talking interiors the blog

The devil in the detail – small moments of wonder

What makes a house a home? Is it good design? Matching colours? Complementary textures? Why does one room ‘work’ while another doesn’t?

It’s the indefinable stamp that we put upon our own interiors which makes them either compelling, insipid or occasionally uncomfortable. Somewhere along the line we acquire our own style and if we have the slightest interest in aesthetics, this spills over into the way we pull together our own homes.

Some of us are innately better at this than others. You might think another home more stylish than yours, so it’s easy to feel dispirited. But by making some subtle changes to the way you organise, display and present the treasures you’ve collected on your life’s journey, you can turn your home into a welcoming environment that’s completely unique to you.

It’s nothing to do with what you can afford to spend, whether you showcase the latest design, or if everything you have matches. Think about the last time you stayed in an upmarket hotel. Chances are no single element of design strayed from the designer palette, but would you want to mimic that look in your own home?

‘Any house or room remembered with pleasure has the look of being loved by those who live in it…’

Billy Baldwin

Pick a room in your house. Let’s go for your living room. First of all take a step back. Can you honestly say you love everything in it? Whether its fashion, cosmetics or interior design, we all make mistakes and sometimes we hang on to things we dislike simply because of the investment we’ve already made. But if you don’t like it, ditch it. You can’t really put a price on the feeling of freedom you get when you no longer have to avert your gaze from that hideous chair/cushion/vase spoiling your view.

Next, do you have a hero piece? Is there something that you absolutely love? If so, consider how you can showcase it – how you can set it off to best advantage by arranging your furniture and other accessories to give it super hero status.

Along the same lines as the above, is your room anchored? Do you have a rug which ties everything together? Rugs add texture and softness and can introduce an element of unexpected colour. Generally speaking the bigger the better.

Look at your pictures – are they hanging right? Received wisdom suggests that the centre of your artwork should be around eye level. The way you hang your pictures can really maximise their impact and sometimes a gallery wall with a number of smaller pictures alongside your statement piece can look amazing. Just try to ensure that there is a consistent centre line across your pictures.

You’ve probably accumulated some ornaments and treasures that you absolutely love. There’s a right way and a wrong way to display them. Generally speaking ornaments look better grouped in odd numbers, in threes and fives for example. Try arranging things in triangles, with the largest item in the middle, offset by smaller items.

Finally take a step back. Try to see what’s missing in your room. Do you need a plant? A mirror? Some white space to rest your eye? Cultivate a degree of objectivity – exactly as a professional would do – and it might become very clear just what you need to do to finally pull your room together.

Above all enjoy your space. It’s unique to you.