Revamp like the pros
Want to make your home look like something from the pages of a magazine? As Homesense turns 10, six experts tell Gabrielle Fagan how they do it
Giving a room a style refurbishment is one of life’s joys, but it can be daunting if you’re not sure where to start or lack confidence in your colour choices, for instance. The great thing is, it’s okay to borrow tried-and-tested approaches, whether that’s trawling Instagram for inspiration or browsing through magazines and perusing displays.
To make things easier, and to mark their 10th anniversary, Homesense (homesense. com), has invited experts to share their top tips for curating fabulous settings.
Here, six interior style pros reveal a selection of tricks and secrets, along with some examples of how they’d style up items from Homesense’s eclectic and largely budget-friendly range.
Diana Civil: interior stylist and art director
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 — use this as the template for the room scheme,” says Diana Civil, whose career includes stints as art director on magazines including Good Homes 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. 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.”
Cassandra Lisa Marie Doyle: interior stylist and trend researcher
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. “Statement ceilings are a big trend this year. 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”.
Georgia Gold: interior and lifestyle photographer
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.”
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.”
DIY style: “Create one of those expensive fluffy stools at a fraction of the price. If you get an inexpensive stool, 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!”
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 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.”
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,” says Iles. “Update your rooms with 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. “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.”
NEUTRAL TWIST: soft sage is well complemented by pinks and metallics. Pink chair, £179.99; ornament, £19.99, and table, £39.99, all Homesense
IN THE FRAME: A balanced colour scheme takes inspiration from a painting. Below, table setting styled with items from a range at Homesense
RECLINE IN STYLE: sofa, £499.99; table, £99.99; light pendant, £39.99. Below, faux florals starting from £2.99