Not so long ago we featured pictures of Katharine Howard’s beautiful London home, making me want to redecorate straight away. Then, just this weekend I visited a friend’s new house, coming away with – you guessed it – an urgent desire to repaint/recarpet/redesign EVERYTHING. While this urge will hopefully pass (my bank balance requires it), it got me thinking about decorating. When we moved into our house, we didn’t really think. We just sort of moved in, did a bit and then lived with it. I don’t think I cared so much about design then. Most of my life was spent out, so home was really just somewhere to sleep. These days, home is pretty much where I spend all my time and therefore what it looks like is way more important than it was all those years ago. Perhaps you’re about to move into a new house or maybe you’ve also hit the stage when redecorating is a burning desire? If so, then I hope this is of interest. Katharine (who worked at World of Interiors for 13 years before setting up her own sourcing, styling and design company Katharine Howard Style) has passed on her 5 top trade secret tips for decorating. From ideas on paint to design inspiration, these are the things you really need to think about…
1) Do plenty of research into the kind of interior you want to achieve.
Whatever look you are hoping to create there are so many resources for inspiration at your fingertips. Use Pinterest, interior blogs (such as Design Sponge and Apartment Therapy), Houzz App and Interior mags to inspire you!
2) When choosing paint colours do bear in mind that colours can vary enormously in different lights
Invest in sample pots, testing them out in different areas of a space to see how they change depending on the light throughout the day. Colour really sets a tone for an interior. My all time favourite paint brand is Farrow & Ball, they use more pigment than any other company, so the paint has a quality to it that can’t be achieved by other brands. The colour is deep and fabulous and the estate emulsion has a wonderful chalky matte appearance which is so subtle and elegant. All of their colours are divine but my favourites are Blackened, Cornforth White, Skimming Stone, Railings and Borrowed Light.
3) Try to avoid making everything too symmetrical and matchy matchy.
It can look too contrived and absent of charm or character. Ideally you want to create a balance of some symmetry to form sense of a space, but always include something off-centre to balance out perfection. Imperfection is so much more appealing, intriguing and natural.
4 ) I am a huge fan of using pattern and bold design to bring sparkle and wow factor to a space.
I love using one big statement piece, such as a geometric rug, beautifully upholstered chair in vibrant fabric or maybe a striking piece of furniture with outrageous proportions in an otherwise subtle and restrained space to create a chic interior.
However, if you’re sticking with one palette throughout a room introducing multiple patterns can look striking and fabulous. My favourite colours are blue and white for a timeless, classic and ever stylish interior. Using just blue and white in our sitting room has allowed me to use many contrasting patterns which create an elegant but eclectic style without becoming a mish mash of tastes.
Of course there are exceptions to the rule – for the brave! Kit Kemp, the acclaimed interior designer behind the Firmdale Hotels group, is recognised for her clashing palette and confidence, mixing patterns and proportions in a bold fashion. For her, it is hugely successful and her signature style, but beware – she is usually working in big spaces with high ceilings and lots of light to complement her remarkable schemes & stunning interiors.
5) Always maximise space and natural light wherever possible.
Don’t feel you need to fill every corner or squeeze things into tight gaps. Let a space breathe and it will naturally create a clam, elegant and inviting interior.
IMAGES: Hollyhocks and Tulips; Design Mom