Daniel Hopwood | Architecture and Interior Design, London

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British Institute of Interior Design Member
Nine things that I have learnt from judging The Great Interior Design Challenge
01—2017

Nine things that I have learnt from judging The Great Interior Design Challenge

It is thrilling to see that the public are enjoying The Great Interior Design Challenge as much as I do making it. It is a series that frees the creative spirit. It has certainly made me more resourceful and less pure about design, instead having a more let’s give it a go and see if it works approach. After observing the work of many amateur designers over the four series, I have been able to distil down the elements that help make a winning design.
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Brief – it is important to have a brief before the design process begins, as guide to what is required.  A good designer however can see beyond the brief by being able to read a client, understanding their tastes and lifestyle. Look on the brief as the starting block from where a design develops but don’t run too far from whom your clients are.

Confidence – be sure of the proposal, have at least three reasons why each design decision has been made. The design then has foundations rather than just being a random selection of things. The consequence is less changes and fewer compromises, therefore keeping close to the original concept.

Layout – before anything else a designer needs to get the layout right. A room needs to flow, views celebrated and problems solved

Feeling – the first thing that should be evident when entering a completed room is its mood, everything comes second to that in a winning room.

Styling – I like to see that the styling has been considered, especially if the objects have been placed to induce the eye to travel around the room, just as an artist does with a painting.

Consistency – a good room has a narrative, each element,  telling part of the story and so forming the overall look.

Sophistication – Coco Chanel said of jewellery: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” It’s the same with interiors, overdoing a room shows a lack of confidence and is even a sign of panic.   It’s all about the edit, yes, less is more.

Surprise – good taste can be boring, rooms that have style are never so because they have an element of surprise. Something that breaks the rhythm of the room, disrupts the balance, be it a choice of colour, pattern or type of furniture. The skill is not to overdo it though, as the results can be too demanding and become tiresome.

Budget – should not be a barrier to creating a beautiful room in fact by preparing early on in the process there is more chance to manipulate the budget for the best effect.