Sian Elin’s flat is a DIY tribute to her passion for pattern and colour
For anyone familiar with designer Sian Elin’s bright, Scandi-inspired fabrics and wallpapers, there can be no mistaking her colourful home. From the mugs and tea towels in the kitchen, to the lampshades and cushions scattered throughout, her cheerful patterns fill the space with her breezy, optimistic style, and serve as the thread that unites all the rooms in her home.
The keen-eyed may recognise other bits too, because nearly everything in this flat, located
on the third floor of a large period building, was made or acquired for styling her Sian Elin catalogues. “Everything is a bit cobbled together, made for photoshoots or trade shows,” she laughs. While the last thing they look is “cobbled together”, Sian’s talent for making everything from wall art to tables has helped create a beautiful home on a modest budget. “People think you have to spend a lot of money to make your home look nice, but that’s just not true.”
When Sian and her boyfriend Babak moved into their Bristol flat in November 2016, it was completely unfurnished. Apart from the kitchen units, there wasn’t so much as a shelf on a wall. It did, however, have the advantage of huge windows, high ceilings and fantastic views. With stripped wooden floors and whitewashed walls throughout, it was very much a blank canvas.
“I love colour, and if we owned the flat I’d put colour on the walls in every room,” says Sian. “Because it’s rented though, I’ve had to find di erent ways to introduce it.”
The huge open plan kitchen/dining/living space was her first challenge. “There’s a lot of white space in here, so I wanted something really bold.” Luckily, she had just the thing in the shape of a large Pantone reference chart that had been printed on fabric by a printing company she used to use. “It’s so mad and colourful, and people never fail to ask what it is and where I got it from. I’ve always loved it and I finally got around to getting it framed, which I did cheaply by buying a huge frame on the internet and stretching it myself.”
The room is full of examples of Sian’s talent for doing-it-herself, such as the dining table she made following an online tutorial, using pine boards and hairpin legs bought on eBay. This was perhaps her most ambitious piece of furniture, having already made the co ee table,
the pink console table (made for a trade fair) and the large desk in her o!ce-come-studio. Even what looks like a small marble side table turns out to be one of Sian’s. “I just covered the ply top with a marble-e"ect contact paper from B&Q and spray-painted the legs in gold.”
To add to their kitchen storage they bought a Billy bookcase from Ikea and added glasspanelled doors. A second was painted grey to house their books and Sian’s treasured collection of Bloomingville vases. Seating also makes a statement throughout Sian’s home. The pink sofa came from SofaSofa and the two midcentury chairs were re-upholstered in Sian’s fabric. Her dad gave them the antique dining chairs and rewove the rattan seats. “He’s very practical, it must be where I get it from.”
In her studio, her signature lampshades and cushions and a bright yellow desk chair are complemented by painted plates mounted on the wall. She echoes this feature in the bedroom, with a collection that compliments the cool blues and monochrome of her fabrics.
“I’d describe my style as graphic, clean, colourful and modern,” says Sian. “My home is pretty much what I design for my business, although my home doesn’t have as much of a styled scheme. It definitely has a relaxed feel as it’s a real place I’m living in – maybe that’ll influence my photoshoots more in the future.”
01 Sian collects Bloomingville vases and uses them for propping the shoots for her catalogues. 02 The marble-effect side table is another handmade gem. Sian covered plywood in marbled paper and spray-painted the cast iron hairpin legs.
01 Sian’s bedroom displays more of her plate art – the larger ones are actually stool tops. 02 Sian built her own dining table, staining the pine boards to match the floorboards.