Monday, 28 May 2012


Ok, since I seem to have talked about most of the major rooms in the house, I thought I'd then dedicate this post to the ‘study room’ as I have gotten some request to do so. 

I'll confess that for me as a designer it is not the most interesting rooms to design as all it needs really are some basics and it's functional. So with this post, I want to try and touch on ways we can make it less drab and more of an exciting space. 

For those who don’t know, a study is a room in the home used for reading, homework/office work, computer tasks and even relaxation, a space to think. Most newly built houses now, come with a dedicated study room but if you live in an older house and don’t plan on moving anytime soon, don’t worry as you can easily convert a spare room into your own study room. (Remember that the room you choose should be a room that gets enough good natural light, air circulation and away from noise).

I want to give you some basic tips to think about even before you start re-modelling your study room.

      1. Colours – this to me is the number 1 tip and the starting point as it’s very important the colour you choose for this space as it has a very specific function. You want the room to promote peacefulness and tranquillity, a place to get away from stress so you can focus and study/work or just read a book.

Warm blue tones are the best for evoking a peaceful feeling in the room. Avoid light blues which can feel cold on the walls. Green is another good option as it’s believed to be a calming colour as well. Defiantly colours to avoid are bright reds and yellows which create energy and sometimes frustration. (Energetic colours should be saved for a family room etc.).

It you’re the type on the other hand that likes dark colours and your room is big enough, I would suggest you consider painting one or half a wall that colour and then for the rest of the walls use a creamy neutral colour. 

Ticks all the boxes

Green and natural wood scheme

2.  Books – No study is complete without books. You can fill an entire wall with shelves/bookcases so this becomes the feature of the room. You might be thinking, but I don’t have that may books right now…don’t worry. You can use the empty space as display areas for your framed pictures or favourite ornaments.

1      Make sure you pick a bookcase that keeps in line with the overall style that you are trying to achieve. Be careful to measure the wall correctly so you can purchase enough of the bookcase/shelves to cover the entire wall. Another option of course and the easiest I believe here in Africa is to get a really good carpenter to do it for you. Please just make sure you have a strong input into choosing the wood and be very specific about the quality of finish you want. Don’t accept rubbish!

study room with large book rack
Large bookcase covering entire wall
Contemporary Rich Apartment Design Study Room Area

1    3. Furniture – Ok, now you are ready to add furniture. Depending on the size of the room, look for a comfortable sofa or recliners first. (Reading is much more comfortable when you have somewhere nice to sit – let comfort be your primary goal before style in this case).

Next, look for a desk. A desk with built in drawers and shelves work well and also keep in mind that the work surface should be wide enough to accommodate your desktop/laptop and also have enough work surface to do other things. Also if you are purchasing, try and make sure that the desk is the same finish as your shelves or as close to as possible to give good continuity. 

Don't also forget about your flooring. In Africa, we tend to prefer tiles but I for one like wooden floors and don't think they are appreciated well enough here. You can cozy it up by adding a nice rug in the area where you will be seated. 

Simply design but modern and functional

More examples...
Small spaces can work too but with bespoke furniture

study room | home office

study room | home office
Study room for kids
    study room with sun light
    Good natural light is important

Well, I hope this has given you ample ideas on what to do with your own study room. If you follow these tips I believe you will come out with great results! Remember if in doubt feel free to ask me questions and I'm also available to offer you my interior design service.

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Thursday, 3 May 2012

Focus point!

It was commonly known as parlours in the 19th century, but now in the 20th century this space was renamed the "living room" where one can entertain guests, watch television, read, and practise the art of 

I've noticed commonly here, (West Africa) that the average household has 2 spaces - one being the 'living room' and the other the 'family room'. The family room is used everyday where the family comes together at the end of their day, relax after a long workweek or to enjoy a television program together and just basically hang out, while the living room, is sometimes a rarely used room, without a television or other media, where visitors are formally entertained. Either way, living rooms provide a design set piece for you to display your signature look from a stylish combination of living room furniture.

Contemporary Kensington House Interior Design-Interior Design of Contemporary Kensington House by SHH Architects and Designers
Contemporary Kensington House - Living room example
Luxury living room interior in black and white

From the pictures above, you can get an idea of modern luxury living, which is characterised by maximised use of daylight, glass panels, pieces of chunky glossy solid wood decor. Straight lines are the main features of contemporary luxury living, because they create less mess and put the little things that can create messy lines. But do not forget to include lines and curves, resulting to break the monotony.

Below is a contemporary but cosy family area. Note the natural colours used on the walls and floor and the furniture gives just enough colour that the room needs so the space remains a relaxing zone.

living area seating mountain view

I wanna give you some quick tips for the 'family room' as that's the space you and your family use on a daily basis and a busy family room can be not only neat and orderly, but also comfortable and pleasant. What's the secret? Making the most of three important elements: storage, versatility, and comfort.


Start by asking yourself how you want to feel when you're in the room, and how you want to use it. Ask family members to identify the activities that will go on in the room. Then consider whether the space is large enough to accommodate those activities. If watching TV, reading books, and playing board games are high on your priority list, be sure you have room for comfortable seating near the television set, adjustable lighting fixtures, and a table large enough for games. Knowing how you'll use the space helps determine whether the room is sized appropriately.

Carefully plan for furniture. Start thinking about how you'll live in the space before remodelling to ensure that everything you want fits comfortably and that traffic flows smoothly. A furniture plan also determines where electrical and cable outlets belong—costly elements to change once the room is complete.

Consider your focal point. Is it the TV or a fireplace? If both are on the same wall, seating is easy, but on separate walls, the room arrangement becomes trickier. Experiment with arrangements that pull the furniture away from the walls and create a variety of conversation groupings. Remember, this is a room of many activities, so be creative with your room plan.

Focus on lighting. Aim for a mix of different fixtures from standing lamps to low hung ceiling lights, and include dimmer switches so that you can adjust the lighting for everything from movie watching to doing the kids homework/school project.

Plan easy-access technology. A built-in computer station with accompanying slide-away doors and added storage keeps workspace close but easily hidden. Plus, kids' online activities can be kept in full view while your watching tv or reading a book.

Choose people-friendly finishes. Because this is sure to be one of the most-used rooms of the house, plan with longevity in mind. Consider comfortable floor coverings and sturdy upholstery fabrics for your sofa with easy-to-clean surfaces. The new microfibers and Ultrasuede are good choices here or leather.

Bring in ample natural light. The ideal window arrangement includes at least two exposures for even lighting throughout the day. If a view is unpleasant or you need more wall space, consider a skylight. As a rule, the higher the window, the deeper the light's penetration into the room.

living room raymore and flanningan
Raymour & Flanigan
                         Contemporary Orange Family Room Ideas in 2012
living room raymore and flanningan
Raymour & Flanigan 
living room raymore and flanningan
Raymour & Flanigan
living room raymore and flanningan
Raymour & Flanigan

I hope all the above has inspired you to look at your family room/area in a new light that can make it stylish as well as cosy for the whole family.

Remember I look forward to your feedback/comments so feel free to write your thought on this post or any other topic you'd like me to cover.

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