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With a plethora of high-tech methods available to facilitate interior design, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that there’re still basic tenets of good design that should be observed.

Interior design is playing an increasingly important role in home improvements, as more and more householders seek to match functionality with sustainability, while balancing style and substance, to create an aesthetically-pleasing environment in which they feel at home with their surroundings.

The main aim of contemporary interior design is not so much about colour, trends, and style; it focuses more on making people feel good in their living space by combining form and function in a way that enriches their lifestyle, while enhancing efficiency in an eco-friendly way.

The art of quality modernist technology in interior design lies not in cramming trendy knick-knacks into a room, but in positively affecting how people perceive spaces. Contemporary interior design is a vital part of everyday life, influencing how people live and work, and helps to provide comfortable homes and efficient workplaces.

How interior design has evolved

Mankind conceived the practice of interior design during the Stone Age, decorating prehistoric dwellings with drawings of themselves and animals. Although the art and science of interior design has come a long way since then, the basic principle remains the same: we do it because it makes us feel better.

Interior design became a recognised profession in the early 1900s in the U.S., amid the art nouveau movement, which looked to nature for inspiration as it blended interiors and exterior elements.

By the 1980s, the contemporary school of design had evolved, with neutral colours and basic materials, such as wood and steel. Since then, contemporary interior design has embraced advances in technology, materials, and products to steer home design in a more sustainable direction.

Today, harnessing the power of 3D digital technology, it’s possible to create realistic, personalised designs for any space, opening up a host of new options, experimenting with various possibilities, until the home of your dreams is visualised. This technology has made it much easier to create structure: for example, by using furnishings, artwork, and blinds to create different heights in a room.

With the technological advancements in environmentally-friendly interior design, it’s never been more simple to create your very own individually-customised living space – just don’t forget the basics!

Getting your interior design right

Here are some interior design tips for our modern age if you’re considering upgrading your home:

  • Identify your personal style. Your home should be all about you, with the interior design reflecting your lifestyle and personality.
  • Think about scale and proportion. Too many bulky items in a room make it look small; too many small items, and it looks disorderly.
  • Use a unified thread. Design elements, such as colour and pattern, can be combined to create one cohesive design thread that will promote a sense of calm and flow.
  • Consider the 5 senses. To create a space that makes people feel good, the design should appeal to all senses – sight, hearing, smell, touch, even taste.
  • Avoid over-coordination. Instead of placing too much emphasis on matching up design components, view your interior design as a work in progress, gradually adding items over time to add character.
  • Create a focal point. Every space needs a point of interest that draws the eye towards it. Determine a focus for the room, and then work the space around it.
  • Plan for adequate space to avoid clutter. Household items, such as magazines, books, clothing, linen, and toys, all need a home if your home redesign is to work as a clutter-free, relaxing space.
  • Think green. Besides using energy-saving products such as LED lighting, consider composite decking (made from wood waste and recycled plastic) and natural linoleum flooring.

The importance of lighting in interior design

One aspect of interior design that’s benefited greatly from evolving technology is lighting, and, because it plays such an important part in design, we’ll look at this subject in a little more detail, while bearing in mind the fundamentals of a quality lighting system.

Lighting represents the icing on the cake of interior design, adding a stylish finishing touch to complement and showcase a well-designed space, utilising layers of ambient (general), task, and accent lighting. Contemporary designers can now easily generate computer simulations to experiment with various combinations of lighting.

The U.S. International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) says the quality of lighting affects people in many different ways. The IALD states: “Building owners have the potential to add value and reduce costs through the application of good lighting.”

Energy-efficient lighting, including LED (light-emitting diode), is no longer confined to beneath cupboards and overhead fixtures; it’s now being used as a style feature in other areas. LED lighting can radically reduce energy bills while maintaining eco-friendly standards. The lengthy lifespan of LED bulbs also means that maintenance costs are significantly cut.

Another measure that’s environmentally friendly while cutting energy costs is the installation of dimmer switches to regulate the intensity of light that each fixture gives out. Lighting can also be switched on and off automatically, or controlled with a remote.

Here are a few more lighting interior design tips for a home renovation:

  • Understand the importance of lighting design. A quality lighting system should be combined as a component of the overall design. Lighting experts regard illumination as an actual dimension.
  • Think about the colour of lighting. Try to visualise the quality of colour and light distribution from each fixture.
  • Don’t overdo it with recessed downlights. Rather than fitting recessed downlighting everywhere, accomplish a more layered, aesthetic effect with a balance of task, ambient, and accent lighting.
  • Avoid decorating with lighting fittings. Choosing light fixtures based on how they look, as opposed to performance, can result in poor output and a waste of energy.
  • Light up your garden. Use solar lights to brighten up your outside space and highlight any features such as ponds or pathways. Solar lighting is inexpensive to buy and costs nothing to run.

To get more inspiration on interior design ideas, lighting systems, and home improvements in general, check out our massive list of 200 renovation tips  that will help make your home… your dream home.