Meet Sophia Ridley, Deben­hams Head of De­sign

This is just one of the style rules Sophia Ridley, Head of De­sign at Deben­hams, lives by to keep her busy family home calm and or­gan­ised

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Sophia, who joined Deben­hams six years ago, leads the team that cre­ates the store’s range of home­ware, in­clud­ing the De­sign­ers at Deben­hams col­lec­tions. She lives in south Lon­don with her hus­band Gavin and their daugh­ters, Gabby, 17, and Issy, 15.

There’s nothing worse than a clut­tered home.

I have a very busy work­ing life, so I need my space to be or­gan­ised and tidy – I can’t re­lax un­less ev­ery­thing is in its place. That’s why I’m first out of bed at the weekend. My daugh­ters al­ways have their friends around and they all make a mess, so straight­en­ing ev­ery­thing up first thing in the morn­ing helps me to feel re­laxed.

Get rid of things that you nei­ther love nor need.

Sim­plify your life. It’s re­ally im­por­tant not to keep things that are nei­ther beau­ti­ful nor use­ful. I am a col­lec­tor, though

– I love glass and ce­ram­ics and have col­lected Sev­en­ties Swedish glass since I was 21. I’m not a hoarder, but once you start buy­ing it, you can’t stop!

I’ve found re­ally beau­ti­ful fur­ni­ture at boot sales,

junk shops and fairs. I have two teens,

so I don’t buy ex­pen­sive things! My ob­jects rep­re­sent dif­fer­ent stages of my jour­ney through life. I’ve in­her­ited my par­ents’ ‘fil­ter’ – the skill of know­ing what is well de­signed. They were pas­sion­ate about art and de­sign. We didn’t have much money, but we had an in­ter­est­ing home full of art, junk and se­cond-hand fur­ni­ture.

Hav­ing chil­dren changes your style.

When we moved into our old house, we thought cream car­pets would be so chic, light and airy. Gabby was six months old, and af­ter a year of liv­ing with a baby, they looked dread­ful!

Good de­sign never dates.

Brands such as Iit­tala, Marimekko and Ara­bia are favourites of mine. Their aes­thetic is so amaz­ing be­cause they have the orig­i­nal mid-cen­tury de­signs. I have an amaz­ing Six­ties hang­ing wicker egg chair in my bed­room. My sis­ter found it in her in-laws’ garage and gave it to me. It’s a beau­ti­ful piece and I love it.

Great de­sign should be ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one, though.

That’s why I love Ikea. We have a cou­ple of Soder­hamn so­fas. It’s a mo­du­lar de­sign, so you can buy as many pieces as you want to fit. I pimped ours with new turned-wood legs that I bought from Etsy.

I’ve learned so much from work­ing with the De­sign­ers at Deben­hams.

They’re full of tips – John Rocha once told me that when you buy a rug, make sure it goes all the way un­der your sofa so it ex­tends the eye­line of the room. My team and I work closely with the de­sign­ers, who all work dif­fer­ently and it’s a fas­ci­nat­ing process. Jasper Con­ran is su­per hands-on and amaz­ing to work with. Matthew Williamson comes in twice a sea­son to look at our de­signs based on his brief. He sends us loads of im­ages and prod­ucts for in­spi­ra­tion. Abi­gail Ah­ern is such an in­spi­ra­tion and I love her faux plants. I’d never dreamed of hav­ing fakes in my home be­fore, but hers are beau­ti­ful.

LOUNG­ING ABOUT Kemp­ton com­pact sofa in Tex­tured Weave Dark Grey, £500; Kemp­ton arm­chairs, from £350 each; Juno floor light, £200; Par­quet cof­fee ta­ble, £200, all Deben­hams

RE­LAXED DIN­ING Efni six-seater din­ing ta­ble with light grey chairs, £2,050; Odette pen­dant, £180, all Deben­hams

SLEEK SEAT Kemp­ton arm­chair in Mono, £385, Deben­hams

FORM & FUNC­TION Ce­ramic vases, £18 for two, Deben­hams

Jasper con­ran tex­tured vel­vet cush­ions, £32 each; throws, from £115; green mar­ble pen­dant, £55, all Deben­hams ‘I love copen­hagen. I keep re­turn­ing there be­cause it’s just so jaw drop­pingly gor­geous’

Jasper con­ran jars, from £12; serv­ing boards, from £30; condi­ment set, £30, all Deben­hams

TWO TONEBelly bas­ket, £18, Deben­hams

EV­ER­GREEN OP­TIONFaux string of pearls plant, £28, Deben­hams

MUTED BEAUTY Tex­tured vel­vet cush­ion in dark green, £18, Deben­hams

LAYER UP Enamel trays, £10 for two, Deben­hams

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