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

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

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.

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