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expert advice on getting your interior design project off to the best start

So you know that you need to do something, but don’t know where to start. We’ve all been there!

Where Interior Design is concerned though, our designers know a thing or two about getting the ball rolling, and helping you to clarify what you need and want from your project in order to make it a success. So if you are overwhelmed by ideas and are not sure what to prioritise, or are feeling a little intimidated by what is ahead of you, read on and by the end of this article you should be able to give your project the direction it needs.

Princeton barstool in camel Cotton Velvet fabric 3111

form follows function


In the creation of all great designs one thing is true – that function comes first, and aesthetics follow on.

When beginning an interior design project, this is the most important thing to remember if you want to create a liveable space that will support your lifestyle and be enjoyable to be in.

It is all too easy to be seduced by glossy images in magazines, or inspirational Instagram shots, and set out trying to recreate a look in your own space. More often than not, you will find that maintaining the appearance that initially drew you in will not be sustainable or the reality of living in the space will take far more energy than it brings.

That doesn’t mean that you should forget about aesthetic styling all together. Just take care to think about “will it work?” first and “what will it look like?” second.



Often presented in opposition, as though one must be inherently better, style and trends are two sides of the same coin. How you choose to express either is a matter of personal preference, and whilst there is no wrong answer, which of the two you choose to lean in to will have an influence on how you should approach your project.

Uniquely yours
Where style is concerned, there are no wrong answers! It is highly personal and something that reflects your lifestyle and values. Unlike trends, which are determined by external factors and change regularly, your personal style is a language unique to you alone and tends to remain more constant – even if it does develop over time.

We would recommend letting your sense of style take the lead when making decisions around investment pieces that need to stand the test of time, or those with a higher price tag attached. If you have a particularly strong sense of style, or are focused on achieving a timeless design, you can skip the next section…


a sign of the times
Sometimes dismissed as the poor cousin of style, trends are a reflection of our constantly evolving needs and lifestyles and while we may not find they connect with us all equally, to remain interested in the emergence of new innovations or expressions is to appreciate the impact of progress on our lives.

If you are considering purchasing a higher priced trend-led piece, it is important that you have considered how you will feel about it in a few years’ time when fashions have changed. For most people, it is best to focus on using smart styling, where the investment level is typically lower, to keep your space on trend.


The aspirations that you have for your space are one of the first things any interior designer will ask you about. No matter the scale of your project, being able to clearly state your goals will help to keep the design process on track.


Some key points to consider are:

  • What do you want the space to be used for?
  • Who will be using it?
  • What features are the most important to you?
  • What are your stylistic aims?
  • What do you want to keep and what do you want to change?


It is a good idea to write these down and refer to them throughout the design process to help you keep track of the things that really matter.

Princeton bench in stone Estoril leather 0953

Decide on the level of investment you want to make

Are you creating a space or looking for a design that will last for years? Or do you forsee changes in the near future that mean you only need a short term solution?

Considering this question, alongside your proposed budget, will help you to establish how best to spend your money. In some areas it may be worth spending a little more in order to get a great, high quality, result that will last – short term pain for long term gain. In this situation, it is often a false economy to scrimp on the budget, and it would be more cost effective in the long run to invest in a higher standard of design.

On the other hand, if you know that the end result has a limited shelf life, there may be savings to be made by selecting a more affordable option that is not designed (and priced) to last far longer than you will need it.

Princeton bench in stone Estoril leather 0953


Conduct some research and collect images of any designs, products, textures or details that appeal to you. There are no wrong answers here – it is about what brings joy to YOU.

Tip: You don’t need to be too picky about this, as by gathering a wide range of material you may discover common factors – or details that appeal to you, that you didn’t recognise before.

Collating your images into moodboards will help you to refine your stylistic ambitions. They are also a great tool to help you commincate your vision with any collaborators or professionals that you work with.


Need a little help? Why not see if there is anything in our Project Library that catches your attention.


The next steps when creating your space require an honest appraisal of the resources you have available. In particular you need to be frank about your budget, skillset and the time investment you are willing to make.
If you have plenty of time, coupled with strong design or practical skills, you may be able to achieve the result you want with minimal need for professional input. Designing, sourcing and even building interior pieces yourself can save you money initially, and perhaps make your budget go a little bit further, but it is challenging to meet the high standards that a specialist can deliver.
Hiring a professional designer, either an indepentent or aligned with a brand, is a much better choice for those without the time or willingness to take on bulk of the work themselves, and those who are not as confident in their skillset. Expert advice can also be invaluable in tackling challenging features or finding hidden opportunity in your space, so even if you don’t need them for the whole project it may be worth getting help in specific areas.




Whether you need a home interior design, to refresh one room or are just looking for interior design help with a sofa, armchair or table, our free design service could be just the ticket.


Our team of experienced interior designers are available to help you with everything from interior styling tips to a comprehensive overhaul, and can provide guidance on our extensive customisation options.