Our blog, Eilish's Edit, covers how to style rooms and create popular “moments” like the coffee table and shelfie.
I thought it would be useful to lay some ground rules you can start memorising that will make styling and shopping for your items all the easier.
These is part two of my 10 tried and true lessons from over seventeen years working in high-end interior design (and making plenty of mistakes along the way). Read Part I of the 10 Styling Commandments here.
If styling a coffee table doesn't fit into your endless to-do list between the laundry and not forgetting one of the children at an after-school activity, sit back and relax and let me do the work for you!
This is the most overlooked area of styling for most people.
Lighting is essential and it’s one of my personal favourites as an interior designer as it can completely change the mood of a room and help your space become suited to different purposes - especially in open plan areas.
Consider floor lamps, table lamps, ceiling lights, pendants and wall lights in your lighting plan and try to have at least 3 different sources of light in every space.
For example, spotlights in a kitchen provide great lighting to cook and work, which can then be dimmed or turned off in favour of pendant lighting over a dining table. Add a small table lamp by the sofa to make the area feel more intimate when it comes to mealtimes and after dinner relaxing.
Lighting is also a great place to add more colour and materiality without adding clutter.
Lampshades can be a subtle place to inject a fun pattern or bold colour that you might not be willing to commit to on curtains or your walls and they can be an easy one to change through seasons or over the years.
7. FUNCTION OVER FORM
Shop our marble spoon rests - a great gift for your foodie friends
The reality is the most beautiful setup won’t last a week if it doesn’t work as well!
While some styled objects can be purely decorative, it helps to have some items on display that you actually use on a daily basis.
This serves two purposes: it frees up precious storage (for more unsightly objects) and reduces the amount of items on surfaces that can become clutter.
Sometimes, it will require updating these everyday items so that they go with your interior style and don’t reflect Tesco’s Finest branding.
Examples of easy-to-upgrade items include: beautiful salt and pepper grinders, wood cutting boards, elegant knives, cast-iron pots and pans, candles and candle lighters, watering pots, glassware, glass jars and fruit bowls…and much more.
8. LEAVE ROOM FOR THE UNEXPECTED
It’s important not to buy everything you think you need at one time.
You have to live in a space and see how you feel if you’ve upgraded a few items - perhaps a new kitchen or new sofa - before you complete a room’s smaller decorative objects.
Leave room for things to change in your taste and your life, see what tends to annoy you or enthral you on a daily basis.
None of us could have anticipated the pandemic, but homes that were designed with less clutter and more flexibility were more easily adapted to create work from home spaces than rooms where entire sets of furniture and decor were bought in one go.
Similarly, your tastes will evolve, and if you leave room for decor and styling, it will help you refresh spaces over the seasons and years so you don’t have to change large, expensive items to fall in love with your home again.
9. CREATE A GUIDING CONCEPT FOR YOUR HOME
This is a loftier styling commandment but it will keep you disciplined every time you think of adding something new to your home.
There should be a central concept for your home, whether you had the help of a professional or you’ve put it together yourself over the years.
In order to figure out your guiding concept, it’s key to look at the existing architecture of your home, the large pieces of furniture you already have and are happy to keep, and the character you wish your surroundings to evoke - for yourself, your household and visitors.
For example, some people love a coastal feel as their home may be near the sea, and they bring in blues and whites and seashell-like decor - they might have this as their guiding theme, as well as having a cosy family space.
Someone else might like crisp neutrals and natural wood tones in a 50s bungalow, or ornate antiques and framed landscapes suited to their period home.
Consider the colours and materials you are already using, research what would be most appropriate for your style of home, and consider your own aesthetic - from the films you love to the clothes you wear.
Together this can help give you a few adjectives and evocative images that you can go back to when you’re buying new cushion covers, art or, of course, lighting!
10. PUT YOUR STAMP ON IT (AND BREAK SOME RULES IF YOU NEED TO)
In line with commandment #9, your home should speak to you and remind you of wonderful moments, your hobbies, and your loved ones. It should be a sanctuary from the outside world, whatever sanctuary means to you.
As you style your home, these are opportunities to bring your personality - and that of other household members too - to the forefront of the rooms you spend the most time in.
Do you like cars? Travelling the world? Do you collect art?
Without being too literal and kitschy, consider bringing elements of the things you love into your space.
If you love cars, perhaps you can bring in metallic elements into your space with lighting fixtures in bronze or iron.
If you love to travel, perhaps you can start bringing back beautiful bowls and handwoven baskets or rugs to adorn your space.
You can translate parts of your personality with items - if you tend to be playful, you can bring in pieces with some whimsy- if you love serious design, perhaps you invest in more sculptural pieces with bold lines, and if you enjoy glamour and the finer things in life, choose marble and brass and other premium materials in your home accessories.