Bring interest to your interior with these design ideas

It's a fine line between staying current and slipping into 'cookie cutter' territory, where an interior scheme follows the trends so rigidly, you could tick them off on a check list. Antlers, check; Letter light, check; London bus sign, check. You get the picture...

So how do you incorporate design classics, capture the zeitgeist and avoid the cliches?

One couple who have successfully managed it are Riddhi Bhalla and her husband Mick Collins, whose home features in our House Tours Event on 26 and 27 September 2019, sponsored byHouseology, French Connection and Yves Delorme.

After buying a beautiful townhouse, the couple realised inside it was 'a plain, white box', and wanted to turn it into a liveable space that was 'fun, practical and felt like home.'

But after fruitless weekends spent browsing design shops, they felt overwhelmed, so eventually brought interior and architectural designer Daniel Hopwood on board.

They tasked the designer with the challenge of introducing character into a house that was essentially a series of boxy rooms.

Here are the interior design ideas they learnt along the way.

1 Don't be afraid of the dark

Daniel Hopwood suggested painting the kitchen dark blue. Riddhi and Mick thought it was a mad idea, as they thought what was a small, poorly lit area needed to be light, not dark. Daniel shot through that theory with his “embrace the natural ambience of the space” ethic.

(Image credit: James Merrell)

They went with it and, of course, he was right – the midnight blue, coupled with dark bespoke walnut storage and a beautiful-patterned tiled floor makes the space inviting and atmospheric.

(Image credit: James Merrell)

2 Be bold

In the living-dining room the show-stopping feature is a floor-to-ceiling mural from Tres Tintas, which Riddhi and Mick bought before hiring Daniel. It arrived as five huge panels, which they kept rolled up under the bed with their fingers crossed it wouldn’t be too bold.

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Quite the opposite. Using the mural as his primary reference, along with a few items from the couple’s previous home – the blue velvet sofa and a pair of Marco Zanuso Senior chairs – Daniel got to work and designed the room around it.

(Image credit: James Merrell)

3 surface matters

Or rather surfaces matter. The staircase spans four floors and one entire wall, from the bottom to the top of the house, is clad in mirrored tiles for a striking effect.

(Image credit: James Merrell)

In the bedroom, the wardrobe, bespoke by Daniel Hopwood, is wrapped in an Alcantara fabric which along with the sink-into soft pile carpet and red velvet pouffe brings a sumptuousness to the space.

(Image credit: James Merrell)

See more of Daniel Hopwood’s architectural and interior design projects at

See more of Riddhi and Mick's home here.


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.