Go the way of the Dragon with design guru Kelly
Interior designer and star Kelly Hoppen has devised a masterclass with her latest book. Sharon Dale reports
THE newest recruit to BBC2’s Dragons’ Den has shown viewers how astute she is, but her business success is underpinned by skill and passion.
Kelly Hoppen isn’t just an interior design brand, the founder knows her stuff and her latest book Design Masterclass reveals that there’s a lot more to her style than cushion plumping and pots of taupe emulsion.
The book is a hefty tome, packed with pictures from her various projects round the world, and it distils everything she taught at her London-based design school.
Masterclass isn’t just eye candy, and after reading its 271 pages you will feel like you’ve learned something.
It examines budgeting, drawing up floor plans, grids, how to analyse a space and work out the ergonomics. There are some excellent tips on everything from colours and lighting to furniture and art.
Kelly also shows you how to obtain her famous look, which is defined by neutral palettes and an East meets West aesthetic.
The neutral backdrop, she says, is the equivalent of a great pair of blue jeans that you can either dress up or down.
Although she warns against getting carried away by something “gaudy or glitzy or it may be the equivalent of “the party dress you have never dared to actually wear”.
In her opinion many have tried and failed to get the Kelly Hoppen look right.
“It may sound obsessional but the way that cushions are arranged, the height a picture is hung, or the angle at which a chair is placed really can make all the difference.” she says. “There’s a knack to it.”
Skirting Boards: Generally speaking, the deeper the skirting board the better. They should be painted the same shade as the wall. Do not make them a feature by painting them a contrasting colour.
Zones: Most room have a level of multi-functionality. This means you have to be aware of the zones – what they are used for, who uses them and when. These zones define the layout, affecting where you put furniture, lighting, power points and radiators. The art is in achieving a room that looks seamless. You can do this by using a grid system to subtly divide a space. This could be through a change of flooring material or in the way a single piece of furniture is placed to screen one part of a room.
Large, open plan spaces lend themselves to this but it can be applied to smaller rooms.
The Concept Board: Good design is about focussing on the overall effect of different materials and colours. Take time to consider how you want it to feel. Forget fabric swatches and paint samples for now and gather images and textures that make you feel happy. Pin them together on one board. They can be art postcards, travel photography, fashion shoots. Do not confuse it with a design board, which is a breakdown of the actual scheme showing fabrics, wallpaper, etc.
Over-scaling: This is a way of improving the intrinsic architecture of a room. You only need one or two to make an impact. Indeed, it is the very fact that the rest of the room sits nicely in proportion that gives over-scaled pieces their theatrical presence. Think of a double-height headboard, a magnificent armoire or gigantic floor-standing mirror.
Stars of the show: Every room needs a visual surprise or two. It could be a sumptuous fabric, a piece of bespoke furniture or striking artwork. It might be a jolt of bold colour, a wonderful texture, an over-scaled shape or vintage one-off. The secret is not to clutter the space with too much else.
Lighting: You may want to use more indirect sources of lighting than direct ones and the secret is to shoot light from side to side or up and down. Ceiling lights are often not nearly as effective as those placed on floors or walls. Use LED shadow gap lighting on skirtings and stairs to guide you through the house. Instead of bedside lamps, hang two feature pendants either side of the bed. Mini flexi arm reading lights can be positioned on the headboard.
Painting a ceiling: Unless you live in an historic house with beautiful detailing, there is no reason to draw attention to a ceiling. It is better to continue wall colour over a ceiling rather than paint it uniformly white.
Kelly Hoppen’s trademark style is the use of neutral colours to create a sense of calm but she also likes star pieces and bold statements.