Decorex International is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

10 - 13 OCT LONDON
16 - 18 NOV ONLINE

10 Rules for Designing a Home

Decorex have teamed up with Brian Woulfe, Founder of Designed by Woulfe, to create 10 rules for designing a home – consider these guidelines before embarking on a new project. These tips have been crafted by Woulfe based on his expertise and experience in the interior design business.

Plus, to celebrate The Edit – our new creative hub for design professionals – we are announcing some exclusive updates around May’s content theme. We will be revealing the tastemakers leading our live sessions on 20th May and sharing a brief synopsis of what you can expect to learn in the business sessions too.

1. Don’t forget the 3 F’s … Feeling, Form and Function

Good design should be both beautiful and functional, while evoking three different positive responses:

·       Visceral - Your gut reaction and the way it makes you feel

·       Behavioural - Your behaviour upon using the object

·       Reflective - What you feel after the experience is over 


2. Layer your lighting

Layering light is how you create atmosphere in a room. We do it with texture, print and colours in our interior design schemes but the same principles apply to lighting individual rooms. Combining different kinds of light will allow you to create a particular mood, or as I like to call it, vibe.

There are three main types of lighting: ambient, task and accent. We need ambient lighting to provide general light within a space, it typically comes from the main switch. Task lighting aids with everyday necessities such as reading, drawing or entertaining. Accent lighting is there for aesthetic purposes and allows you to highlight different features in a room such as mirrors, art, fireplaces, objets. 

Brian Woulfe | Designed by Woulfe

3. Experiment with print, colour and texture

Create layers in this way by breaking the room down into categories that create a sense of individualism while still working cohesively together:

·       Wallcoverings - Wallpaper, paint, specialist wall finishes

·       Flooring - Carpet, tiles, wood

·       Furniture - Style

·       Soft furnishings - Pillows, throws, rugs, bedding

·       Wall Decor and Accessories - art, mirrors, books


4. Find your focal point

Establish an area of the room where eyes of newcomers will be immediately drawn. These can be statement pieces, antiques, works of art, mirrors or fireplaces. The aim is to highlight the focal point by dressing and lighting it correctly and positioning it somewhere where it has space to breathe.


5. Choose the right sized rug

The size of your rug shouldn’t be overlooked. You want to be able to place furniture on it so that it doesn’t look like it’s floating in space. Take into consideration what furniture this would be as well as how it would be positioned and pay attention to scale accordingly. 

Living Room Design | Designed by Woulfe

6. Mark it personal, tell your story

Interiors are an extension of our individual personalities, passions and pursuits. You want your home to reflect your tastes in an authentic way while feeling personable and comfortable. Great ways to tell your story are by incorporating or displaying personal collections, art, nods to your heritage or cultural background, travel mementos, books and photographs.


7. Design with kids and pets in mind

Children and pets should be taken into consideration when designing a home. After all, they live there too and make use of (mostly) all of the communal spaces too. Consider hard-wearing surfaces that are easy to clean and maintain. Also, remember to fil your space with pet-friendly plants - you’d be surprised by how many can be poisonous.


8. Create space for easy entertaining

It’s all about creating different spaces for different activities in the home. When it comes to entertaining, you want to make it easy with a little flair that communicates just how you like to have your fun. A home bar displaying your drinks of choice and wine fridges for passionate collectors are a great choice. These can be well-equipped and conveniently located while remaining discreet when not in use. The right audio-visual set-up and equipment is key for entertaining too, be it a crisp display in a home cinema or great-sounding speakers in a lounge. 

Entertaining Space | Designed by Woulfe

9. Something old, something new

When designing a home which draws on past eras for inspiration, you want to artfully add contemporary elements into the mix so that the outcome doesn’t feel gimmicky. Combining the old with the new will strike a balance and create a unique and timeless interior design scheme that won’t become obsolete in years to come.


10. Go with your gut and take risks. Break as many rules as you want

While we’ve just shared a set of ‘design rules’, it’s important that you create a space that feels right for you. Listen to your instincts when making decisions, be bold, inject your personality into it and don’t be afraid to make mistakes - after all, there isn’t too much that can’t be reversed!


The Edit: May’s Content Revealed

The Edit is our new digital hub that’s been curated around the needs of the design community, who require a reliable resource that’s easily accessible all year round. The Edit filters out the noise by delivering fresh perspectives on essential topics. This is a digital space for design professionals to hone their eye and young creatives to gain invaluable insight from the brightest minds the industry has to offer. 

In May, The Edit’s content theme is Industry Tastemakers: Insight for Designers. This will guide the conversations and business sessions taking place on 20th May, which will be exclusively available for members to tune into. 

Pictured L-R, Top Row: Nina Campbell, Carol Annett, Sally Storey, Christina Clarke | Bottom Row: Martin Brudnizki, Charu Gandhi and Katherine Sandford-Anderson

 If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also like the following:

Putting Responsible Design into Practice: 6 Sustainable Brands for 2021