Get the look you want

Exciting week ahead.  May be interviewed re interior styling of my home Woodlands (which is currently for sale), and finally off to London for Abigail Aherne’s retail masterclasses.  Aherne’s love of of colour, and downpipe in particular, sparked my interest in interior styling.  It also taught me something valuable.  There are two solutions to every problem.  The best is usually the least expensive because meagre funds spark creativity.  Conflict focuses the mind so spending less when you’re conflicted leaves you free to change direction and find more innovative solutions.

By way of illustration, I love Ralph Lauren’s Alpine Lodge look.

Ralph Lauren inspired living room

But I can’t afford Jeffrey’s Interiors antler candlesticks let alone Ralph Lauren’s no matter how hard I work (or how much I want them).  So I make my own with whitewashed antlers from Acanthus and silver candlesticks (Ikea).  The candles are encased in glittered bark and a steal at £10 each.  An equally inexpensive table lamp for £22 including shade (Time and Tide) completes the look and as always I’ve added silk flowers (Acanthus again) in subtle inexpensive pottery.  The bulls head replaces a rather boring picture light and I’ve added a lightbulb behind it so its eyes and ears appear to glow.

Bulls head
Bull head light

It’s not hard to create this look but you need to layer accessories you love in a way that pulls a room together.  If you don’t want to photograph your room from at least 10 different angles then you haven’t finished decorating.

Woodlands living room
Woodlands living room

Start with the basics – chair, side table, table lamp and then add candles, flowers and other knick knacks in a complimentary pallet.  Most of the action happens in the middle of the room (it’s where the food and drink goes) so start there and work back to the walls.

It sounds obvious but the key to making a room work once you’ve bought things you love is to ensure that if someone is sitting on something there’s somewhere for them to put down their glass and something interesting for them to look at.  If like most people you can’t afford sculptures use silk flowers, candles and piles of magazines to create the cosy feel you’re after. How many times have you sat in a friend’s room and held onto your glass for dear life because there was nowhere safe to put it?

Homes aren’t meant to be hotels so leave trays or coasters on tables ready for use.  I want to sit down with friends and family and enjoy their company not rush around frantically getting essentials that go with entertaining.  Leave matches on tables and pile books or magazines where people can browse through them.  The moment you do this you’ll realise how liberating it is and wonder why you needed an interiors stylist to do what to most of us comes naturally – creating a semblance of order and control out of everyday life which is chaos.