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NDA shares their favourite Statement Lighting inspirations to ensure your homes sparkles all year round
Sparkle All Year: Statement Lighting

With the new year looming, changing up your interior is a great way to go into 2016 feeling fresh and new. Lighting makes a statement, and by picking something that will last longer than the festive season it is a great way to transform your interior and start 2016 in style. We share our favourite statement lighting ideas for 2016.

January is the time for New Year’s resolutions, a time to throw out the old and embrace the new. So rather then searching for those fairy lights each year, consider changing your lighting and keep some Christmas cheer throughout the rest of the year. By adding a statement chandelier or lighting installation within your home this December, it will instantly add an extra touch of glamour to your interior and will transform an ordinary space into a statement space that lasts a lot longer than

Statement Lighting Inspiration from Sharon Marston

Sharon Marston, a lighting designer from a theatrical background draws on her fascination of fabric and light. Marston creates stunning bespoke pieces that would dress any interior with grandeur throughout the year and add extra sparkle for Christmas. As mentioned in her website ‘her work has fluidity, drama and sculptural quality which clearly sets it apart’. Introducing the Pleat light made of woven polymer and end emitting polymer fibre optics, this stunning design would take centre stage above any dining table.

Sparkle All Year: Pleat Light by Sharon Marston at Radlett House, Private residence:

Statement Lighting Inspiration from Tom Dixon

For a bolder statement, Tom Dixon Studio has a few bright, glistening options. A collection of the ‘mirror ball gold’, ‘copper bronze’, ‘lens pendant’, ‘melt gold’ and ‘silver shades’ creates a festive ornamental impression in season and a clear mixed metal trend infusion, arranged to be gazed on as a brilliant spectacle throughout the year.

Sparkle All Year: Tom Dixon Studio, New York, Soho:

Statement Lighting Inspiration from John Lewis

Whilst the 3 LED Droplet ceiling pendant light in chrome gives a great impression of how a statement can still be made with a subtle gesture on a less grander scale. A John Lewis creation, this design offers sophistication with a touch of winter wonderland. Perfect all year round. Be inspired to keep a bit of Christmas alive all year round, with their subtle, snow globe-like appearance.

Sparkle All Year: John Lewis Droplet Pendant:

We hope we have given you some inspiration for the rest of the Christmas holidays and for lighting up your homes with a statement piece in the new year. Wishing you a happy & bright 2016!

A touch of Christmas, the NDA share their top festive accessories and tips on how to decorate this Christmas
A Touch of Christmas

Decorating for Christmas doesn’t have to mean changing your whole interior. In our last Countdown to Christmas blog post series we shared our favourite Christmas inspired interior looks, but this time we want to share out top tips and favourite picks to show you how a few key accessories can add that festive feel to your interior. 

A Touch of Christmas:

Dressing up a Dining Table

With just a few key accessories you can transform a dining table into a festive focal point. Working with what you have, choose to add either cool toned accessories in white or silver for a unified look or add gold toned accessories to add warmth to an otherwise neutral colour palette.

A touch of Christmas: A few key accessories can transform a dining table. Image via: dining-christmas-style

Adding draped decorations on chair backs and grand candelabras, decorative plates, stands and serving platters (spray-painted to suit your colour scheme and decorated in greenery) to your table will add a sense of glamour to your design, whilst adding a patterned table cover instead of a plain one, buying crisp-white seat pads and wrapping round sheer fabrics, a festive centrepiece or candles to add a decadent, Christmas feel to a table setting.

A touch of Christmas: A few key accessories can transform a dining table. Image via: Found on

Transform your Accessories

Another great idea we have seen is to transform your existing décor with Christmas touches. With some parcel string or ribbon tie up books or stacked objects to transform them in to present-like prop piles and place throughout your interior on side tables or in entryways to add a festive touch to otherwise plain areas. A great idea is to re-purpose books second-hand books, spray-painting them in gold or white for added effect. Use alongside tasteful Christmas decorations, wild flower displays and scented tealight candles to create small areas of interest to your interior and to add just a touch of Christmas without going overboard.

A touch of Christmas: A few well placed accessories can transform your usual decor. Image via: christmas-time

Adding Areas of Interest

Using earthy, natural elements & touches of greenery and adding LED lights or festive candles can also create a warm, cosy feel to a plain space. Adding a touch of Christmas to otherwise undecorated areas adds interest and impact to bare tables, entrances and stairways.

A touch of Christmas: A few well placed accessories can transform your usual decor. Image via:

Simple, natural, accessories used in a minimalistic way can really add interest if you want a low key Christmas feel without spending a lot, add baubles, ribbons or twine with natural elements for a statement, festive look or wrap fairy lights around shelving, staircases or decorative mirrors.

