6 interiors experts reveal their style secrets

Giving a room a style revamp is one of life’s joys – but it can also be a daunting task if you’re not sure where to start, or lack confidence in your colour choices, for instance.

The great thing is, it’s perfectly OK to ‘borrow’ tried-and-tested approaches from the experts, whether that’s trawling Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration, browsing through glossy magazines, or even studying how shop displays have been styled up.

And to make things even easier – to mark their 10th anniversary, leading homewares haven, Homesense (homesense.com), have invited a host of industry experts to share some of their personal top tips for curating fabulous settings.

Curious? Here, six interior style pros reveal simple tricks and secrets, along with some examples of how they’ve style up items from Homesense’s eclectic – and largely budget-friendly – range for inspiration…

1. Diana Civil: Interior stylist and art director

A balanced colour scheme which takes its inspiration from a painting: Table Lamp, £20; Red Trinket Box, £29.99; Lemon Pouffe, £39.99; Sea Kelp Duvet Set, £34.99; Purple Silk Cushion, £12.99, and Red Velvet Cushion, £19.99, Homesense (Homesense/PA)

No fail colour scheming: “If you’re unsure how to choose a starting point for a decorating scheme, a simple trick is to buy one fabric item that you love for the room – for example, a patterned cushion or curtain for the living room, or duvet cover for the bedroom, then use these as the template for the room scheme,” says Diana Civil, whose career includes stints as art director on magazines including Good Homes, Ideal Home and House Beautiful.

“Designers do a lot of research making sure colours work perfectly, so you know it’s a tried and tested colour combination because the designer has done the matching for you. Pick two or three colours from the design and colour match the tones for the key elements in the room – it’s a simple trick that works every time.”

Fake plants, real impact: “Artificial plants are my top styling secret of the moment  – not only do they add an instant splash of colour and burst of greenery, they can really up the wow factor in a room,” Civil adds. “Fake foliage has moved on a long way from the naff plastic of the past and is now amazing and realistic. Go all out with height and structure, with oversized plants such as cheese plants, palms or cacti, group together a collection of smaller plants to style up a tabletop, windowsill or mantelpiece, or add an artistic flourish with a collection of hanging plants for a garden-like feature wall.”

2. Cassandra Lisa Marie Doyle: Interior stylist and trend researcher

Soft sage – a grey green – is well complemented by pinks and metallic touches: Pink Chair, £179.99; Glass Flamingo Ornament, £19.99, and Monochrome Side Table, £39.99, Homesense (Homesense/PA)

Do neutral with a twist: “Sage is becoming the new neutral, which works perfectly in a bedroom. Curate your space using a muted colour palette; use velvet for a statement soft furnishing in trending emerald green or ochre,” suggests Cassandra Lisa Marie Doyle, whose work includes creating trend-led set design and sourcing props for photography and TV advertising.

“Statement ceilings are a big trend this year,” she adds. “Paint the coving and ceiling above in a darker complementary colour to the walls, or be brave and go for a complete contrast. If you’re lucky enough to have high ceilings, you can do the reverse. Paint the ceiling, coving, and a foot or two below in crisp white and your walls stunning sage”

Little details: “Try adding a picture shelf the full length of one wall, using oversized prints to add a sense of height. Group small accessories together in odd numbers, which will appear more pleasing to the eye”.

3. Georgia Gold: Interior and lifestyle photographer

Make a simple statement: Tranquil Blue Chair, £129.99; Ocean Floor Lamp, £79.99; Dipped Jug, £19.99; Coastal Faux Flower, £2.99, and Chill-out Cushion, £24.99, Homesense (Homesense/PA)

Simplicity is key: “I love colour but one of my best-kept photography secrets is to go back to basics. Make sure you leave empty space when putting a room or area of your home together. It will naturally create a focus, a balanced setting and gives an opportunity to let the product speak for itself.”

4. Emily Dawe: Interior stylist, writer and craft designer

Colour co-ord: “If you have a lot of books, grouping them together by colour can look really striking. You don’t have to necessarily create a whole rainbow, but by stacking all the blue books together, or all the green books etc, you will make your shelves look more uniform and it will create a real visual impact.”

DIY style: “Create one of those expensive fluffy stools at a fraction of the price. It seems so simple, but if you get an inexpensive stool (if it has hairpin legs, then even better), attach a fluffy cushion to the top of it. You may need to use a circular cushion pad, then attach the excess fabric to the underside with a staple gun. And voila – chic on a shoestring!”

Look for little chances to make a statement, such as a striking table setting with mismatched bottles and vases (Homesense/PA)

5. Aurelien Farjon: Prop stylist and set designer

Picture play: “If you want to create an arrangement of different picture frames on the wall, cut sheets of paper the size of the picture frames and stick those out on the wall first with Blu-Tack. This will allow you to test and try different heights. It will also allow you to step back and decide if it’s correct before drilling into the wall. Make sure the paper is a different enough colour to the wall – for example, brown paper on light walls, white paper on dark walls.”

A collection of pots and vases has more effect in a group: Homesense has a range of faux florals, starting from £2.99 (Homesense/PA)

6. Theoda Solms Iles: Interiors and event stylist, writer and blogger

Seasonal switch: “Getting bored with your living or bedroom? Change your cushions and rug seasonally. Update your rooms with pretty summery cushions in linens and cottons for your summer look, and replace them in the colder months with velvets, weaves and woollen cushions. Don’t stress about where to store the extra set, use the same cushion inners, ideally feather-filled pads, for both summer and winter sets, this way you only end up having to store the cushion covers, nicely folded up with the rest of your linen.

“The same can be done with a floor rug, especially now that flatware rugs are so trendy, they roll or fold up pretty small and can be stored under a bed or in the back of a cupboard, and the difference a seasonal rug change makes, is priceless,” she adds.


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