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    Getting started

    As mentioned earlier design is the combined effect of numerous elements, but the starting point involves just three: space, the function of the room and budget.

    ...a restricted budget need not limit your interior design ambitions or imagination.
    White Sofa

    Image supplied by Ikea

    Space

    Naturally the question of space is decided by the size of the room, and although certain design elements can be employed to make a small room appear larger or a very large room less cavernous, the room’s dimensions will be your starting point.

    So if you are living in a small flat, your love of bold patterns and bright colours may have to be compromised. The good news is that this particular design preference need not be abandoned completely for, as we will see later, there is still a place for a dramatic and vivid statement when decorating a small living room. Similarly, those who favour a severe minimalist approach to interior design should be aware this could result in a stark and forbidding environment in larger rooms.

    Function

    How the room it is to be used should also affect its design. Those planning to use their living room for entertaining will want to create a living space that can accommodate additional seating, but still have room for people to move about comfortably.

    Family living rooms must be planned with the children in mind. The room has not only to offer a warm and comfortable environment in which children can relax and play, safety – particularly for families with very young children – will be a major consideration too. This will take the form of avoiding furniture with sharp corners, fitting childproof catches to the windows and ensuring electric sockets are safeguarded from inquisitive little fingers. Freestanding features that can be knocked over and broken should also be avoided.

    Budget

    With all home improvement and DIY projects your budget is a crucial factor. However, a restricted budget need not limit your interior design ambitions or imagination. The success of television home improvement shows has brought interior design to the masses; consequently suppliers serving this market now offer an excellent range of goods and materials to suit every pocket.

    Next: Elements of style