A touch of Christmas: Well placed accessories can transform your usual décor. Image via:

Festive Lighting

Another idea we love is winding fairylights into glass dome or up-cycle jam jars to create a creative display inside without spending a lot. It adds a beautiful, Christmassy touch to stairs, or add to a hanging display or table centrepiece for a festive feel.

A touch of Christmas: Well placed accessories and lighting can transform your usual décor. Image via:

We hope this have given you some festive inspiration to add a touch of Christmas to your interior this year. Join us next time as we continue our Countdown to Christmas!

Christmas Interior Inspirations
Christmas Interior Inspiration

With Christmas fast approaching, we thought we’d share our favourite, festive-inspired interior inspirations as part of our Christmas Countdown. From traditional red, gold and green colour schemes to wintery, white-filled, neutral palettes – we pick our favourite interior items to makeover your interiors for the festive season.

Winter Whites Christmas Interior Inspiration

Christmas Interior inspiration: Winter Whites inspiration image found on

A neutral palette offset with natural elements, greenery and added texture can create a unified, cosy look without changing your existing interior scheme too much. Add whites, silver & creams throughout adding a cream statement rug, a selection of mixed fabrics and faux fur cushions for texture in a neutral palette.

Whilst a large, statement chandelier and natural, earthy elements such as wicker baskets filled with blankets or firewood, simple candle & holly displays and greenery would complete this simple, festive look.

Traditional Christmas Interior Inspiration

Christmas Interior inspiration: Traditional Christmas inspiration found on

Another of our favourite festive looks is adding the traditional mix of reds, greens and checks teamed with thick, cosy knits to add a Christmas feel to an interior. You don’t have to spend a lot to decorate for Christmas, by simply adding a few cushion covers, a chunky knit and an updated checked lamp shade or rug  in a mix of reds, greens and neutrals will instantly add a Christmas inspired feel to your home.

A Touch of Gold Christmas Interior Inspiration

Christmas interior inspiration: A touch of gold image found on

Adding gold accents throughout can add a luxe look to a simple Christmas scheme, teamed with grey or whites it adds serious glamour. Think about statement accessories such as mixing metallics, golds and textural cushions with shades of grey and silver in throws, rugs and décor.

We hope you enjoyed our first in our series of Christmas Interior Inspiration blog posts to get you in the festive mood. We’ll be sharing more of our favourite Christmas inspired picks throughout the rest of November and December in our countdown to Christmas, so join us again next time. 

Hallway Flooring Ideas

We share our favourite hallway flooring ideas to help you to transform your hallway space.

Hallways are spaces in our homes that are often neglected and usually the last room to be decorated. Yet they are the first thing we see as we walk through the door and the last thing we remember when we leave the house. How does the saying go ‘first impressions last.’ We share our top flooring picks to help transform your hallway space.

They can be seen as long dark corridors, lacking natural light, linking us to the more exciting rooms in our home. They are generally used as a dumping area for shoes, coats and bags, well not anymore! Christmas is only around the corner so now is the time to give our hallways a well-deserved treat by introducing an injection of colour and pattern, starting with the floor.

Flooring more often than not needs to be hard wearing and practical to accommodate heavy foot fall but this doesn’t mean it has to be boring. A warm oak wood flooring can be dressed with a colourful patterned rug, there are a great selection from online retailers at the moment. We found a great selection of floral medallion rugs here.

In the image below you can see how the inside of the front door has been painted in a matching colour to the beautiful Alhambra Floral Medallion Rug by Surya which draws the eye to the end of the hallway.


Whilst horizontal striped rugs work well in long narrow spaces as these tend to give the illusion of these being much wider. Choose a bright stripe to draw the eye and brighten up the space in an instant.

Hallway flooring ideas. HOUSE OF TURQUOISE (2014) striped rug. horizontal striped rugs work well in long narrow spaces giving the illusion of a much wider space.                                         1/2/3/4/5/6

Tiles used on the floor can create a beautiful decorative effect by introducing colours as well as patterns. In this image you can see how blue and green Moroccan tiles have created a real focal point in this hallway. The wall and staircase have been painted white drawing attention immediately to the floor.

Hallway flooring ideas. AUTOMATISM (2010) Moroccan tiles. Create a focal point in a hallway with blue and green Moroccan tiles                                                                              1/2/3/4/5/6/7

Or take a collection of mis-matched vintage tiles and create you own striking version of a Victorian Minton tiled floor instead, mixing in vintage tiles for an authentic look.

Hallway flooring ideas; FABULOS (2012) vintage tiles. Create you own striking hallway with mis-matched vintage tiles to recreate a Victorian Minton tiled floor.                1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10

In the image below each of the stair risers have been covered with different patterned tiles which naturally draws your eye towards the top of the stairs. The warm honey coloured tones of the wood flooring can be picked out in these tiles. Best tile do a beautiful range of Moroccan cement tiles, or try Ebay for a great range of vintage Moroccan style tiles.

