Top Tips to take your designs to the next level

We’ve all been fed a steady diet of interior design magazines, blogs, boards, feeds and shows for the best part of the last decade, which has meant that more and more homes are being treated with the utmost finesse.

There are a lot of things to be learned from watching how renovators do it on The Block: use colour boldly, create features, put up artwork, pay attention to soft furnishings. But if you really want to elevate your rooms into the realm of professional level design, you’ll need to know a few more things.

Add architectural interest

Architectural interest can come in many forms, from vaulted ceilings and bulkheads, to niches concealing drapery or changing the proportions or positions of room openings. It can also come in the form of creating a substantial central element, like a fireplace, so that you can orient your room around something other than a TV screen.

Don't limit your art addition

Art is something that most people save for living spaces, but it can be the thing that really makes a bedroom, or any room, sing. Go for a statement piece or incorporate it more subtly by blending your own personal photographs with actual paintings and prints, all framed in different sizes and types and hung in a gallery or French hang.

Highlight with a skylight

Skylights are often the design feature that can lift a bathroom from good to ‘oh my god’ and adding in a well-proportioned Velux can really change a bathroom’s luxury appeal.

A well placed and correctly sized skylight not only opens up the room to natural light and views, it also gives you the opportunity to create some further architectural interest in your home. Look at some of the amazing bathrooms on Pinterest or in magazines and you’ll often see large swathes of ceiling carved out with elegant geometry to create soaring voids that connect to blue skies.

Have kitchen courage

The thing that elevates a kitchen most is courage and the kitchen spaces that really impress at a designer level are those that are bold in both their vision and execution.

Using new materials, sticking to a considered palette and creating interest through contrast are the foundations of a great kitchen, as is a willingness to use the likes of door profiles, appliances and cabinetry handles to add a pop of brilliance.

Darren Palmer has a broad portfolio, having studied fine art & graphic design, originally working in advertising and owning his own graphic design company. After succumbing to his true passion, Darren now operates his own interior design studio and has been a judge on numerous seasons of The Block.