Last week, Anna left this comment on my post about statement lighting. I had spent that day doing a phone interview with a journalist about my interiors choices for the old house, (more on that soon!) and a lot of her questions got me thinking. When this question also came up it made me think there might be a blog post in that! So here’s Anna’s question…
Please can I ask you, where do you find your inspiration for interiors? We moved into our house last November. We so far have had a new kitchen and new windows and doors and whilst these aren’t small jobs I’m still struggling with the interiors.
I think from me, I am worried about getting it wrong.. so everything ends up looking really similar and quite neutral and quite boring!
How do you work out whether or not statement pieces were working your rooms? How do you decide on a colour scheme? When you are decorating the new room where do you start?
I really hope your blog explores these questions of the next few months with your new house! I am super excited to see what you do with the new house so I can get some inspiration and also not be afraid to try new things!
Good luck with everything!!
So lets break Anna’s question up into three…
How do you work out whether or not statement pieces were working your rooms?
As a general rule of thumb, I would say that any room can only handle 1 or two ‘statement pieces. That might be a feature light (like these that prompted Anna’s question,) something that is a really bright colour like a yellow armchair, or a large piece of art. A patterned wall paper would also fit this category…
I think to decide if you like something, you have to live with it. For example when I bought the flamingo print, I wasn’t sure – it felt like he was staring at me all the time! But after a day or two, I got used to it and loved it. With my film lamp, that was easier as I knew I wanted one for a while, and when I found it at a great price, I knew just the corner where it would go. If you’re nervous about splashing out and not liking it, just make sure you love the piece itself, if you do then you’ll make it work, even if it’s not where you imagined it originally.
How do you decide on a colour scheme?
Let’s take my old lounge as an example here… First off we painted the room grey and kept all our neutral sofas and dark wood furniture. When I realised the room needed an injection of colour, I found Eric (the flamingo) and the pink worked so well against the grey that I ran with it. There was already blue in the room (the blinds were edged with a blue/brown shot silk and the club chair was a similar blue/brown fabric) so I chose that as another accent colour. I wanted lots of brights, so with the addition of the little yellow bird and the Russian dolls, yellow became the third ‘colour’.
Ideally what you want to be looking for when you are accessorising are things that aren’t just block colours either, (unless you’re going for a very modern look perhaps.) For example, the flamingo has shades of red in the pink feathers and the yellow Russian dolls pick that up in their painted detail, tying the two together.
I also noticed once I had completed that side of the room, centring around the flamingo print that the room became a room of two halves. The other side with the sofa was very similar to how it used to be with no colour splashes and didn’t look right. So I switched the cushions for a selection of blue toned designs and then stumbled across the pink lampshade that finished this DIY and finally we were done!
When you are decorating the new room where do you start?
The easy answer would be anywhere, but the sensible item would be the big ticket items. For example, if you have a blue sofa you could use that as a starting point. In general, for the sake of longevity, people choose neutral large pieces so they can decorate around them a few times before they have to start again with new ones, but if you know you love a colour then I’d say go for it and don’t be afraid to extend what we consider neutrals to be. Neutral doesn’t have to be boring beige, widen the spectrum with greys, taupes, mocha, putty or stretch outside the traditional neutrals to charcoal, navy or khaki.
I have a neutral sofa, so I start decorating with other ideas. Eric started the lounge decor, our dining room was inspired by the smoky blue edged mirror and the blue/grey accents came from there, including the curtains and the smoked blue light fitting.
You could also start with something you already have of course and it might be something really small – a kitchen might be inspired by the pattern on a favourite mug, or a lounge by a fab print you like for the curtains. Just go back to the advice about about finding a colour palette and accent colours and you will pull it all together.
Lastly, don’t fight your natural style. Anna mentions everything being ‘quite neutral’ as though it’s a bad thing when that can be just as much of a style as my own love of colour. However given the fact you follows it with ‘and quite boring’, I guess you want to jazz it up Anna!
I hope that helps Anna and I’d love to hear if any of you agree or disagree with my advice or if any of you have anything to add…