As a West Sussex interior designer, I encounter people all the time who ask for tips on how to make their homes look and feel better. Throughout my career, whether working on a cedar-clad seaside cottage in my native New England or luxury hotel suites at some of London’s finest hotels, I’ve noted three main characteristics that make a space feel great. Here they are:
Make it functional
It may sound obvious, but believe me, I’ve seen my fair share of design-for design’s-sake! Take an honest look at your space and how it works now, how you would like it to work, and develop a plan to make it happen. Make sure there’s a valid reason – a “why” – behind every decision. If you’re not sure how to do that and/or feel overwhelmed with technicalities, call in a professional! A little extra time and money spent now to get it right will save a lot of headache later.
There is so much satisfaction to be had from a big spring clean and declutter and fresh coat of paint – on walls, on doors, on furniture, on whatever it is that may need a little pick-me-up. There’s nothing more cost-effective and satisfying to those who crave immediate-gratification than cleaning and painting. In my younger years, I’d find an old piece of furniture on the side of the road or at a charity shop, take it home, clean it up, and get creative with paint. I’d stencil the walls, rearrange the furniture, open the windows, and wash everything in sight. Now as a professional with many years of experience, I understand it’s those same principles that have the power to invigorate any room anywhere.
Create a story
With so much online inspiration and sharing, many have abandoned the notion of “self” in their homes, and often, rather than reflecting the people who live within, their lifestyle, and what’s important to them, their interiors look just like every other person’s on the block. Try to think a little differently and be thoughtful about what you put in your home and why. Consider what you love, why, whom, and how. Think about what makes you feel happy and what supports and nurtures you, what inspires and drives you. Surround yourself with items you love and that make you feel your best, most comfortable self.
I’ve included a few detail shots from a project last spring and a little lesson in having fun and being creative with paint, colour, and all things “refresh”! Bright white, bright red, and a few squiggly lines helped to inject a touch of movement and identity to a teenager’s room/art studio.
Mandy Cuss Interior Design creates characterful, one-of-a-kind interiors designed for living well every day. Working throughout Sussex, the Southeast, and beyond, they believe wholeheartedly in the transformational power of well-designed spaces.
Interior Design: Mandy Cuss Photographs: Pippa Tanko Branding
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