Interior design tips: keeping it simple

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We’ve been huddled in our houses and flats for a while now. Given all the time we’ve been spending in the same place, and with future holiday travel uncertain, you may be thinking about tackling some home improvements. If you don’t fancy a trip to the shops or don’t want to wait around for deliveries, there’s still plenty you can do with your surroundings with the things you already own. We’ve enlisted the help of our Interior Design team to bring you some tips and tricks for restyling your home. And, if you want to take things further, we have ideas to help you get moving with larger projects.

Start by collecting design inspiration

There’s a lot we can’t do at the moment, but one thing we can rely on is our new summer hobby – the casual stroll. We asked Sebnem Barker, our Head of Trade and Interior Design, how she and her team have been keeping healthy and inspired. “Going on our daily walks has allowed us not only to be more in the present and more reflective, but it has also allowed us to be completely immersed within in our surroundings. We’ve become more inspired by nature, our homes and the world around us,” she says.

The same can be true for you – use your walks as vehicles for inspiration. Take a moment to observe and truly appreciate the greenery you have access to. Take photos or sketch interesting plants and buildings you come across. Perhaps your neighbourhood is characterised by a particular style of architecture, or perhaps it’s more diverse, and you’d like your home to reflect this. Whatever surrounds you, take a closer look at it and consider what you like.

Another place to seek inspiration is the unexpected openness afforded by being physically separated from people. By now, you’ve probably caught a glimpse or two of your colleagues’ interiors preferences via Zoom, or maybe you’ve become very familiar with a designer’s home thanks to Instagram (we’ve been taking inspiration from Fiona Leahy‘s tablescapes). “The world of interiors at the moment is a completely open house – everyone is sharing and opening up their private homes to us,” says Sebnem. “We are therefore exposed to even more creative ideas.”  

Discover the power of rearranging

With your inspiration in mind, how can you reinvent your space using furniture and accessories you already own? Sebnem suggests starting with reshuffling things for a fresh perspective. “By rearranging just a few items,” says Sebnem, “you will change the layout of the room completely and simultaneously create a new atmosphere – even if it is just one small area of a room.”  

Changing the position of your coffee table and seating is a great place to start. When you’ve found the perfect arrangement, neaten it up by placing loose items on an elegant tray, and add interest with decorative pieces. Reorganising your bookcases is another easy way to refresh a room. Start by clearing any clutter, then go a step further by alphabetising or colour coding your books. Prop them up with bookends or add picture frames and decorative items for a more composed look if you have some extra space.

Another candidate for this kind of easy sprucing up are windowsills. Try lining up your favourite potted plants along them or arranging flowers in a pretty vase. “You don’t need to spend much in order to change the look and feel of a room, just a few decorative objects or a small splash of colour can achieve this and will breathe new life into the room,” Sebnem insists.

Lastly, if you have wall art that needs hanging, now is a great time to tackle it, as long as you have your tape measure, hammer, hooks and nails handy. And, if you’re really itching to transform your space, a gallery wall is a slightly more involved project, but is a great way to show off your varied taste. We recommend starting by hanging your first pictures in a simple cross formation and building around it.  

Go a step further

If you love a design-forward look and are willing to spend a bit, there are some key pieces to invest in that will go a long way when you’re restyling your space. Sebnem stresses the importance of giving a room a clear focal point, to pull its different elements together and give it a sense of composure. “We would recommend investing in a mirror to catch the eye or a rug to really anchor the space,” she says. “Lighting is a great tool for creating a specific mood and adding ambience to a room. Even a beautiful faux flower arrangement can draw your eye in!”

For even more expert advice, don’t forget our Interior Design Service. It’s still available to you in lockdown, with support over the phone or virtual consultations. Sebnem’s team can help with anything from pulling together a room in a flat to redesigning a country house from top to bottom. 18 years of experience with design projects in homes all around the world has led to an impressive portfolio, but whatever the size of your project, the first consultation is free.

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