TIPS FROM AN EXPERIENCED INTERIOR DESIGNER (Article from "Beyond The Bridge", April 2014)


Q: How can we make sure that we use space in the best possible way?

A: My job as an Interior Designer is to access the spatial requirements and to design a floor plan based around their individual needs. This would include recommendations to remove or add structural walls, doors and windows (i.e. architectural recommendations) as well as furniture layout recommendations.


Q: How do we know what light fittings suit a room?

A: My selection would be based on both form and function. I work with the architectural details of a property. Some properties are contemporary, some are traditional and some are Art Deco. I select fittings to work with these styles. I also like to recommend a traditional crystal chandelier in a very modern home to create a feature impact by contrasting the different styles.

Recessed low voltage or LED down lights can be used in general areas to provide excellent lighting coverage. Feature pendant lights can also be great to add some decorative pazzazz.


Q: What are popular colour trends that people are using in their homes at the moment?

A: Neutral colour schemes are always timeless. Today the trend is to be daring and to go dark on the exterior. Strong feature walls in the interior of the property also work well. 


Q: How can we add texture to a room?

A: Creative use of texture can add a whole new dimension to a room. Velvet, suede, perspex and steel can be combined, juxtaposed or used individually to create a stunning effect. Simple yet dramatic combinations of materials such as an unexpected leather trim on a linen cushion or a stone floor beneath a metal table can add texture. Texture is not limited to soft furnishings but includes furniture, paint, wall and floor coverings too. I always design with texture in mind. I like to combine elements that you would not expect. Velvet becomes more luxurious when placed next to metal, clear glass appears more brilliant when placed next to opaque.


Q: Why do you recommend using an interior designer as opposed to purchasing products ourselves? Do you have access to wholesalers?

A: Getting professional advice will ensure that you purchase the right product for the desired environment. Mistakes can be costly and walking into a supplier’s showroom can be confusing and daunting when confronted with such a vast and varied selection of products. The Designers trained eye and many years of experience can simplify this process narrowing it down to appropriate selections of the products available. Interior designers have access to wholesale as well as retail suppliers which broadens the selection opportunities available to the client.


Q: Can you give our readers some tips on what to look for when deciding on an interior designer?

A: Recommendations are always good to go with. Reviewing a portfolio of previous work will give you a good idea of the designer’s expertise. Establishing a personal rapport with the designer is of utmost importance when working on an ongoing project.


Q: Do interior designers cost a fortune?

A: They provide value for money, often resulting in an enormous increase in the value of the property.

An interior designer works on developing the design process, makes all the selections, places and monitors the orders and liaises with builders and subcontractors. The project management of your project can be an enormously stressful process. By employing an interior designer to manage this process for you, can make the entire project a more enjoyable experience.


Q: Do you offer services to people that are battling to sell their homes? What tips can you give these people?

A: Yes, I do offer this service. I give advice on how to create the most impact on the property to result in a sale. I often help a client to de-clutter which is always beneficial as they are often attached to their possessions and need an objective view in order to dispose of certain items. I offer advice on simple inexpensive changes too. A coat of paint, re-carpeting, new door handles and light fittings can make a big difference.


Q: For those building or renovating a home, what tips can you offer with regards to using an interior designer before hand?

A: An Interior Designer covers a full range of disciplines and can offer high level advice on a holistic basis. This holistic view will develop a common thread connecting all aspects of the house together.



Karen Tabak is an Interior Designer with more than 25 years experience in both South Africa and Australia

She has a design consultancy offering clients expertise in unique corporate and residential interiors. She offers a dedicated professional service responding to the specific needs of her clients. Delivering the highest level of quality and creativity within given cost and time constraints are the focus of her business.

Karen’s in-depth experience and knowledge includes:

  • Residential and commercial design
  • Space planning and furniture layouts
  • Customized furniture design
  • Colour consultation
  • Soft furnishings and window treatments
  • Art and accessories

Ring Karen on 0412 498 606 and let her enrich the quality of your modern workplace or residence.