Nicola Holden Designs – Contemporary Interior Designer, London.

As an interior designer, often when I first visit my client’s house, I find spaces completely devoid of personality.  Rooms full of furniture, but nothing that grounds the space to create a relaxing, cosy environment.  Things just feel a bit off key, lacking those final finishing touches.

Whether you’re a minimalist, a maximalist, or somewhere in between like me, our homes should be our personal sanctuaries – spaces that restore our equilibrium in this world and remind us of our journey through life.  They should be a reflection of your success and individual lifestyle, and represent your style and passions. So how do you ensure that your home tells your story?  Here are my top tips:

  1. Don’t Rush It

Think of your home as a giant cabinet of curiosities.  Allow your collection to evolve organically, so don’t rush out and just buy everything in one go.  Take your time to shop from different stores.  Pick up mementos from your travels.  Leave space to buy that item you’re going to fall in love with next month, or next year.

  1. Bring in Some Vintage

Balance newer items with some vintage pieces to ensure the space feels full of character but also fresh.  Vintage accessories and furniture seem to add a historic presence to a space that new objects cannot, giving your home warmth and complexity.  Vintage pieces also have the added advantage of being very sustainable, from an environmental perspective, and can be updated and painting if necessary. 

  1. Add Colour

Add some of your favourite colours to your rooms.  Don’t be scared to experiment – if you paint something and you don’t like the colour, you can always paint over it.  Or start small, with some colourful accessories.  However, be sure to keep everything within the same colour tonal family, otherwise the colours will jar, and the space won’t feel restful.  And think carefully about what colours you put in what room, depending on how you room to feel.

  1. Mix it up with Pattern

Pattern is a great way to add colours to a scheme, as it can be much more subtle than plain blocks of colour.  Try to mix in small scale, medium scale and large scale prints for the best effect.  If having a patterned sofa is too much for you, then have a plain sofa with patterned cushions, and a smaller patterned chair. 

  1. Layer in Texture

Layering in textures is an easy way to add a feel of luxury to your home.  Think a soft rug on a hard floor, glossy metallic accessories mixed with matt, a velvet sofa with silky cushions.  Adding in different textures to a space creates visual and tactile diversity.

  1. Create Interest at Different Levels

Think about how your eye will travel around your space.  You want it to move up and down and it moves around your room – from that beautiful rug on the floor, to the collection of cushions on your sofa, to the art above, to the statement decorative pendant, back down to that cute little chair in the corner, and so on. 

  1. Add your own Personal Touches

This is the final piece to the puzzle.  It’s time to add your art and family photographs, display your collections, and showcase your books and ornaments.  Group pieces in odd numbers and mix up materials and heights.  Display things symmetrically for a balanced feel, or play with scale and position to add an element of play and surprise.

Most importantly, remember that you are creating a home for you and your family to live in, not just a neutral space to resell at some point in the future.  Keep your choices personal to you, and use the language of design to tell your story!

“Serious is a word that must be entirely avoided when it comes to decoration.”
Kathryn Ireland

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