We can all suffer ‘room envy’ at the sight of those glamorous settings in magazines or on television, but emulating their style in our homes seems ever more impossible in these cash-strapped times.
“We’ve all become so much more style aware these days. There’s just so much inspiration all around us, from gorgeous film and TV locations through to those boutique hotels,” says Isobel McKenzie-Price, editorial director of Ideal Home magazine.
“But just because money’s a little tighter than before, it doesn’t mean we’re prepared to compromise when it comes to decorating our own homes.”
McKenzie-Price has interpreted the signature styles of interior designers Kelly Hoppen, Tricia Guild and Nicky Haslam in February’s issue using affordable high-street homeware and furnishings.
“The good news is that it doesn’t take a millionaire bank balance to achieve great style,” she says encouragingly.
“All you need to do is take inspiration from successful designers who use clever tricks that work just as well with high-street buys as they do with really high-end schemes.”
So take lessons from the designers and transform your home.
FOR HOPPEN’S CHIC LOOK...
Kelly Hoppen’s style is a fusion of east and west, combining simplicity with sumptuous textures and luxe finishes, and a colour palette of taupes, beiges and creams with black as a grounding, defining colour.
Creating symmetry is key to her streamlined, structured style and it helps create a calm, ordered interior for a living space.
She advises positioning furniture to line up neatly around an existing feature, such as a fireplace or window.
“Sofas should face one another and armchairs should be at a 45-degree angle to sofas,” she says.
When adding shelves, pictures and smaller pieces of furniture, position them in exact symmetry with the larger pieces of furniture, Hoppen adds.
DESIGNER TIPS: Use the same paint colour on walls, woodwork and ceiling to create a seamless backdrop. Mix textures by teaming hard surfaces with soft fabrics, such as a lacquered table next to an upholstered sofa.
Accessorise boldly with oversized vases, big prints, huge arrangements of artificial flowers, and sculptural lighting.
FOR HASLAM’S OPULENT GLAMOUR...
Nicky Haslam’s trademark style is all about charm and wit, combining classic elements with no-holds-barred modern glamour. “Think theatre,” says Haslam. “Go for all-out opulence, glitz and glamour. Ornate fireplaces and delicate panelling will add to the whimsical feel. This style should really get people talking.” For a dining room, use a classic combination of crisp white cotton for a tablecloth and linen upholstery, and then an injection of shimmer using silver-effect candelabra, crystal glassware and decanters. Add sensual luxury with soft silks for curtains and cushions, and the finishing touch – an over-the-top floral centrepiece.
DESIGNER TIPS: Over-scale or under-scale elements in a room make them a focal point. For example a large chandelier and a ceiling-high mirror will contrast with neat wall lights and tiny tea light holders. Limit the number of accessories to avoid a cluttered effect, but choose items that are luxurious-looking such as etched glassware and silver napkin rings.
FOR GUILD’S VIBRANT COLOUR... Tricia Guild, founder of Designers Guild, is known for her skilful colour combinations and innovative interpretations of style. “No colour is too bold or too zingy,” she says. “Rev it up by choosing the brightest shades and then balance them with a high percentage of black and white.” Don’t be afraid to mix modern and antique furniture, as well as vintage and new accessories, and create maximum impact by combining patterns of varying sizes rather than playing it safe with co-ordinates.
DESIGNER TIPS: Customise inexpensive high-street buys to give them designer style, for instance try gluing bobble trim to the bottom edges of lampshades, trimming bed linen with lengths of satin ribbon or sewing a covered button on to the centre of a plain cushion. Be creative in accessorising and go for statement lighting, colourful frames, unusual artwork and displays of garden flowers arranged in quirky containers from old jam jars to wine goblets.