Ok, I’m not a designer and in fact interiors stuff going beyond an Ikea spree and a few bits from H&M home is all pretty new to me. But when I was recently on the LivingEtc House Tours with ao.com I learn a few new tips/tricks/ideas that I think make for some new interior rules that I think are good to bear in mind when planning out a new room make-over…
– Don’t be scared of colour
From the dark navy painted living room (really cosy) to the airy kitchen than mixed white, pastels and neon – colour is not the enemy. Going for colour can really make or break the look of a place and I need to break out of my neutrals rut as I always tend to go safe with maybe all neutral plus one colour when actually two or more can look amazing. In fact one of my new favourite colour combinations is a navy with a sort of lime/chartreuse green or pale blue with hot pink… all can totally work when done right. I need to tell myself not to be scare and just go for it with colour.
– Mix and match
This is probably my favourite trend I spotted and one I’m trying to persuade Ollie that we need to take on board. He tends to stick with classic styles and that’s totally fine as it’s his taste but I like the idea of mixing and matching a bit more…particularly with dining table chairs. Rather than having all the same uniform I want to mix it up a bit and use either different styles or colours or heights…whatever it is I want to avoid it looking too generic and add a bit of interest.
– You don’t always have to stick to safe
I’ve previously always gone safe with all things house, sticking to non offensive colours, safe styles and classic furniture. But with this new house I want to be bit more brave and choose the things I love even if they’re not the most safe or classic style. Sure, it might date or it might not be my taste in a few years but it sure will have a ton of personality. That’s the thing I loved most about all the houses on the LivingEtc ao.com tour – every single house was bursting at the seams with personality – and that’s something I want to capture. Personality over cookie-cutter catalogue!
– Classic styles with modern colour works
Another thing I noticed in a few of the houses was that there might be a classic item or furniture, but with a modern fabric to give it an update. Or even just a classic sofa style with modern design cushions for the same sort of twist on a cheaper budget. My favourite of these being a metallic fabric update for a classic Chesterfield sofa. Modern update, classic style.
– It’s only paint
Again with paint as with other areas I’ve always stuck to the safe (bar one foray into a dark purple accent wall or the time I painted some of my teenage bedroom Cadbury’s purple… a purple theme here). I want to get a little braver with paint colours. Even if only in smaller spaces to start with – of all the elements of a room to change it’s probably not the trickiest so I need to stop being so tentative with the pains… neon kitchen, here I come (ok, maybe not… but bring on some brighter colours).
– Clutter isn’t all bad
Over the years I’ve become a bit OCD on the clutter front. Not always ideal when my job involved a lot of stuff… and I’ve always made it my mission to hide as much stuff as possible. Well, having seen houses with trinkets and bits and bobs galore (including one which had a serious thing for Diptyque in almost every room) I need to be open to welcoming clutter. Being ok with the house actually being properly lived in and not a show home… as Ollie always tells me! Just recognising the areas where ‘stuff’ can build and working around it is a start!
– It doesn’t have to be perfect
Along the lines of the point above, the houses we looked at really varied from polished and brand new looking to more lived in, worn and homely. When I say worn, I of course mean in a stylish and cool way – like leather sofas with dents and cracks in a way that just invites you to sit down and curl up. Or paint work with that ‘shabby-chic’ finish. I’m probably more prone to trying to make things perfect than allowing those worn touches to show – but having seen them in such stylish settings I totally get how perfectly they make a house a home and not a show-home.