While we shouldn't pressure ourselves to live up to the impossible standards of magazines, it doesn't hurt to learn a few tricks that designers use to make our own homes feel a little more curated. I’ll be sharing my top 4 tips that I've learnt over the years as a professional interior designer for beautiful homes around the world.
1. Engage the senses
Designers love to engage all of the senses so that their interiors become fully immersive. Scent is such a powerful tool and can create the perfect atmosphere and set the tone in your home on a daily basis. Aromas have a powerful and immediate impact. You notice it. And it can transform how you see a room as well as how you feel. It might just be the finishing touch to making your house feel more like home. Scent has the potential to enhance memory and uplift our mood. It is fascinating how smelling a certain scent can bring you back to a particular moment in time, conjure up a childhood memory or remind you of a particular place or person.
Touch and textures are vital in interiors. You want to mix it up, combining and layering textures to create depth in your home. You don’t need to have lots of colours and patterns for a room to be interesting; neutrals can be interesting too, as long as there is variety in texture.
Mix smooth with rough, shiny with matte; keep the eye moving with variety. You can use woven and natural elements like woods and baskets, glass, ceramics, marble, metals, stone, the options are endless.
Designers love to use marble; it has a reputation for being one of the most expensive materials to use in interiors - it’s cool and smooth to the touch, and is timeless in its elegance. An inexpensive and easy way to add a little marble to your home is to use accessories such as chopping boards, coasters or bowls.
Marble discs are often used by designers as they offer a simple yet impactful silhouette. The monochrome colour palette of grey and white hues and the natural marble grain create a calming aesthetic. They are also a beautiful, sleek backdrop for other accessories such as books, vases or boxes. See the images below of how some of the leading London interior designers use marble discs in their projects.
Images: Sophie Paterson Interiors, Lauren Caisley Interiors, Jo Milton Interiors.
2. Form Vs. function
A home obviously needs to be practical for everyday living, however accessories and experimenting with form are what makes the designing of your home interesting and unique. Designers love to include sculptural pieces and art as they bring pleasure and impact as well as help pull a design theme or ideas together. They don’t need to have a function other than to be admired or for you to make a mark. A home without accessories will feel incomplete, much like a little black dress may feel incomplete without jewellery. Accessorising is far more than just icing on the cake - it can take your home, and you, to a whole new level of statement, satisfaction and self-realisation. For example, shelving isn't just functional, it can also showcase a collection of curated accessories and books that are thoughtfully styled and make a statement about you and your interests.
Statement sculptural vases are a great styling accessory. They are a simple and effective way to add texture, colour, and shape to a space and can be easily added into an existing décor scheme. They are diverse and can be moved and rotated throughout your home, from shelving, to tabletop, to mantelpiece to bedside tables.
Vases no longer have to have a function and hold flowers in order to earn their place in your home; they can, and indeed should, draw attention standing alone. However, a simple bunch of supermarket flowers can look luxurious when they’re complemented by the perfect vase. They are a solid investment much like decorative art.
3. Add Personality
Designers want their interiors to be designed and curated but also to feel homely and reflect their owners' personalities. You want to add meaningful nods to your interests and your own personality in the same way. This may be through coffee table books, accessories, art, photos, a family heirloom or an upcycled piece of furniture.
Perhaps you have a favourite holiday destination or you are keen travellers. It’s nice to add subtle accessories that reference different cultures. Perhaps it’s something you found on your travels, or maybe it’s a gift that someone special gave to you.
Books are great way to add character and personality to your space. They’re great conversation starters, giving visitors and dinner guests some insight into your hobbies and interests. If you ever feel like something is missing when accessorising your home; books are usually the answer. Check out our blog post on 'Using Books as Accessories'.
See the images below of how some of the leading London interior designers use books and unique objects to add personality in their projects.
Images: Sophie Paterson Interiors, Lauren Caisley Interiors, Laura Hammett, CM Design Studio.
4. One-of-a-kind pieces
Designers love to blend the old with the new and use the occasional vintage or antique piece, as it is often seen as a luxury to have something rare or unusual. It’s exciting to give an antique new life or to present it in a new and interesting way. As humans we have an innate need for a connection to the past, to believe in a story, and create a sense of history in our homes.
We also have an strong connection to nature and most natural materials are completely unique, creating a timeless feel that outlives the fast-paced trends of today. I have shown below some of our favourite one-of-a-kind pieces from our collection. Our ‘Vintage Blake Rustic Bowl’ is a great example of a statement centrepiece, as each bowl adds character and charm to any interior with its rustic, reclaimed quality. Similarly our 'Petrified Wood Sculptures' are made from the fossilised remains of an ancient tree so each slice has completely unique graining and cracking with contrasting light and dark tones. Our Ayla alabaster bowl and tealight holders are also a natural material and have a delicate translucent effect so that when the light shines through them they show off their individual markings and veining.