Hallway flooring ideas. HOUZ(N/D) tiled Spanish stair risers cover the stairs, use different patterned tiles to draw the eye towards the top of the stairs. The warm honey coloured tones of the wood flooring can be picked out in these tiles.                                               1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12

Or if tiling isn’t an option, we found a great range of patchwork, tile effect rugs that could be used in a hallway or at the bottom of the stairs to recreate the look instantly.

Moroccan mosaic tiling style rug. Hallway Flooring ideas to transform your interior.                                         1/2/3/4/5/6

Instead of tiling stairways, a more economical method which will achieve a similar effect is to use a combination of different Moroccan stencils but use the same colour, or save off cuts of wallpaper and mix colours and patterns to create an eye catching staircase like the yellow one below.

Buying whole rolls of wallpaper may be expensive, but most retailers offer generous free samples or charge a small fee to post out several samples.

Hallway flooring ideas. THE STYLE FILES (2011) Create a stenciled stair risers by using a combination of different stencils but use the same colour, or save off cuts of wallpaper and mix colours and patterns to create an eye catching staircase.                                         1/2/3/4/5/6/7

Or if tiling your stairs isn’t within your budget, create the same look with a statement, bright runner or large rug at the bottom of your stairs.

Hallway flooring ideas. If tiling your stairs isn't an option then use a statement rug instead.                                           1/2/3/4/5

This look is very versatile and can either be achieved on a budget with off cuts and wallpaper paste, or choose PVC backed re-usable wallpaper if you fancy investing in the look. Choose complimentary colours, patterns and prints in repeat to create a unified look.

Hallway flooring ideas. PHOTOBUCKET (N/D) wallpaper risers. Create a stenciled stair risers by using a combination of different stencils but use the same colour, or save off cuts of wallpaper and mix colours and patterns to create an eye catching staircase.                                                        1/2/3/4/5/6/7

Floors boards are also really versatile and look great stripped, stained or painted. In the image below you can see how the hall and landing have been painted white to reflect light and maximise height. Whilst the colourful stair runner adds a fun element to this traditional looking space.

Hallway flooring ideas LOVE CHIC LIVING (2013) A striped stair runner teamed with a muted, white painted hall and landing that reflects light and maximise height. Whilst the colourful runner adds a fun element to this traditional space.                                                   1/2/3/4/5/6/7

Or in the hallway below, an achromatic colour scheme has successfully been achieved in this hallway by staining the floor black. To achieved a balanced look, the hand rail has been stained the same colour and pictures in dark frames have been added to the wall drawing your eye towards the top of the stairs.

Hallway flooring ideas. HIGH STREET MARKET (2011) Monochromatic hallway. The achromatic colour scheme in this hallway has been successfully done by staining the floor black, and keeping the scheme balanced by painting the banister black to match and adding pictures in dark frames to draw the eye towards the top of the stairs.

We hope this has given you inspiration for your hallway. What’s your favourite hallway flooring look?


HOUSE OF TURQUOISE (2014) patterned rug [Online Image] Available from: [Accessed: 17.03.2015]

HOUSE OF TURQUOISE (2014) striped rug [Online Image] Available from: [Accessed: 17.03.15]

AUTOMATISM (2010) Moroccan tiles [Online Image] Available from:  [Accessed: 17.03.2015]

FABULOS (2012) vintage tiles [Online Image] Available from: [Accessed: 17.03.2015]

HOUZ(N/D) tiled risers [Online Image] Available from: [Accessed: 17.03.2015]

THE STYLE FILES (2011) stencil pattern [Online Image] Available from: [Accessed: 17.03.2015]

PHOTOBUCKET (N/D) wall paper risers [Online Image] Available from:

[Accessed: 17.03.2015]

LOVE CHIC LIVING (2013) striped stair runner [Online Image] Available from:  [Accessed: 17.03.2015]

HIGH STREET MARKET (2011) Monochromatic hallway [Online Image] Available from: [Accessed: 17.03.2015]


National Design Academy graduate Anita Brown shares her top 5 tips on how to render a realistic interior render. 3D Visualisation Edison Bulb
Top 5 Tips: How to Create a Realistic Interior Render

NDA Student Guest Blogger Series: We are always interested to hear what our students go on to do after they graduate. To launch our new guest blog series, we will be handing over to National Design Academy graduate, Anita Brown who will be sharing her Top 5 Tips when creating a realistic interior render.

We want to hear from all of you

Each guest blog will feature an NDA graduate or a current student, sharing their interior design related tips and advice on a guest topic or to discuss their experience studying interior design with the National Design Academy. Whether it’s finding out the best tips on rendering, understanding more about how our courses are delivered online, or you’d like to learn how our graduates went on to start their own interior design business, submit your questions.

