colours, start with your flooring choice and gradually work your way up, says ...
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When choosing furnishings, surfaces and colours, start with your flooring choice and gradually work your way up, says designer Nicola Manning.

The designer says key points to consider include functionality. How many people will be living in the house, and what are their needs? Will their needs change? For example children become teenagers that may require separate zones in the house, and older people may need to future-proof the house for ageing in place. Maybe an area needs to be set aside for a person working from home.

You may need to take into account furniture pieces that you want to be included, such as an inherited antique cabinet, table or dresser. Where will this be placed? This needs to be determined right at the design stage.

Remember also to create generous circulation areas, and allow about one metre of clear space around a sofa. And if you can add an extra 750mm or more to the width of a hallway it will make a huge difference to the look and feel of your home – it could function as a gallery space for art of family photos.

It helps to have a focal point for the seating in your living room - this home features a double-sided fireplace.
123RF.COM

It helps to have a focal point for the seating in your living room - this home features a double-sided fireplace.

Aesthetics are another important element to consider early on. Auckland designer Nicola Manning suggests writing a wishlist that will form the basis of a plan. 

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"Prioritising the wishlist is important. The money that you spend on buying furniture, accessories, or appliances that don't fit into your goal long term, could be spent on things that really matter and add value to your home."

Manning says it's essential to select an anchor point for your interior scheme. "This may be a piece of art that you love, the view, a favourite colour, fantastic piece of furniture or a favourite accessory."

START WITH THE FLOORING

The designer says the starting order is the opposite of painting a room, where you start working from the ceiling down.

"When putting together a design scheme I nearly always start with making flooring decisions first, for example timber, carpet and tiles.  Then I work up from there. The flooring choices need to be based on practical considerations such as durability, cosiness, temperature, cost, allergies, children and pets. The colour choices are more limited with flooring, but it creates an anchor on which to base the rest of your scheme."

Once the flooring is chosen, then you can move on to furniture, fabrics and upholstery, choosing these to work in with the flooring. And finally, there's the colour choices for hard surfaces, including walls, ceilings, doors, windows and benchtops.

"The paint colours available on the market are literally endless. You can even take a favourite colour on a piece of fabric, wallpaper or piece of art and have it matched with a custom paint colour.  You have so much flexibility with paint selections, which is the main reason for leaving this till last."

WHICH STYLE?

To help you finetune your preferences, Manning has formulated this checklist of interior styles.

* Homely and comfortable
* Comfortable, shabby chic
* Sleek and minimal
* Organic and natural
* Industrial and hard edge
* Warm colours
* Themed, but not too over the top
* Lots of colour
* Neutral base with pops of colour in accessories and art

And if you are really stuck, don't hesitate to seek professional advice. Even a one-off consultation can head you in the right direction.

 - Stuff

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