5 Top Tips from an Interior Stylist
Ok, so here’s the deal. You have big dreams that your home will look like all the beautiful shots that have taken over your Instagram feed. You’ve been out and bought some beautiful accessories and copied a few DIY ideas from Youtube, but it’s falling flat. You’re stumped. You don’t know how to give your home that WOW factor and you’re beginning to think, like many of my clients do, that you’re “rubbish at finishing touches”. Sound familiar?
Well, I see the same mistakes being made again and again, and I find myself repeatedly sharing the same advice. So I thought, why don’t I condense all of this information into 5 ‘top tips’ so that you guys can avoid hiring in professional help and save yourself a bit of cash? Sound good?
Read on for 5 easy ways to start looking at your home in a new way and tie up a few of those finishing touches...
1. Create Levels
I recently worked on a client’s fabulous open plan kitchen/diner/living room area at a lovely new build in Suffolk. The space was large and the ceilings high, but when I walked in, I was struck by how bare it felt and it lacked a little ‘sumin sumin’. I immediately realised what it needed; LEVELS. The sofa, side tables, dining table, kitchen worktops and island all sat at roughly the same height, meaning there was a bare ‘gap’ in between the top of the furniture and the ceiling line, which felt a little flat. And there are only so many pictures you can hang to fill this empty space, right? So we worked on levels. Lovely tall floorlamps, statement pendant lamps coming down from the ceiling, long curtains from ceiling to floor to add drama, and tall plants. The result? The client messaged me last week saying the whole space is coming together beautifully and can I come back to do her lounge? Job done.
(Top tip: Tall, vertical furniture and accessories draw the eye upwards, giving the illusion of taller ceilings. Result.)
2. Add plants
Plants just make life better. Am I right? They not only brighten a space, but the input of green and natural, raw materials is proven to aid a calming atmosphere in your home. They are also a quick, easy way to make a room feel more ‘styled’. And if you’re not particularly green fingered like me, (yes, I’m looking at you Spider Plant, dying a death in the corner of my living room) then try succulents or faux plants. They have the same effect, but without the upkeep, hoorah!
3. Add shelves to blank walls
The “blank wall panic”. Another popular phenomenon. “I have a blank wall in my bedroom. What on earth shall I put there?” It’s true. A blank wall is a missed opportunity in a designer’s world. So I agree. Let’s put something there that shows off your style and says something about YOU. A piece of art? Well, yes. But artwork is often expensive (although I do have a YouTube video coming up to show you how you can create your own ‘artwork’ without any artistic skill, and very few pennies!) and it can take a lot of searching to find something that feels right for you. A clock? Sure, but a clock in every room is overkill and we’re gonna need a GINORMOUS one to fill this gap! So how about shelves? Ah-ha! Shelves serve many purposes; they are a fantastic way to express your personality, they add levels (3 tips in one - think, a hanging plant cascading down from the bottom shelf!), they allow for extra storage, they are original (nobody else’s shelves will look the same as yours) AND they can be switched up whenever you fancy a change. Plus, if you really need another clock, you can just pop one onto the shelf. No hanging needed, and you can move it around as you please. Perfect.
(Top tip: Be choosy about what you put on your shelves. Think carefully about the accessories and the items you display. A cluttered shelf is no fun for anyone to look at. Make sure there is a cohesive colour scheme and don’t miss the opportunity to show off your personality.)
4. DO NOT DRESS ALL OF YOUR WINDOWS THE SAME
This is a real bug bear of mine. I often arrive at a home where the design of each room hasn’t been decided, but the windows in every room are dressed, AND OFTEN WITH THE SAME BLINDS/CURTAINS IN ALL OF THE ROOMS. Some of the interiors enthusiasts amongst you are screaming ‘NO!’ at your screens, but trust me, it’s a popular mistake.
The way you dress your windows is a huge part of the overall design. I would go so far as to say that it can make or break the design. So, your window dressings need to be carefully considered when designing the overall look for the room. Maybe people do it for practical reasons? Perhaps it’s a priority for people not to have the sun streaming in at 6am (not really a viable excuse in the UK though, guys). Maybe people need immediate privacy? Or perhaps it’s cheaper just to bulk buy? Whatever the reason may be, I am telling you, it is very restrictive and a little lack-lustre. It’s also a designer’s worst nightmare. Try creating a stylish Boho vibe whilst working around yellow and green polkadot blinds....”ya feel me?”
5. Be brave with colour
This is a classic. A client sends me a fabulous Pinterest board full of vibrant yellows, sensual pinks and deep, dark, navy walls and then I arrive at their house and whole thing is painted in 50 shades of grey. And they’re wondering why they don’t love it as much as their Pinterest finds? Be brave my fellow interior lovers! Paint is a wonderful thing, because if you don’t like it, you can change it. Experiment. Play around. You never know what you may discover. Colours also bring different energies and emote certain feelings to your home as I discovered at a recent Colour Psychology workshop from the lovely ladies at Topology Interiors. (Look out for my upcoming blog post which tells you all about colour and how certain colours will affect your mood!)
I realise this is the pot calling the kettle black by the way. My Instagram is covered in white. But WHITE IS A COLOUR guys! And I like accessorising using pink and....erm, blue...so yeah.
Well, there you have it! 5 top tips from me to you. Hopefully this will have given you a few things to think about when adding the finishing ‘Je ne sais quoi’ to your home. It’ll save you feeling exasperated and begging an interior designer for their help.
In the meantime, I’ll be over here penniless, with no need for my services,
waiting for my phone to ring.