It seems that the fashion for having the perfect home is losing momentum, even dare I say is becoming a little sneered upon. Having everything decorated, co-ordinated and placed just so feels pretentious, static and boring. Which is fabulous news for me as I’ve always had an allergic reaction in such spaces and have had to make up all sorts of reasons to leave ASAP (plane to catch, suddenly feeling not so well, Maud needs her bedtime story you know the sort of thing). In my 15 years in the business I’ve found the most memorable homes are those that feel lived in, a little imperfect and rough around the edges and that don’t take themselves to seriously. If you walk into a room and don’t feel relaxed, happy, tantalised, excited, and amused then what may I ask is the point?
Anyways my magic formula below to up the style ratings but in a laid back, inviting, incidental kind of way.
Tip One – Add animals (the real things or otherwise, think ornaments, the stuffed kind or even our ceramic lights as seen below of course). Animals lighten the mood, plonk a sculpture of an elephant on a mantle piece as I have done and immediately you’ve broken up the seriousness of the display.
Tip Two – Add something whimsical that makes you smile. Art is a fab example of this. I’ve painted on a rusty old sign the wife is always right or as in the NY Times not so long ago one guy painted on his mirror:
Tip Three – Add mirrors I am obsessed with the convex kind, particularly if they are oversized and sitting above a mantle. They reflect the light, expand the space, sparkle and add instant drama as seen in my pad below:
Tip Four and Tip Five – Add texture and pattern. The herbs and spices of the decorating world, these guys transform a room from being ordinary to extraordinary.
Mix smooth with rough, shiny with dull. This could be a big pile of logs in a basket by the fireplace, a slubby throw over a leather armchair, a rug skimming a concrete floor, some kelims running up the treads of your stairs and so on. This is my pad again above – pattern rugs skim a skinny concrete floor, a double height wall is covered in a beautifully subtle patterned paper, slubby chairs hang out by an old textural drum which I use as a coffee table. A metallic supersized light looks fab in the corner and then on an old piece of wood I’ve plonked a murano mouth blown table light – none of it matches and yet it all makes sense, at least I think so!
Tip Six – Add an odd chair to mess up the balance. I’ve got an old wing back hanging out by the fireplace covered in vintage bus roll. Its individual it creates a talking point and it completely messes up the room. Could be anything a small tub in a zany colour, an old wooden thing something that completely and utterly throws everything totally off balance.
Tip Seven – Ditch the brown furniture – why or why do so many interiors stores carry lines and lines of co-ordinate brown dining tables, matching chairs, occasional tables and so on. They are depressing on mass and they drain and suck life out of a room. The odd thing in isolation is OK (just) but to keep things interesting you will need to mix up the materials, so add lacquer, fabric, metal so infact nothing repeat nothing matches or co-ordiantes.
That’s me done apologises for rambling I could actually drone all day but thought I should quit before you’ve all nodded off if you haven’t already.