24 May 2022

5 steps to cultivate your own design style

Author: Louise Mackay, Louise Mackay Interior Design

Louise from Louise Mackay Interior Design is a multi-award-winning designer who specialises in concept development, the application of colour, place-making and curating spaces that ignite feelings of joy.

Louise has a passion for realising unique design solutions for her clients through the bold application of colour and exploration of texture and materiality. She encourages her clients to celebrate design with creativity, curiosity and joy.

Louise fell in love with interior design while renovating multiple properties across Newcastle. Louise holds an Advanced Diploma in Interior Design and has been running a successful interior design and staging business for over 18 months.

Here are some of her top tips on how to cultivate your own unique design style and curate beautiful spaces to be proud of.

Create a Vision Board

One of the first places I start when creating a design for a client is through a concept and vision board. It is important to spend quality time planning your project. Your vision forms the heart of the design, fuels inspiration and is the place to come back to for clarity and clarification.

You can create a physical mood board with cuttings from magazines, photographs from your travels, fabric swatches and other beautiful objects that spark joy within you. Or for those digital-savvy designers out there you can style a mood board through PowerPoint or online platforms such as Canva and Pinterest.

As I design my own apartment, I am inspired by the beautiful sceneries and iconic design styles of the Mediterranean. I am currently sourcing fabrics, textures, and patterns that are reminiscent of Italian summers, the spices of Morocco and the romantic aesthetics of France.

Search far and wide for sources of inspiration. Once I have a concept in my mind, I research hotels and designer abodes from those destinations, or look to art, book covers, and objects that I love to build my vision.

Celebrate Colour

Selecting the perfect palette for your project can be both exciting and challenging. But don’t be afraid of colour! Play with colour through decor, furnishings and paint. Pro tip: You can always paint over it.

Colour is a very powerful tool when designing an interior. Not only does colour define a space, but it also creates atmosphere, reflects your personality and creates wow-factor! Plus, colour has the power to make you feel good through the powers of colour psychology.

You can manipulate colour to work with your interior. By “greying out” a colour, or playing with muted tones, you can apply colour without the intensity of the base hue. Why not book a colour consultation, or speak to the experts at your local paint place for help?

Love the all-white aesthetic? Think about how you can add subtle tonal differences throughout the space by using different tints and shades of white.

Play with pattern, texture and materiality

Play with pattern, texture and materiality to curate spaces to be proud of. These elements can be used as boldly or as subtly as you desire.

Texture comprises of an object’s physical feeling or visual appearance and can add a sense of depth and dimension to a room. When adding texture and materiality into a space, consider how you want the room to feel – warm and cosy, cool and contemporary, rustic and natural. Layer different textures within a space to add contrast, softness, colour, acoustics, drama, depth, comfort or warmth.

Pattern play is one of the simplest ways to reflect your personality and inject playfulness into your room. Pattern comes in many formations – so you are only limited by your imagination and ability to dare. Think about applying pattern through fabrics, upholstery, tiles, flooring, wallpaper and so much more.

Don’t be afraid to layer patterns. Patterns with similar tones can work really well together and create interest in a space. Pattern can also create depth within a room, or make it feel more intimate.

Pay attention to what light does – to everything

Light is one of the most powerful tools of interior design. Whether it be natural or man-made. Light can transform colour in a space, enhance the mood of a room or create pattern through shadow.

Before designing a space, take a moment to sit down and absorb the effect of light.

Paint colour samples or hang A4 colour brush-outs before committing to a colour as you might be surprised about how dark or light a colour can become in a particular room.

Add Personality with Art and Objects

I love this quote by Nate Berkus, “Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love”. I think it encapsulates my goal of curating spaces that ignite feelings of joy. Collect and display objects, art and statement furniture to add your own story and personality to a space.

Curate an exhibition wall of art you have collected over time, place your favourite collectables on shelves or pop that striking antique chair in the corner of your room. These items define your signature aesthetic and create moments of recollection, and perhaps, spark joy and whimsy.

Final Words
1. Do it right the first time. It is better to save and plan and buy the products and finishes you want than to replace them in the future. This is also a way to think sustainably and ensure your purchases do not end up in landfill.

2. Swap out old hardware. Exchange your outdated knobs, tapware and door handles for hardware that suits your style. Changing over hardware can instantly transform any space or piece of furniture.

3. Install a new lighting fixture. Old lighting fixtures can easily date a home. Replace your existing lighting fixture to instantly update your space. Hire an electrician to do it safely and properly.

4. Lift the eye. Use curtains, art, or lights to encourage the eye to look up. This will make a space feel larger and enhance high ceilings.