Katie Malik Interiors: Designing a multifunctional room for modern living

Inspiration and lifestyle

24 September 2018

We chat to Katie Malik of Katie Malik Interiors about her lifelong passion for interior design, setting up her own business, and her top tips on how you can design a multipurpose space to create distinct zones for work, rest and play.

Have you always been interested in design?

I inherited my passion for interior design from my father, so I’ve been interested in houses and layouts for as long as I can remember. Initially I had a career in linguistics but my passion for design remained at the forefront. Eventually I realised that the linguistics world wasn’t for me, so I decided to retrain as an interior designer in 2011.

I knew immediately that it was the right career path for me. I studied at the Chelsea College of Art and the National Design Academy – both of which I found hugely influential - before going on to work for the London-based interior design studios, Fenton Whelan and 1508 London.

However, because my dad ran his own bespoke cabinet and trading business, I always had my sights set on owning my own business one day. In 2014, I set up Katie Malik Interiors and ever since, I’ve pursued my goal of helping people create the interiors they love, regardless of budget.

What inspires your work?

Making good design as accessible as possible is the founding ethos of my business and one of the most rewarding aspects of my role.

I spend quite a lot of time in nature and attend a lot of training workshops and exhibitions. Collectively this has a huge influence of my creativity. As an interior designer, it’s vital that you keep your finger on the pulse and attending workshops is a great way to meet people, learn new approaches and cultivate ideas.

Tell us about your set at Grand Designs Live

I was so excited when I found out that the theme for Grand Designs Live was ‘design by you’ but when I came to the ideation stage I was a little overwhelmed. I’m so used to designing spaces to suit my clients’ needs, rather than a reflection of my own tastes, so it took a bit of adjusting.

Because I work from home, multifunctional living is crucial. As such, I decided to create a room that incorporates a living space, a home office and a hobby space while establishing a unique identity and defined purpose for each section.

I love art and music and I wanted the room to be partly energising but calming at the same time. I achieved this through designing a contemporary space that incorporates flourishes of my love of retro design and bold colour.

How did you go about create a unique feel for each section of the room?

I think it’s important that your home life doesn’t encroach on your work life as blurring these two worlds gives you no time to relax, which is never healthy. That’s why, when you’re designing a multi-purpose room, zoning is crucial.

In the front of the space there’s the living area, the office is behind it and the hobby area is situated at the back right. I decided to use a partition to separate the living and hobby area from the office area. The retro mirrored screen is important because, like the room, it has a multifunctional purpose: to disconnect the office from the living space and to help bounce light around the room to help the space feel bigger.

Although I love colours, I need a calm space to concentrate when I have deadlines and designs vying for my attention. As such, I made the office zone the most neutral zone of the space because I think a distraction-free working space can prevent you from sensory overload and increase your productivity levels.

What are your favourite aspects of the room?

The room is a strong reflection of my style, personality and how I create multifunctional spaces. When people ask me to define my style, I always say that, yes, I work with contemporary interiors, but I love injecting a bit of retro influences into my work. This design is the perfect amalgamation of that.

If you look closely at the shapes and the types of finishes I’ve used throughout the space, including, the brass, the wallpaper and the artwork I’ve utilised, these are all quite retro inspired – even the sofa and the armchair. The Grand Designs Live brief encouraged the use bold of colours so I took inspiration from the birds on the birdcage lamp and ceiling light.

What tips can you give our readers on creating a multifunctional room that incorporates a living and office space?

Designing a space that integrates well-defined living and office spaces can be quite tricky but is achievable. Here’s my easy to implement tips to make the most of your space while giving each zone its own distinctive feel and purpose:

  1. Use room dividers: A lot of people think room dividers can look cheap but if they work well with the scheme, they can be a lovely addition. Invest in a good quality room divider that can have multiple purposes - like the mirrored one I’ve featured in my design.
  2. Keep it neutral: When it comes to home offices, I think keeping the colour scheme neutral is the way to go when it comes to helping to keep your focus. If you choose to inject colour, do so through small touches such as books and stationery.
  3. Transparent furniture: For my office space I’ve opted for a transparent chair and a glass desk because it helps minimise the visual impact of the working space from encroaching on your living space.
  4. Add personal touches: Hang your favourite picture or framed motivational quote above your desk to help boost productivity levels. Make your office space as comfortable as possible by mixing materials and warming your seating area up with throws.
  5. Go for green: Incorporating rich, oxygen generating plants into a multifunctional room is a great way to maximise your productivity and relaxation time. Why not try implementing oxygen rich plants like aloe vera into your room design?
  6. Light it up: Clever use of lighting can help separate the space into different zones. For office spaces, I’d recommend bright spotlights to help you focus. You’re more likely to be chilling out in the living area, so softer lighting will help you relax.
  7. Keep it comfy: For the living areas, utilise soft textile furniture and fabrics to emphasise that lounging feeling.
  8. Use rugs for zoning: I used a large rug to clearly differentiate the living area from the rest of the space in my Grand Designs Live space. When it comes to multifunctional rooms, utilising rugs can help section off each specific zone – just make sure you use proportions effectively.

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