Renovation smarts for your living, dining and bedroom spaces

By: Alex Fulton

Interior Designer and Gem Visa Brand Ambassador continues her smart interior design and budget tips in Gem Visa’s expert series on how to make the smartest money choices when it comes to renovating your home.

A great pair – combining Alex’s design knowledge, supported by Gem Visa’s smarter ways to pay.

Work out a good circulation plan

Good design is achieved by good interior flow. It’s such a vital component that great hotels base their rooms on this design premise. In a bedroom and living space think about walking paths, furniture placement. Think about exits and entrance ways and how the room will flow. Connecting areas within a space is just as important as connecting rooms in a home.

Wonder walls

Walls are not reserved exclusively for paint or wallpaper - often they are screaming to showcase existing art collections or decorative pieces. This can be a big money saver. If you don’t have an art collection as such, try hanging your favourite scarves, hats, handbags or jewellery in your bedroom. Likewise, use your living room walls as spaces to hang collections that need to be featured. I have a collection of beautiful plates that for years sat hidden away, until I saw some cheap plate holders. Now they grace my wall and make me happy!

Get specific with lighting

Lighting can make or break a room. Considered light helps to define a space, induce mood and direct the eye to highlighted areas such as an artwork or occasional chair. Updating existing downlights, refreshing wall lights or adding table lamps is an easy way to modernise a space without spending too much. Just double check that what you buy complies with NZ electrical standards (especially if second hand or vintage).

Focus on a focal point

Any room needs a focal point – an area or thing that directs your interest and gives your eye a starting point in the room. For a bedroom, this might be an interesting headboard or in the lounge, an interesting piece of art. Too many focal points will end up making your space busy and confusing – especially in a room where ambiance and a feeling of relaxation is your jam.

Don’t forget the floor!

While budget constraints may encourage you to leave the floor as is, it’s definitely worthwhile having a peep at what’s hiding under that hideous stained 30-year-old threadbare carpet. Choose a hidden corner to have a sneak peak. Older houses often have beautiful wooden floorboards that come to life with a little elbow grease and TLC. Bring back the warmth and add style with rugs in textures and colours that compliment your newly styled spaces.

Layers of colour

Keep your colour palette to 2-3 colours. If you want more variation, bring in different shades of your primary colours choices. If red is one of your colours, look either side for different tints and tones. It might be a pale blush (lighter) and a maroon (darker). This will give depth to your palette, which will make it feel less contrived and more affective. To deepen this effect further choose different textures such as wool, leather, cotton, linen or velvet in these tones

Things you need to know

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