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10 Design School Tips To Take Your Décor to the Next Level

by Sarah Cooper

Hey there, design enthusiasts! Buckle up because today, we're diving into the wonderful world of design school — specifically my alma mater, the renowned Inchbald School of Design in London, England. 

Let me tell you, those years were like a magical rollercoaster of creativity and discovery. So, grab a cuppa’ and let's embark on a journey through the 10 things I learned at The Inchbald that continue to shape my design philosophy today.

1. Design Is an Art of Storytelling 

The Inchbald taught me that every design project tells a story. Whether it's the narrative of a cozy living room or the drama of a grand foyer, each space whispers a tale to those who enter. The colors, textures and furniture are the characters, and your job is to craft a captivating narrative with them.

2. Forget the Box

Design isn't just about thinking outside the box. It's about thinking outside all the geometric shapes you've ever known. At The Inchbald, I learned to embrace the dodecahedron of creativity, pushing boundaries and exploring unique perspectives to create one-of-a-kind interiors.

3. Mood Boards are Your Magic Wand

Mood boards aren't just collages — they're magical portals to the universe of design possibilities. They help convey your vision to clients and collaborators, ensuring everyone's on the same page (or should I say, the same board).

4. The Golden Ratio Isn't Just for Mathematicians 

The Golden Ratio, that divine proportion found in art, nature and design, was a staple of my Inchbald education. It's the secret sauce that gives a room that harmonious and visually pleasing layout. Forget your calculator — it's all about aesthetics! 

5. There's No Such Thing as Too Many Swatches 

If you haven't covered your entire living room with fabric swatches at least once, have you even designed? At The Inchbald, I discovered that swatches are like tiny pieces of inspiration, and the more, the merrier.

6. Harmony in Diversity 

The Inchbald instilled in me the concept that successful interior design is like orchestrating a symphony of diverse elements. Just like a conductor blends different instruments to create beautiful music, a designer combines various materials, colors, and patterns to compose a harmonious and visually pleasing interior. The art lies in balancing contrasts, making each element play its unique role, and ensuring they all work together in perfect unison, just like the notes of a symphony.

7. History Is Your Design Playground 

History is more than just a boring subject in school. It's a treasure trove of design inspiration. Learning about different design eras in design school opened my eyes to the rich tapestry of styles that can be woven into a contemporary masterpiece.

8. The Power of Texture 

Texture isn't just something you feel — it's something you experience with all your senses. Whether it's the smoothness of marble or the warmth of a shaggy rug, texture adds depth and character to any space.

9. Constraints Are Your Creative Challenge 

Working with a constraint — be it a small space, budget, or architecture quirk — isn't a limitation. Instead, it's an opportunity to flex your creative muscles. Finding solutions without sacrificing style is a design game I learned to excel at.

10. The Most Important Lesson… 

Trust your instincts! Your view, your voice and your opinion is valued! There's no rule book for creativity, and sometimes the quirkiest ideas are the ones that shine the brightest.

My time at The Inchbald School of Design was a whirlwind of inspiration, creativity and endless learning. These ten lessons have not only shaped my career, but have also become the guiding stars in my design journey. So, whether you're a student, a budding designer or just someone looking to spruce up your living room, remember these lessons from The Inchbald and let your creativity soar to new heights. 

After all, in the world of design, there's always room for your story, your lessons learned, a touch of quirkiness and a dash of magic!