The new comprehensive bible of interior design, from a home styling guru who has coached an entire Scandinavian generation in the art of creating a harmonious home.
Frida Ramstedt believes in thinking about how we decorate, rather than focusing on what we decorate with. We know more today than ever before about design trends, furniture, and knickknacks, and now Frida familiarizes readers with the basic principles behind interior and styling—what looks good and, most of all, why it looks good.
The Interior Design Handbook teaches you general rules of thumb—like what the golden ratio and the golden spiral are, the proper size for a coffee table in relation to your sofa, the optimal height to hang lighting fixtures, and the best ways to use a mood board—complete with helpful illustrations. Use The Interior Design Handbook to achieve a balanced, beautiful home no matter where you live or what your style is.
“[A] useful and easy approach to interior design.” —Independent
“A first-rate way to ensure decorating success.” —Publishers Weekly
Frida Ramstedt is the founder of Trendenser, one of Sweden’s largest and most long-standing blogs on interior design.
From the Introduction:
A Home to Feel Good In
I have spent a lot of time searching for the book you have in your hands. And I couldn’t find it. I’ve read hundreds of books on interior styling, searched libraries, bought old books from thrift shops, and ordered foreign titles online, but most of them have consisted largely of pictures of interiors and spectacular homes. They offered very little concrete advice for ordinary houses and apartments.
What I have been looking for is a book that clarifies the fundamental principles and skills of interior design, a book that explains the rules of thumb and tricks that are useful to all of us, irrespective of the kind of furniture or style we favor. Something that shows us how small adjustments can make a major impact on the overall impression, without our having to buy a host of new items or ripping things out and renovating.
Professional designers and architects, of course, have their practical manuals that contain guidelines and ergonomic measures as to how a house should be constructed, but I’ve never found anything aimed at individuals. What was needed is a book we can hold in our hands as we set about turning houses into homes, a book that will help us come up with our own solutions instead of simply encouraging us to follow other people’s.
When we moved from an old apartment to an estate of newly built town houses a couple of years ago, I was faced with all the challenges of design and decor that can arise in an absolutely standard house in which everything may be practical but is also uniform and quite lacking in charm. I no longer had ten feet from floor to ceiling and the excuse of turn-of-the-century features to fall back on. I hit a brick wall and failed to achieve the warm and cozy feeling I wanted. In spite of the fact that I work full-time with design and decor and have done interiors for well-known businesses, designing my own reality was harder and a good deal more frustrating than I expected. It was a problem, but it also made me start thinking and looking at design in a new way, both professionally and personally. What was it, actually, that went into making a design cozy, harmonious, and properly thought through?
I jotted down my thoughts and considerations in a notebook and thus built up a basic outline of the handbook of interior design and styling that I had been unable to find. A handbook for ordinary people, not for experts in the field or for my professional colleagues. I did, however, start asking them questions in order to discover the way they went about thinking when faced with different situations. I attempted to decode the “gut feeling” that designers and interior stylists often refer to, and I tried to convert it into practical and useful advice.
There are not, in fact, a great many scientific facts or any absolutely right or wrong ways of going about these things—they are, after all, matters of taste and preference—but there is a good deal of expertise available, as well as accepted practice, that we can follow. But it does depend on us being aware of it. And then we can, of course, seek help when we get stuck.
My aim has been to try to gather together and write down all these tips and tricks in one place and to translate what professionals call intuition into something more concrete that both you and I can use to feel more confident about the decisions we are making. My hope is that you will look at the process of interior design and styling with new eyes after reading my book, and that by applying some of the ideas to your own spaces, you will be better able to see what is needed in order to make your home a place in which you will thrive.