This is a great opportunity for our current students or for all those interested in studying interior design to submit the questions or topics you want our guest blog series to include. You can either post your questions on our Facebook page wall or tweet your questions on Twitter using the hashtag #NDABLOGGER.

Introducing our first guest blogger: NDA graduate, Anita Brown.

Anita Brown is the founder and director of her business, Anita Brown 3D Visualisation. She is a Maxwell Render Certified Xpert Trainer whose photo-real interior renders have been showcased at Grand Designs Live. And have also been featured in a range of print publications including Image Interiors & Living Magazine and 3D World Mag.

Enrolling on our Interior Design Diploma, Anita initially wanted to pursue her interest and passion for Interior Design. But it was during her diploma that she discovered her keen interest in 3D modelling and photo-real rendering.

After completing her Diploma in Professional Interior Design, she immediately signed up for the BA (Hons) Interior Design Degree and balanced a full time job, studying and launched her 3D visualisation freelance career.

Fast forward a few years, and her expertise and knowledge of 3D visualisation is now highly recognised by industry experts such as Sketchup and Maxwell Render. Anita’s vintage Edison bulb photo-real 3D visual  has been used as a cover image across Maxwell Render’s social media channels, and earlier this year she was awarded their sought after accolade of ‘Maxwell Render Certified Xpert Trainer.’

In August this year, Anita has made her biggest career decision to date, to leave her office job of 17 years and launch her 3D visualisation business full time. Congratulations Anita, over to you!

Anita’s Top 5 Tips: How to Create a Realistic Interior Render

A huge thank you to the National Design Academy for giving me the opportunity to write my first guest blog! To briefly introduce myself, my name is Anita and I provide a 3D Visualisation service, where I create photo-real interiors primarily for the Interior Design and Event Design industries.

To help those who are interested in taking their rendering skills up a notch, I thought it would be useful to share my top 5 tips when trying to create a highly realistic interior render.

 1. Scale

I use SketchUp when constructing my 3D models and I continually use this little guy when building any interior. If you’re importing models from the 3D Warehouse (a sofa for example), it’s imperative that you use the tape measure tool to check its dimensions and edit its scale if necessary.

Guest Blogger Anita Brown's Top 5 Tips: How to Create a Realistic Interior Render. Example 1. SketchUp Tape Measure.

It’s glaringly obvious when a piece of furniture is out of proportion in a 3D render, whether it’s too small or too large and this will invariably make the final rendered image look unrealistic.

 2. Study Your Subject

If you’re constructing a specific light fitting or piece of furniture in your 3D model, undertake the necessary research of reference images and study the various textures of this item, including its reflections, refractions (if appropriate) and materials.

Guest Blogger Anita Brown's Top 5 Tips: How to Create a Realistic Interior Render. Example 2. Anita Brown 3D Visualisation Edison Bulb visual.

Including the finer details, no matter how small is one of the most important factors when aiming for a high standard of realism.

3. Lighting

Natural environment lighting and emitters (artificial lighting) contribute hugely to the realism of a photo-real image. All forms of lighting create shadows, pockets of illumination and can highlight reflections of glossy surfaces.

Guest Blogger Anita Brown's Top 5 Tips: How to Create a Realistic Interior Render. Example 3. Anita Brown 3D Visualisation Modern Bathroom.

But most importantly, lighting adds depth and can provide amazing atmospheric qualities to a photo-real render, thereby increasing the overall realism of the image.

4. Textures

One of the most important elements of creating a high degree of realism in a 3D render is the incorporation of good quality textures. High resolution, seamless textures are a must! Ensure the direction and scaling is accurate and avoid using textures that have obvious/frequent pattern repeats (for example wood grain).

Guest Blogger Anita Brown's Top 5 Tips: How to Create a Realistic Interior Render. Example 4. Anita Brown 3D Visualisation Victoria Beckham Office.

Take the time to search online for the right texture (there are loads of free online resources) and your final rendered image will thank you for it!

 5. Scene Set Up

When setting up your scene for the final photo-real render, consider the field of view (how wide the camera angle is.) If it’s too wide the interior scene may appear distorted, which will distract from the overall image.

Guest Blogger Anita Brown's Top 5 Tips: How to Create a Realistic Interior Render. Example 5. Anita Brown 3D Visualisation Industrial Inspired Interior.

Carefully consider the placement of the camera so that the final render will be as visually captivating as possible and don’t forget to crop the final image if necessary, to help draw attention.

I hope these tips have been useful, and you have enjoyed my guest blog for the National Design Academy. Don’t forget to check out my website, for more useful 3D Visualisation tips and design inspiration or ask any questions about 3D visualisation and rendering in the comments section below!

Join us next time as we continue our guest blogger series with past and present National Design Academy students. You can submit your questions and topics you want our guest blog series to include by posting your questions on our Facebook page wall or tweet your questions on Twitter using the hashtag #NDABLOGGER.