How to Improve the Look of a Work Area While Thinking About Safety

woman at a computerWhen a team of tradesmen are hired to carry out work on on a commercial building, it’s important to not only think about the design and desired result, but about the health and safety of the employees who will later work in the building too. Whether it’s the look of a car garage, a car park, an office block or a factory that needs improving, there are a number of considerations that need to be factored in…


Fire safety

Fire is a health and safety hazard for every business, which means that fire proofing is essential in a work space. Firstly, you should think about the soft furnishings in your work space: carpets, curtains, fabric blinds and fabric chairs can be highly flammable, so why not try using fire retardant fabric sprays on these materials? Also, fire doors should be fitted in the premises or standard doors should at least be coated with a layer of fire resistant paint.


Smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and fire alarms must be installed to ensure that the work space complies with the government’s health and safety regulations too, and if a sprinkler system is being installed, it will need planning into the refurbishment at the appropriate point.


Finally, a re-designed work space might look the part, but if it doesn’t contain an adequate number of emergency exit points at suitable positions, the design won’t be good enough. Make sure that exit routes are plentiful and properly signposted.


Commercial buildings (particularly those that were built before the year 2000), are likely to contain asbestos in some form. Asbestos is a highly dangerous material for people to work around, and is especially dangerous for tradesmen or contractors who come into contact with: the fibres from asbestos can settle in lungs, causing asbestosis and mesothelioma.


Tradesmen should take care when drilling, removing, cutting or sanding structures in a work space: the materials used for fire protection, insulation or textured coatings often contain asbestos. Contractors should only carry out work involving exposure to asbestos if they’re trained, licensed and insured to handle it.



The surface of a work space is a very important consideration too. While a work area can be cleaned using chemically appropriate materials to reduce the risk of slips, it might be better to just repair or replace the floor altogether. Use an anti-slip coating on surfaces to help to minimize the risk of trips and falls, or add a layer of coloured anti-slip paint to brighten up a work area while adding decoration, durability and protection.


Noise and ventilation

In work areas that become excessively noisy (for instance, where cartridge operated tools or heavy machinery is used) it might be necessary to install barriers or protective screens around equipment or areas where noisy processes are carried out. Also, adequate ventilation is essential for work areas such as car garages, factories or warehouses, or anywhere else chemicals and fumes pose a health hazard.


There are many more safety considerations to think about when improving the look of a work area (such as not trailing cables across walkways, ensuring there’s adequate lighting to provide an even lighting level across work areas, and accounting for changes in surface levels using tread markers or other markings), so be sure to work closely with site managers and designers when carrying out refurbishments.

Eclectic Living

Eclectic Interior 1By Anouska Lancaster,

To me ‘Eclectic’ is all about freeing yourself from the traditional concept of design and being brave enough to buy the things you want simply because you love them. It’s about breaking the rules and surrounding yourself with things that make you happy and showcase your personal style.

The beauty of eclectic living is that things don’t need to match or be neutral. It’s an open invitation to use colour, be bonkers and have fun with bizarre and crazy objects because that is what makes your space different from everyone else’s; and that’s what makes the World an interesting place.

Getting the correct balance in your eclectic interior is absolute key. It may often look as though items have been radically thrown together in varying proportions by chance, but believe it or not, there is a mathematical formula when it comes to creating a harmonious eclectic interior that is pleasing to the eye. The last thing you want is for your interior to look as though it’s displaying the remnants of a junk yard. To avoid this faux pas, follow my top tips on how to create the perfect eclectic interior that will not only ooze sophistication; but will also showcase your personal style.

  1. Watch the scale. Getting the scale and proportions correct is especially important in eclectic rooms. Scale matters both in how the pieces relate to one another as well as to the room.
  2. Play up contrasts. Choose objects that are extremely different in feel, time period, texture and style. For example, team a contemporary glass coffee table with a vintage leather armchair.
  3. Find a common thread to make the items gel. This is most easily done with colour.
  4. Make sure nothing matches. Split up any matching furniture and divide these items between rooms.
  5. The best eclectic interior is one that represents you. It’s a space to showcase your travels, your loves, your stories and your aspirations.
  6. Experiment and take risks. Remember, there are no rules so have fun adding and removing items until you feel the room is pleasing to the eye.
  7. Add quirky and odd elements of surprise to create ‘wow factor’ and talking points. This may be a surf board if you love surfing, or hanging polo sticks on the wall if you play polo.
  8. Source your items from different places over a period of time. This will avoid the ‘catalogue look’ and will enable your interior to tell your story as it grows with you.
  9. Vary the scale. Oversized objects, particularly when teamed with smaller objects, will add drama and interest to a space. Mix up the scale so that you have varying layers of height and depth.
  10. Last but certainly not least – add some bling. I always believe in adding a little bit of sparkle or metallic to boost the ‘wow factor’ and add an element of surprise.

