WORDS: ANNE SCHAUFFER IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK

Somewhat of a design maverick, Grant Webster of Fahrenheit Design has been in the interior and decor industry as long as he cares to remember. One of his favourite things is talking about his most important rules around interior design, many of them breakaways from conventional thinking. He offered up nine…

Rule #1

The most important rule is this: know what you’re trying to do. Creating a space that has style or chic, comes with a real effort to distil the essence of this style, and then to repeatedly reinforce this idea in every decision, every colour selection, every furniture choice, and so on. Style with a single idea in mind!

Rule #2

Don’t do anything you don’t like doing. It may sound so obvious, but it still holds true. Don’t use a style or theme you don’t personally enjoy. Not being able to embrace that concept will lead to a lack of confidence that is visible to others, and won’t fulfil you or encourage your efforts. Creativity must play a role and a lack of conviction will crush the result.

Rule #3

Paint a small space with light colours? No, it’s a lie. Nothing you do in a small space will fool anyone into believing it’s not a small space. Using mirrors on only one of the larger walls will help, as will the use of indirect light because it eliminates shadows. But a small space will remain a small space. Rather celebrate the uniqueness of that small space and be bold when considering what to do with it.

Rule #4

A high ceiling makes a space feel bigger. Really? No, it doesn’t. Would you feel comfortable standing at the bottom of a lift shaft? Not likely, even though this is an extreme example. It’s all about balance. Any space taller than it is wide won’t ever be considered calming. Rather use horizontal breaks such as dado rails, and levels of cornicing to divide the space into sections that are manageable by a mind that’s seeking balance.

Rule #5

The largest piece of furniture goes on to the largest wall. This is a simple decor rule, and it holds true if you’re not trying to create an unbalanced environment. Simple, easy, true.

Rule #6

The wall with the window is the wall that will always appear darkest in a room. This may seem the obvious place to make the feature wall, but it’s not. Because of this, one of the side walls is the best place to embellish with wallpaper, a bar, panelling or mirror.

Rule #7

Always use the most matt paint on your ceiling. Unless you want to see every bump, blemish and defect, stay with matt – I use Dulux Trade Dura 65, as the ceiling paint specification of choice. Light or dark paint selection doesn’t matter. In fact, a darker shade of paint helps present a view in its best form, a note to remember when painting large veranda ceilings.

Rule #8

Reflective surfaces create excitement, dull surfaces create calm. Not always as obvious as it seems, but this trick allows you to create areas of interest and attention, when you use reflective items and surfaces in a space that’s largely matt or dull. This allows for the use of glass, and metallic items in a collection arrangement, to become a feature in a dull, matt, cocooning space. Surprisingly, this works just as well in a monochrome palette, in fact, even more in a room with many different colours.

Rule #9

Never follow the rules. Greatness comes from individuality, a break from tradition and a healthy disregard for convention. Enough said…