Hide it with paint
1. Hide it away
A television and other electronic equipment should preferably not be the focal point in a room. Build a cupboard with space for the television and other sound equipment so that these items can be hidden behind closed doors when necessary.
2. Keep it simple
Simplicity is a designer's greatest secret. Avoid too many frills around windows – if you decorate them in a simple, uniform way, the room seems bigger and less busy. Another design trick is to choose curtains, blinds or shutters in the same colour as – or slightly darker than – the walls: this creates a feeling of space.
3. Create space
You can be creative with paint. Walls and floors in light colours or white create an illusion of light and space. If you want the room to appear wider, paint the ceiling in a lighter colour than the walls. Remember, though, that white can appear cold and clinical. Vary it with shades that tend towards cream and combine it with textures such as wood and cane. A neutral colour scheme is like a blank canvas for your décor, which you can easily alter with soft furnishings.
Clever structural ideas
4. Break open
These days it's so common to break down walls that it can scarcely be listed as a design secret; rather, it is a design trick. A house can look completely different – and be more cosy and sociable – after a few walls have been removed. This is also a clever way to use problematic spaces to your advantage: break down the walls and incorporate the space into an existing room, as rooms that flow into each other are very sociable. Windows in different walls create better air circulation and this room is much cooler as a result.
5. Play with height
Ceilings of different heights, and structural details such as ceiling beams, create variety in an open-plan living area.
Light and storage space
6. Good planning
If there are only two things that make an immediate design impression, they are well-planned lighting and storage space. Adjustable wall lamps (try Weylandts or Eurolux) are not only useful but also save space on bedside tables. Drawers that form part of the headboard look neat and are practical at the same time.
7. Lights and blinds
The best lighting design trick is to position a light where it is needed rather than in the centre of the ceiling. Horizontal blinds enable you to control the amount of natural light in a room. When the blinds above are half open, they create an interesting play of light and shadow. The greatest advantage, however, is that they allow air in while keeping sunlight out.
8. Natural light
Natural light has a great effect on how people experience a living area – it creates a feeling of space by allowing an element of the outside world indoors. When building a new house or renovating an old one, use large doors and windows that allow light to stream in and people to move around easily. If you want to take it a step further, ensure that your room has more than one light source. This not only improves the light quality but also the circulation of air.
9. Functional and aesthetic
If you want to create an outdoor entertainment area it's important to achieve a balance between practical finishes and those that look attractive. It's hard to go wrong with natural materials such as stone and wood.
10. Comfort first
A cosy, well-designed outdoor entertainment area is not only a great space in which to relax, but it can also be a bonus that impresses prospective buyers when you decide to sell. Choose furniture for your entertainment area with great care and spoil yourself with a comfortable lounger.