How do you explain INTERIOR DESIGN to a 6 year old boy?

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“How do you explain Interior Design to a 6 year old boy?”

That is the question.

I’ve posted the same question and a link to this (evolving) article on LinkedIn. You can take the question literally if you wish. As a reward I will link back to you from this page for any noteworthy (good or bad!) answers that I might paraphrase for the sake of brevity. The more ‘sensibly’ creative your answer the more likely I will include you and your answer. Go create. describes interior design as “Interior design isn’t just about home decoration. It is concerned with creating functional and beautiful to look at interior spaces in all sorts of places including houses, public buildings and commercial properties such as shops, restaurants, leisure venues and offices. Interior design can also be applied to temporary environments, whether that’s pop-up shops that are in existence for just a few months at a time, or show homes and exhibition stands that may simply last days. Anything that has an interior can be designed, redesigned or refurbished.”

Whereas Wikipedia suggests: “… a group of various yet related projects that involve turning an interior space into an ‘effective setting for the range of human activities’ that are to take place there”

Rebecca at RHA Interiors: “[if all else]…fails I always go for the football analogy,  ‘why choose red over blue?’”

Terry Maurer makes interesting comments noting that kids are increasingly influencers in the interior design purchasing and commissioning process in families.

Mark Randall at 1901 Design would ask the boy to learn what interior design means by “doing”  And the boy would be asked to create his perfect den. Sharon Kaper suggests a similar “show-and-tell” approach.

Mike Major suggests it should be no different to explaining it to a potential client.

Interior Designers & Pinterest

Many Interior Designers have Pinterest accounts and quite a few of us use them. Here are my thoughts on whether or not interior designers should use Pinterest and HOW they should best use Pinterest.

Here, for example is Paula Ovalle Vicuña’s beautiful pinboard of colors. Now, this and similar boards are great sources of imagery for colours for interior designers and of course there are other pins showing styles and colour themes and so on. If you had a board like this you could show your clients on your iPAD as part of your presentations.

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Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

BUT think carefully about how you are going to use this as a tool to win more business. How are your potential clients going to be driven to you and/or your web site. Why is your potential client going to be looking on pinterest for work by interior designers. They MIGHT be using it as a means of selecting designers but IMHO I doubt that many potential customers will be doing that – some, for sure, but not many.

Now, your competitors may be using it to get some inspiration. So you’ve done a bit of work to help your competitors. That’s all well and good as others will reciprocate and you will benefit from that potentially. But that hasn’t got you any more sales has it?

If you are going to use pinterest for collecting and presenting images then it may be great as a productivity tool.

You have the option with pinterest of creating secret/hidden boards – that may be a good way forwards for those of you conscious NOT to help out your competitors!

So you have to answer this question: “Do my clients hang out on Pinterest so making them more likely to find out about my interior design skills from my Pinterest account?”.

IF you can answer that question positively then read on…

Effective Pinterest Marketing

1. Fill-in the Form! Setup You Account Properly – Gets the Basics Sorted Out

Your name (first and last), username, logo, About, Location and Website information should all be properly included. PLEASE if you can make sure that, for example, you use the same name as you do across all media – printed and electronic. It’s good for your ‘branding’. Verify your website and put your blog address in your ‘About’ section.

2. Be a digital stalker! Follow People – You build a following, which looks good to potential new followers, if you follow people. They often reciprocate. It’s a bit like Twitter in that respect. Perhaps look for people or boards with certain of your keywords on them and then follow those people.

3. In the Digital World, Content is King! Get content. Regularly seek out and add new relevant content. To be truly amazing you will, of course, add your own original content. Content may be the king but creativity rules the Empire of Design.


Create a board and use it (link to it) on facebook or twitter to invite your other followers to discuss it.

When you blog you always add at least one great image right? Well make a collection of those great images on pinterest. That way you save a little time by using one piece of content twice.

Focus on the right content. Think always about your target customer. Only post what they are going to be interested in.

Put a url in your comments on pins to link back to the original content (your blog), Ibelieve I am right in saying that this URL is made clickable by pinterest.

Interior Design Buzz Words – Trends and Which Bug You?

English: Selection of Danish Modern chairs at ...
English: Selection of Danish Modern chairs at the Danish Design Center, Copenhagen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Modern vs Contemporary: Contemporary is usually something that is modern or recent looking yet which takes something ‘good’ from the past such as, for example, GOOD traditional materials. Modern may sometimes (and probably incorrectly) infer a degree of futuristic design.

