In With the New…
If you haven’t got a huge budget, focus on fabrics: tired soft furnishings are often the culprit when rooms look dated. Reupholstering or replacing just one large piece can transform a whole space and give it contemporary appeal – especially if you get expert advice. A bespoke piece will be tailormade for your space, in a style you love. It’s not just made to measure: it’s built to last, and in terms of comfort, the difference is considerable.
Turn up the style dial with rich textures like hard-wearing herringbone tweed or sumptuous velvet (I love Colefax and Fowler for both, or James Brindley’s wool plaids); dress sofas with throws and scatter cushions to add personality. Vibrant colours can make a statement: GP&J Baker, Mulberry and Manuel Canovas are masters at giving traditional patterns a contemporary spin with eye-catching hues and on-trend detail – there’s a huge selection in stock at the Amanda Hanley by Design studio.
Hone the heart of your home
The festive season inevitably means extra hours in the kitchen; entertaining should be easy and fun, not a chore, and a poor layout or lamentable looks can dampen spirits and cramp your style.
'Modern rustic' and 'cool country' are the trends to tap into now.
If you want a truly classic look with modern, hi-tech functionality, you need bespoke design, proper craft construction – and some decent advice.
Ask yourself how you use your kitchen, and how much space you have. Go for fewer, large-scale pieces that add workspace and make a statement, and your kitchen will have longevity as well as being attractive and practical. Try using grey as a theme: this strong modern neutral is a big story for 2015, and works brilliantly in kitchens, especially when combined with natural worktops and flooring.
Source a style update
Hankering for a whole new look? Buying direct from the source rather than a thirdparty outlet will save time and money, but unless you’re an industry insider, it’s hard to access the best showrooms and dealers. On my frequent buying trips, I’ve developed a unique rapport with some of the Continent’s foremost suppliers. One of my favourite are based in the Flemish countryside, in a vast warehouse filled with stunning room sets, vintage finds, retro lighting and stylish inspiration… everywhere you look there’s something desirable. I visit to get ideas, check out the latest collections and source special pieces for clients; and, since I go regularly, I often invite guests to join me on buying trips.We’ll spend a few hours browsing the maze of furniture and home accessories, have a relaxed lunch, and then map out which pieces will work together in your home.
If you’re undertaking a big refurbishment, I can help refine your shopping list, make sure the larger items are going to work in the spaces you need them for, and give expert advice on tying the look together. I’ll also sort out all the ordering, oversee safe delivery to my warehouse, and then come to your home to unwrap, check and position all your beautiful new furniture with you. The whole trip is hugely fun and inspiring, and you’ll get a unique insider perspective – I don’t charge for my time, either. Best of all? You’ll have a home full of original, uplifting new pieces that will give you pleasure for years to come.
Ask the expert...
Q. I want to update my interiors but I’m worried about choosing furniture that might date. