Nexus Designs Creative Director, Sonia Simpfendorfer explains how clarity of thought and planning can eliminate the complexities of home renovations. In this article, she shares her top 10 tips for creating great interiors.

The Brief

Write down your objectives for the makeover, be it for a sofa or a complete renovation. This will keep you focussed and the job simple, especially when faced with limitless options.

The Perfect Plan

Good space planning and superior functionality can be the difference between a house that just looks great and one that looks great and is immensely liveable. Factor in storage, sunlight and spatial flow elements right at the beginning.

Move It

Before embarking on an expensive renovation project, rearrange your furniture - many problem rooms are actually just badly placed furniture. Don’t allow power points to dictate the layout - they are often inexpensive to move, so just ignore them.

Floor First

Begin with the floor as it is the foundation of the finishes’ scheme and must be decided before selecting any other design element in the room.

Keep It Simple

Simplicity is key to achieving a balanced design. Minimise the number of finishes to maximise flow and create a sense of greater space, light and serenity. Repetition can be very calming and unifying, particularly when the individual elements are of excellent quality.

Lighten Up

Multiple sources of light meet aesthetic and functional objectives. Light bounced off the ceiling with wall washers, lamps and directional downlights will balance out the hot spots created by pendants or fixed downlights.


Beat monotony and create interest in the room by pairing old and new, handmade and high-tech, matte and glossy, neutral and colourful.


Go with a colour that appeals to your sensibilities and not because it’s fashionable. Colour can go beyond mere painting to so many possibilities. Get experimental.

Take a Seat

Comfort, practicality, authenticity and scale are some of the essential considerations when you buy an item of furniture. Buy for keeps; select furniture made with care and quality, and made to last - so if your budget doesn’t allow for a designer armchair, buy a designer lamp instead and a well made local chair.

The Icing on the Cake

Accessorise with objects that you can actually use or that come from real life because they can bring your interests and personality to a living space.