Last week several lovely ladies requested a post detailing my method for styling a room. I’m not going to lie, putting this together made me feel a little awkward. I don’t want to be seen as positioning myself as an expert, particularly after ‘bookgate‘ where journalists seem keen to suggest I have delivered a sermon preaching how everyone should display their books. Simply take this post as a few musings from someone who loves plumping her cushions and putting final touches to a room.
Most of the trinkets in my home are brand spanking new items from the High Street, usually HomeSense or H&M. However to move away from a carbon copy style I always bring in a couple of more individual elements; perhaps a bespoke piece of furniture or a DIY hand crafted creation as well as something vintage. There are car boot, antique shop, eBay and thrift store finds in more or less every room of our house, or something we’ve knocked up in the garage. I am a huge fan of the idea that these pieces are one-of-a-kind, or have been fashioned for a new purpose, or that they have a history. Not to mention the fact that others are less likely to have them.
The coffee table in our living room is an old set of table legs repurposed with a discarded wooden pallet. Image by Adam Crohill.
William Morris uttered the words ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’. However in our house I actually try to make the make sure even the more practical of things are aesthetically pleasing and I rarely buy anything just because it’s attractive. I think that’s why I have so many candles and vases as to me they’re a double whammy – pretty and purposeful.
Vases and candles in our living room. Image by Adam Crohill.
Reflect Your Personality
For a room to feel truly authentic I feel it needs to incorporate your own personality and your interests. Don’t worry if an item is en vogue or not. If you like it then you should have it in your home regardless of fads and trends.
We still have lots of bits and pieces from our wedding dotted about the house and whenever we’re away I like to pick up a memento from the trip. The bar tray I bought from Brighton is a reminder of a great weekend away staying with friends. We have loads of photos of our motley crew on display in our house too. I love how pieces can evoke memories and become conversation starters too.
Bar tray in the dining room. Image by Adam Crohill.
Whenever I’m creating a display (or a vignette if I’m feeling French) I usually group objects together in various heights, materials and forms to create visual interest. I tend to gather items in groups of three or five often using photo frames, candlesticks and plants for height. Throw in smaller standing objects, such as candles, smaller frames or floral stems and voila an interesting display. If you have a neglected space in a room consider adding a shelf or a piece of furniture with a collection of your treasures on top to let an unloved area reflect your personality. If your curation looks a bit haphazard placing together on a tray can give it a little more purpose.
Collection of items on our bedside table Image by Little Beanies.
I often carry a tape measure with me and it’s probably my most frequently used tool when it comes to styling a room. I hang pictures and shelves at a height that works in tandem with the rest of the space. In the dining room the three frames over the radiator are the same height as the shelf over the cupboard. Yep it’s anal but it really helps balance a room and prevents the eye from jarring. However sometimes no amount of measuring can deter me from hanging at a certain height because it just ‘looks right.’
Dining room reclaimed shelving and custom framed instagram prints. Image by Adam Crohill.
In awkward spaces I find circular objects work well. In our old bedroom the chimney breast swept through the room at an angle. A regular shaped frame on the wall may have looked peculiar due to the angled space around it so instead I opted for a circular mirror. In my dining room down a thin slither of wall I’ve added round plates due to the limited wall space.
My old home tour. Image by Adam Crohill.
If you’re introducing another colour to a room I often find you need at least three pieces in a contrasting colour dotted about the space otherwise it can look slightly random. I usually tend to balance out the pieces too by spreading them around the room rather than positioning them all in one area.
My old home tour. Image by Adam Crohill.
From my perspective a room isn’t finished if it doesn’t have some form of flora or fauna in it. I love faux though there can be real health benefits to having a real potted plant or two in the room. It’s unusual for me not to have flowers in the house too, whether they be from the florist, supermarket or more often than not snipped from my own garden.
Faux stems, real potted plants and stems in vases in the snug. Image by WE ARE // THE CLARKES.
Building layers and adding texture are a sure-fire way to making a room feel cosy, lived-in and relaxed. I’m not adverse to putting a floor covering in an unexpected place either such a the rug we have in our kitchen or the sheepskin we used to have on our bathroom floor.
Jute rug in my kitchen. Image by Adam Crohill.
As mentioned last week, art doesn’t need to be expensive. I do however find getting well acquainted with a custom framer really elevates your art. While I still use inexpensive frames, I often ask a local framer to create bespoke mounts for my photos and prints which in my opinion makes the final product seem far more luxe.
I’m a much more considered shopper than I used to be. If I see something and really, really love it I would probably buy it but most of the time I am on the look out for something very specific to fill a space. I’ll start searching for decorative items in the planning stages of a room but these days I’m unlikely to commit until the design starts to come together to avoid any costly mistakes.
I often let a room evolve and constantly add pieces and take them away. I’m not too precious and at the end of the day all I want is a cosy, comfy home that feels loved and lived-in.
How do you finish a room? Do you have any elements you like to make sure are incorporated in a space?