When designing a room scheme, it's important to take the time to choose the colour palette and materials for your walls and floors, and to get the size and scale right for your big ticket items. Yet more often than not it's the smaller pieces that actually pull the room together and give it character.
The design may be spot-on and the room filled with expensive furniture but without the knick knacks, family heirlooms and unique pieces that inject personality your abode can look like a soulless developers' show home, and who wants that?
Inspiration in this area can be found in the homes on our House Tours (opens in new tab), sponsored by by Little Greene, Nespresso and Yves Delorme, which took place on 6 & 7 June.
Buy tickets for House Tours, September 2019. (opens in new tab)
Julia Thompson of Frank Interiors (opens in new tab) is a former fashion stylist turned interior designer with an eye for the unusual and a knack for marrying modern with vintage. Her schemes are individual and stylish, with a wry dose of humour.
See more of Julia's home here. (opens in new tab)
See Julia's ideas up close and personal in the video and get the lowdown below.
1 plant life
'Plants are living things, so they instantly bring a scheme to life,' says Julia. 'The vibrancy of their leaves looks great against so many colours - and they improve air quality - essential if you live in a city.' Obviously big plants like palms or a Swiss cheese plant can fill an empty corner but a collection of little plants on a table or shelf, mixed in with other decorative objects can look great.
2 Art Attack
Julia's rule when buying art (and any furniture and accessories) - is that she has to absolutely love it. 'Because of this, my own personality comes through naturally,' she says. 'Adhere to that and yours will too.' Julia places each piece where they work colour wise and also where they fit. 'I've just found an incredible new company, Projekt_26. They sell vintage Polish posters and they are amazing,' she says. Check them out on instagram.
3 off the wall
Julia says people often forget to 'style' a room. This for her is where the magic happens. 'Add a couple of little tables to a corner, chuck in a few plants as a start. Or lean stuff on the floor - you don't have to put things on the wall,' says Julia. 'Art for example looks great leant on cabinets, shelves or the mantelpiece. It's just thinking outside the box.'
4 mix it up
When you're putting things together there are a few general loose rules. Items often look best in odd numbers - generally 3 or 5 pieces together. 'Go for different heights and shapes that work well together and get the tones right too,' says Julia. 'I like using a lot of dark items together and then throwing something bright into the mix - keep the items interesting too.'
5 vintage dahling
Julia loves vintage fairs and markets for finding quirky furniture, art and accessories. 'My favourite is Midcentury Modern, which started at Dulwich College and now has events (opens in new tab) at various venues throughout the year,' she says. 'Kempton market is always good too. When you're buying vintage pieces, you may see something so amazing that it can actually change the scheme.'
See more modern homes here. (opens in new tab)
Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites
A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.
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