JSI recently met with Interior Designer, Nikki Byrne to discuss interior design and how factoring it into your budget at an early stage can benefit the look and functionality of your home. 

  • What inspired you to become an interior designer?

I decided to pursue a career change about 8 years ago after being encouraged by a good friend of mine who is a textile designer. Knowing how unsatisfied I was with my former career and having faith in my natural ability with colour design was all it took to give it a go – I haven’t looked back since.

  • How long have you been involved in interior design?

My route into the design industry started with a few short courses while I was working full-time as a Customer Service and Logistics Manager. I then began studying more seriously at a higher level. I’m constantly looking out for new trends in the design world, so you could say I never stop studying.

  • Describe some of you favourite jobs to work on.

The role I have in any project is always challenging and different. With that in mind, I don’t really have favourite jobs or clients. Each client has different needs and expectations, likes and dislikes, space limitations, budgets, and so on, which makes my role varied and interesting – I love that aspect of the job.

The real motivator for me though, is delivering a functional and aesthetically pleasing environment that fulfils the clients brief. We are all unique and our living spaces should mirror that individuality and personality.

  • How do you like to work with clients and other people in the industry?

I’ve found the smoothest running projects happen when all those involved communicate openly, candidly and most importantly…frequently. Designers, builders, architects, engineers and clients all need to be focused on the desired outcome and interact seamlessly.

From my experience, if a decorator or designer is involved in a project at an early stage it is easier to detail the costs up-front and avert potential misunderstandings or budget blowouts during the build process.

  • How would you like to see interior design developing in the future?

I’d like to see the cost of engaging an interior decorator vary depending on the work – new build vs renovation vs cosmetic refurbishment vs extension.

My role in a project is to fulfill a range of requests. I’m involved in every part of the process, from drawing up layouts to choosing colour palettes and materials for, flooring, window frames, tiles and pavers – the list never ends. 
 I also work on detailing window treatments, selecting fabric for soft furnishings, specifying fixtures and fittings for bathrooms and kitchens, and so on. My work definitely keeps me busy. 

  • Are there any must have trends at the moment?

In design there are always new trends, but they’re often short lived and can date quickly. If a client wants to ensure that their space is going to work in the long term, then ‘trendy’ inclusions must be carefully considered, as these can become expensive mistakes down the track.

Trends at the moment include bright bold ‘pop’ colours, high chromatic reds, yellows, blues, greens and so on. 
 Greys, in all forms – dove through to charcoal - are currently a favourable neutral and common base for some of my recent client’s colour palettes. 
In kitchens and bathrooms, clients are requesting clean lines with handle-less doors and drawers. Glass or mirror splash-backs, stone bench-tops and large profile tiles are also popular and give the illusion of space.  

  • Where does your job start and finish?

As an interior decorator and designer, I like to be involved in all aspects of the design process, from the softer styling side which includes the furnishings and fabrics, lighting and paint colours through to what I would call the harder fixtures and fittings.  For example: within a kitchen brief, I design the layout, draw up the joinery, select the materials, finishes and colours and detail all the products (including tap-ware, sinks and appliances) to create a style and mood that reflects the clients I’m working for.