Vintage vs Retro vs Reproduction: Something vintage is from its original period. Retro is something that has been recently made in the style of an older piece or period. Reproduction is a copy of an item some time after its original period has finished. A fake is a reproduction that is specifically designed to be passed off as an original.

Selective indulgence: You probably haven’t got the budget to have a fully indulgent design. So instead you choose to be indulgent on certain concept or focus pieces that make a statement.

Organic – This can mean ‘eco’ in modern parlance. But you should also be aware that others use it to mean natural in a very broad sense – for example to how your entire scheme works together and fits to the space.

Energy: This is more about emotions and feelings than the vividness of colours or eye-catchingness of objects.

Re-purpose – this means more than just to re-use something. Yes you re-use it but you re-use it for a different purpose.

Diversified Portfolio: You have more than just taupe in the photos of your past work 😉 Your portfolio will show different types of projects, say, a classic villa and a contemporary restaurant

Collaborative spaces – allow spaces for group work but also allow such spaces to be able to be used and re-used for different functions or groups.

What do you think?or what is your bug bear?

Who is the best interior designer in Europe?

English: Interior Designer, Tanya GyaniWho is the best interior designer in the world? blimey that’s a question and a half.

I’m writing this post in wordpress and I use this thing called Zemanta which suggests images and articles to do with the subject, with suggestions changing as I compose the article. So the first designer that appears will get put in the picture on the right and that will be the person you are looking at now!

I’ll probably not know the person that is suggested (we’ll see it still hasn’t appeared yet!)

Ooops there she is: Tanya Gyani.Congratulations Tanya.

Now of course there probably really is no ‘best interior designer in the world’ that we can all agree on. But the point of my post was to go one of two ways. I was either going to come from the angle of saying that YOU should be the best interior designer in terms of how you market yourself to your target niches OR that whoever comes up and gets put in my picture is the best interior designer in the sense that they are the best at getting their image shown against a generic search for “the best interior designer in the world”.

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Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

Maybe Tanya will now go on to global fame? Who knows? If she does I certainly hope she will start specifying some of our fabrics on her projects as she hasn’t done so yet! (as far as I know).

No; really YOU should be positioning yourself as the best interior designer at what you do. But rather than saying you are “the best at XYZ” it is probably more appealing and more humble for you to phrase it as “I am the only Interior Designer In XXX who does YYY”. Use that sort of angle A LOT in your client communications (written or verbal) and you give your potential clients A REASON TO CHOOSE YOU and a REASON FOR YOU TO JUSTIFY YOUR PRICING. Make sure it’s true of course. For uniqueness is priceless (well almost!!)

Remember of course that it should not all be about price. Your client wants a great job most of all. Cost might be a factor but so also is the risk of who the client chooses. Find a way of exuding confidence and competence to lower that perceived risk.

Good luck you and good luck Tanya (there she even gets a link to her website).

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Luxury Yacht Interior Design

Interesting take. A lot of artists are targeting the interior designers for yachts at present. Try some of the linked groups.

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Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

Interior Designer: Target Markets & Marketing Strategy

Customers are Ignoring You
Customers are Ignoring You (Photo credit: ronploof)

Whether you are a new Interior Designer or an accomplished Interior Designer of repute and long standing there is always a need to know who your target customers are. In fact, if you don’t really know your target customers then, unless you are lucky, you will not stay in business long.

Times change. Remember what was a great target market in the boom times might not be if things get tough, you should look at your target markets annually.

There are broadly two types of customer; residential, and commercial. The former would be characterised by an individual or household decision making unit whereas the latter would be characterised as an organisation, potentially an organisation can be very difficult to deal with as it can be more complex with decision makers, buyers, specifiers, influencers and many people involved in the decision making processes.

A potential, residential customer could be a friend, relation, someone down the road, a referral. Essentially someone who wants to ‘do’ their living space.

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Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

A potential commercial customer could be a hotel chain, your local restaurant, the office where someone you know works; often it will be a ‘workplace’ of some sorts but it could also include a large property developer/builder building an apartment block or a private aircraft or yacht manufacturer/designer.

