Interior designer Suzie McAdam has a knack for creating beautiful and considered spaces that somehow appear effortless. Read on to discover the seven simple design rules she lives by…
Interior expert Suzie McAdam knows good design. Though her client-led and inventive philosophy keeps her wide-ranging work from having a signature look, she does have a few strict design principles for making a house into a dream home.
1. Be Open. I always encourage a dialogue with my clients to explore ideas that will bring their home to life. If you try to replicate an image from Pinterest, you will close doors to new ideas. Try from the offset to challenge yourself and be open to new colour palettes and styles.
2. Come to Light. A good lighting scheme is one of the few ways you can control and vary the mood through the day. I layer lighting with both down lights and pendants and then a number of lamps and/or wall lights. White light works really well behind shelving.
3. Prioritise Spatial Awareness. I want my clients to be as comfortable as possible in their home and will spend time a long time positioning the furniture in each area to ensure that happens, down to the last details of being able to reach the bedside switch and having enough counter space by the sink.
4. Play it Safe (in terms of budget). A budget with a contingency fund for unforeseen splurges and extras is a necessity. ‘Hidden’ costs usually turn out to be the best investments – you might need to reinforce a wall for shelves or decide to go for bespoke wardrobes. I do research to find both splash-out and reasonably priced finds, so that if my clients do fall in love with the idea of installing two contemporary fireplaces the funds can cope!
5. Layer Luxury. Rather than going for glitzy glam, I layer materials that exude a tactile look and high-end finishes that illustrate craftsmanship. Whether it’s rich colours or metallic or marble surfaces, pick a few beautiful and well-proportioned pieces that you fall in love with and appreciate their detailing.
6. Take Trends With a Pinch of Salt. Trend pieces don’t always stand the test of time, so try to be led by quality whether the item is brand-new or vintage. I love mid-century furniture for the quality of craftsmanship but also it has a timeless appeal.
7. Keep Things Fresh. To avoid a look that is formulaic, I always add a few items that are eclectic or unexpected. Keep one element simple to ground the area – try a plain backdrop with a statement chair, or conversely pared-down furniture against patterned wallpaper or tiles.
By Jessica Elliott