Mixing not matching

Morning thought I might talk about mixing not matching this morning. Matching is easy it’s why everybody is doing it;  mixing is far harder. WHY well because when nothing  matches  its quite a challenge to somehow get a room to feel like it makes perfect sense and that it feels balanced and harmonised when everything in the room is from a different era, or maybe a different material, texture or colour. I love mixing but then I cheat a little bit and mix in pairs. For instance I have two loungy chairs upholstered in the same hue in the TV nook. I have two ostrich tables with two poodles sitting atop each alcove in my studio and my dining chairs are pairs of odd chairs rather than everything being different. The reason for the occasional doubling up is I want all my rooms to feel balanced, harmonious and not crazy, so it’s a good tip. Also you don’t want to overdo it on the pairing up trick otherwise the room will feel boring so no matching furniture sets please or bedside tables and lamps as that is a design crime! You never know when one of my task force will be banging on your door issuing you a ticket for such an offence (gosh I wish I had a design task force, my idea of heaven)!

The other trick when mixing styles as I say probably a trillion times a day is to reign in the colour palette.  Do that and you can mix far more easily if you only have a few hues fighting for attention rather than every single piece because what it does is cancel it out big time. I stick to 3 maybe 4 dominant hues and it works for me.

Big thank you to the Times for putting my blog in the 50 top websites you cannot live without. Thank you guys, very flattered

An image below of the mismatched dining chair look, although some of the chairs are the same, for me at least it feels a little too unbalanced but hey its a personal thing.


And my dining area where some of the chairs are in pairs.

mypad 17

Happy Thursday

A few little tips

I spend alot of time looking at images, images of living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms you name it. Very few stand out- generally they all sort of merge into a haze of nothingness. However some do and one of those houses I return to again and again, either to illustrate a point I’m making in one of my masterclasses or purely for inspiration is the home belonging to Kate and Andy Spade. Its actually quite formally decorated for my taste, so its a little surprising that I am so drawn to it, but I guess its because it feels just so loved. So if you want to know how to create a pretty darn cool interior, a few pointers.

Don’t stop decorating too soon, most people actually do and it shows. Walls are bare, tables are empty, there might be one cushion on a sofa if we’re lucky, possibly a few lights NOT ENOUGH. The more you dress a room, the more intriguing a room becomes. Please don’t ask me about dust, yes you have to dust more but what would you rather a space that you truly long to return to at the end of the day or an empty box. Nor do I believe the line ‘my life is so cluttered and full my house needs to feel spacious and empty’. Rubbish, come on you’ve just not spent any time on softening it up simple as that, and who can feel comfortable, squishy and contented in an empty shell of a room?

Next tip – triple your lights if you think you have enough you don’t. As I write 8 lights in a relatively small room are softly glowing casting the most magical glow in the soft dawn light. Lighting is the second most transformative thing you can do to a space btw after colour that is!

Ditch lining accessories up in rows or leaving negative spaces between objects. Why because it reads as boring. Its the easiest most boring thing you can do to a room, it doesn’t push boundaries, its not intriguing or challenging and you can do it from the age of 2, 3 if you are a slow learner! Instead arrange things in three dimensional little groupings -  mass objects together that vary in height, look at the composition from the side the front the back if its not butting up to a wall. Yes its a little harder but we all know the harder you work at something right the more you get out of it!

I think that is enough to be getting on with for this morning at least. I leave you with an image or a small detail of the Spade’s home. It nails it for me, lived in and loved you don’t quite know where to look, your eye is drawn, tantalised and intrigued all at the same time. GOLD STAR


Decorating with Style

This time next week I will be in Sydney. That is of course once I’ve come to terms with the enormity of the flight and gotten myself on the plane, hate flying but that is my problem and not something I shall bore you with.

I’m the keynote speaker at Decoration and Design this year, which is hugely exciting if anyone wants to come along to the seminar all info is here. I’m launching my book, Decorating with Style at the very same time and book signing after each seminar (it gets published in Oz 6 weeks earlier than the rest of the world). I am so very proud of this book- from the amazing photography to the content it takes you on a kaleidoscopic visual journey with oodles and oodles of tips, tricks and insider knowledge. Forget rules, trends or forecasts this style of decorating is all about filling your pad with stuff you love.

I say this probably a thousand times a day but decorating can be a snooty old business and I’m on a mission to demystify and break down those barriers giving you the confidence to do as I do, create beautiful interiors, that you will never ever won’t to leave.  You don’t  need millions of dollars to create cool interiors but you will need to think a little differently after all this style of decorating isn’t about decorating by numbers, with everything from the same recognisable source. It’s about embracing individuality.  The only rule,  if you don’t 100 per cent love it don’t buy it!

Below a sneak peak of my sister’s pad featured heavily in the book. We have both changed our spaces big time since the first book, we’ve taken more risks, pushed more  boundaries and the result I think is way cooler. With more stuff in each and every room, more focal points and a confidence you only get with age and practice we’re pretty ready to take on the world I reckon!

Photography (beautiful amazing photography) by Graham Atkins Hughes


An experiment

A big thank you to all those who attended the Design School over the weekend, two lovely days of classes so thank you for being such a brilliant group we had such a fab weekend.

I thought I might yabber about one of those interior design rules that you learn in school, but that we ditch and fling out the window here. That is creating easy walkways, so by that I mean not having furniture in the way instead having wide-open spaces in which you can drive the hugest truck should you so wish down the middle of your living room!

This rule is one that probably gets my blood pressure soaring the most and I will tell you why. If a room has very little going on in the middle of it (i.e. no obstacles to manoeuvre around) then it will read to the eye as a very boring space. When you dare, say plonk a chair in the middle of the room or a table that’s when things start to get interesting. You might not be able to walk in a straight line from one end of the room to the other but that is the point.

Why not try the following experiment. Two sceneries,  first up in a room move things into the middle, so I’m talking the odd obstacle in the way. A chair with a side table and a lamp as an example. When you cross the room you have to weave your way around BUT watch what happens.  Subconsciously your senses are activated so it feels a far more exciting room to be in. Scenario number two, have nothing in the way, so I’m talking everything around the perimeter. Now notice any behavioural changes. Are you reaching for the whisky, popping pills, are you’re shoulders slumped you’re head hanging low? OF course the reason -decor deprivation.  There is nothing to make you linger, stay, hang out. You can read the room in a second, you can walk the room in a Nano second and that is my point!

Anthropologie purposely design their stores with things in the way. You can’t go into an Anthro store and see clear lines and paths in front of you like most other stores, no mam you have to chart you own course. You have to weave, you can’t walk in a straight line WHY because it activates the senses, it engages the senses, and you can’t take in everything all at once. The primary reason infact that the linger time in their stores alone averages 90 minutes which is pretty incredible.

elle decor

Happy Monday