What is NOT a target market. Green design is NOT a target market. Kitchen design is NOT a target market. You must always phrase the target market in terms of the customer. So the preceding examples become: People who are environmentally conscious in their interiors purchasing decisions; and People who are replacing their kitchen.
Remember. There are a LOT of people in this world. There are a LOT of workplaces in this world. So you will probably need several criteria to precisely specify your target market.
And here is where it gets tricky.
You can use criteria like:  Age; Location; Gender; Income level; Education level; Marital or family status;  Occupation; and Ethnic background. But then, really, how meaningful is that for your marketing? If one of your criteria is “educational level” then, for example, ‘graduate’ may well describe all of your previous customers BUT how useful is that criteria in seeking out new customers? Will you really vet everyone that comes to you to see if they have a degree? Will you assume that all graduates are intelligent (very many are not, trust me!)? Will you assume that all graduates are wealthier? In  your marketing how exactly can you target graduates? If you use alumni magazines for advertising then I admit that would be a great route to graduates but really alumni magazines!? With the advent of Facebook advertising you CAN specify that adverts are only shown to graduates…so assuming that the Facebook user is telling the truth about themselves then OK I accept that would be reasonable. Think it through, whatever you decide.
So what you are trying to achieve with your target markets is a level of manageable clarity. Clarity in the sense that it becomes clear who your customers are going to (hopefully) be. You can see how your marketing efforts will be focussed towards them. Manageable in the sense that there are enough that you can ‘easily’ target them with the money, time and manpower you have available for marketing.
Do not fall into the trap of saying that your target market is “People who buy my type of service”. That won’t really help you! despite it being obviously true.
Once you properly know your target markets (which might require some research) you will be able to work out how big they are. You will be able to see how easily you can get your message to them. You will be able to assess if they can afford your services. Much of your marketing will ‘fall into place’ relatively straightforwardly once you have figured out what you are selling and who you are selling it to.
Remember that there are LOTS of people out there trying to get the same business that you are. So you have to be smart. The obvious market may well be obvious to 100 other interior designers and your basic design service the same as the one offered by those 100 other designers. Often it is good to aim for a less crowded market with a relatively unique offering that is suited precisely to that market. Easier “said”, than “done”, of course.
Here are some suggestions:
Commercial Interiors
  • Hospitality & Leisure
  • Marine
  • Medical
  • Aerospace
Residential Interiors
  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Education level
  • Marital or family status
  • Occupation
  • Ethnic background
  • Eco-buyers
  • Buy to let
  • New builders
  • Renovators
  • Landlords
  • Tech savvy
  • Time poor family
  • Friends
  • Networks/ past client networks

If the target user of your service is someone you might not directly contact and you have to go through someone else (usually an organisation). then that organisation becomes your channel to market.

Examples here include;

If you have any additions to suggest please add them via a comment below. I will put them into this list.

There are links below to more related and detailed stuff. Here are some of the posts I previously wrote or you can find them all in one go by <clicking here>
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Tatami and Raffia Wallcoverings and Fabrics For Interior Designers

Tatami Wallcovering And Upholstery Fabric TextileRaffia and Tatami are often terms that are used synonymously these days by some interior designers.

Tatami are woven Japanese floor mats. Originally they were made from (rice-) straw but now they are made from a variety of materials with better properties for fire resistance, warmth and general comfort. Typically Tatami mats are made to be twice as long as they are wide and they are usually about 2m long.

Raffia (often Raphia in the USA) refers to fibres made from a tropical tree. Specifically raffia is made from the leaves of a specific palm tree called “Raphia ruffia”, which is usually found in Madagascar and more generally in Africa. A different variety in South America is “Raffia taedigera”.

Raffia that is more suited to top market interior design projects will probably often be made from other materials – one of the particular note would be made from high quality cellulose pulp.

So, often when clients ask for Tatami or Raffia they are really often asking for a straightforward, grass-like, woven fabric similar to that shown in the main image accompanying this article.

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Click To Read More Interior Design Articles

Such raffia and tatami fabrics are usually available by the meter and have additional properties making them more superior to traditional variants. For example having high martindale test scores making them suitable for upholstery and coming pre-treated for fire retardancy.

Click <here> to request samples.

Tatami and Raffia by the meter may also be quite flexible allowing it to be fastened around wooden frames and then used as a textured finish for walls and ceiling.

With Wyzenbeek rubs of 40,000 KOTHEA’s 2011 Raffia (Raphia) are also eminently suitable for a wide range of upholstery uses.

Raffias can usually be fire treated to meet a wide range of contract requirements including hotels and marine installations.

This type of raffia weave has been used for thousands of years perhaps most famously as Japanese Tatami mats. They are of course one of today’s modern day design staples for a clean, modern look.


Interior Design isn’t what it used to be…… (via interiordesigntoday)

Eesh, apparently it now takes creativity to be an interior designer. When will it ever end?

The Interior Design perception has altered over the last several years, in addition to the changing roles for the designers. In the olden days, interiors were deemed to comprise of ceiling fans and lights bulbs with scarce furnishings polish the room off, however there is much more to fret about nowadays, than simply modifying the bulbs. Currently its takes more than having a couple of concepts, to be considered an interior designer, it now takes … Read More

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