1. Plan the layout

Getting your new layout right is the key to a successful build, whether you’re extending for a larger kitchen-diner or tackling a whole house renovation. Take your time and invest in the best advice you can afford to explore all the options before getting the sledgehammers out! Consult with architects, designers and builders, as well as the local planning authority to discuss what you can do. Don’t forget to draw plans and experiment with placement of design elements.

2. Think in threes

Three is the magic number – keep stressful decision making to a minimum and create elegant interiors by keeping the same three materials throughout your new design. Not only will this look great, but it will make choosing all those finishing touches easier too.

3. Consider simplifying lighting options

Don’t overcomplicate your lighting scheme with too many downlights. It can interrupt the flow of a room’s sightline if there are too many dotted on the ceiling. A statement pendant light and some gorgeous table lamps works beautifully in a reception room or in bedrooms, creating both a stylish look and practical lighting.

4. Create a moodboard and keep it updated

Communicate your ideas with your designer, builder or architect (or even family members) with pictures and drawings of things you like. If you’re undertaking structural work, hold weekly site meetings once work is underway to ensure your vision is still being met.

5. Think carefully about every purchase

Once you know exactly the look you’re going for, take your time making important creative decisions and don’t rush into buying the first thing you see to match your vision. Consider your budget, how something will work in a space, and most importantly if you really need it. If you don’t love it, don’t buy it!

Gabrielle Blackman155(1)Gabrielle Blackman is an interior designer and presenter of BBC1’s DIY SOS and Channel 5’s Cowboy Builders. With more than 18 years professional experience, she has worked with designers such as Mary Fox Linton and Nina Campbell and is involved in many varied projects from designing luxury kitchens, TV sets, yachts and homes for private clients.

Find out more about Gabrielle’s work:

W: gabrielleblackman.com
T: @CushionCrisis
P: pinterest.com/gabbyblackman

Featured image: A sophisticated grey living room in a renovated Victorian townhouse