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Three essential decorating tips

As thrilling as it often is, sometimes creating a fab interior can be a little hard to get your head around, but when you break it down, it’s as easy as 1,2,3!

It's great fun creating a new look, refreshing a colour palette and rearranging a room. But there are times when all of us – even the professionals – get stuck. You could be right at the beginning of designing a scheme or near the end and something feels not quite right, when decorator’s block strikes.

This is the time to go back to basics. Ask yourself, what is the hero piece of the room? Is there symmetry and balance? Have you achieved the right mix of items to showcase your style?

Whatever the problem, you’ll be able to style, design and arrange your way through it as here, stylist Emily Ward explains the 1, 2, 3 of decorating.

1. HERO PIECE

One strong element can both anchor and lift a room, like a dramatic wallpaper transforming an austere dining area.

Tolix “Y” trestle table with American Oak top and White steel base, Thonet. Coco Flip “Coco” pendant, Tongue + Groove. Chairs from Jardan and Thonet.
Tolix “Y” trestle table with American Oak top and White steel base, Thonet. Coco Flip “Coco” pendant, Tongue + Groove. Chairs from Jardan and Thonet.

In this case, it’s the Fornasetti II “Chiavi Segrete” wallpaper from Cole & Son. Streamlined pieces complement rather than compete with the wallpaper.

The blue Thonet chairs and Jardan “Seb” chair add depth to the colour of the wallpaper, while highlight pieces such as the Tom Dixon bowl and HK Living carafe unlock the hidden metallic key motif in the print.

The American oak of the Tolix table and Victorian ash of the Coco pendant ground the look with natural textures for day-to-day use.

2. SYMMETRY

Symmetry can look formal and staid, but by employing a single colour scheme the look instantly becomes modern.

When working with one colour, select pieces with different textures and finishes to keep your scheme fresh.

Try balancing heavy winter fabrics with lighter materials such as linen.

Two-door cabinet in Yellow with painted zinc top, Tarlo & Graham. Ligne Roset “Felt” dining chairs in Moutarde, Domo. Round 46cm barstool, Thonet. Faceture pendants in Yellow, The Minimalist.
Two-door cabinet in Yellow with painted zinc top, Tarlo & Graham. Ligne Roset “Felt” dining chairs in Moutarde, Domo. Round 46cm barstool, Thonet. Faceture pendants in Yellow, The Minimalist.

Here, the distressed finish of the cabinet against the faceted modern pendant lights offers a play on patina.

In addition, smooth milky finishes such as ceramic look striking against woven and handfinished textiles. The final play comes from the fusion of contemporary and handmade.

Slick modern design like the faceted pendant lights and Ligne Roset dining chairs mingle well with handfinished items that conjure the natural world.

  1. PERFECT MIX

Creating a harmonious 'eclectic mix' of objects isn’t a matter of combining objects ad hoc. Start with a plan that includes a common thread. In this room the linking theme is colour.

Scout iron double bed in Space Blue, Scout House. Cross base side table, Mark Tuckey. Tom Dixon “Eclectic” offcut stool in Fluoro, Safari Living. HK Living 5-shade multiple light, House Of Orange.
Scout iron double bed in Space Blue, Scout House. Cross base side table, Mark Tuckey. Tom Dixon “Eclectic” offcut stool in Fluoro, Safari Living. HK Living 5-shade multiple light, House Of Orange.

With a base hue such as blue, as seen in the wall paint, bedframe and bedlinen, introduce a primary highlight colour – here it’s neon orange in the Tom Dixon stool.

Next, layer with more tones that tie in with the initial base and highlight colours. The HK Living pendant light and Prudence Caroline artwork both feature variations of blue and orange, while adding pink and yellow. They bring a playful, but still grown-up, element to the bedroom. Plus, the artwork helps to anchor the room.

A subtle repeat pattern, like the geometric designs in the Swiden Design “Tivolivat” decoration, light shades and diamond cushion, will pull other disparate elements of a room together.

This article and all associated images werte originally published on Homes To Love.

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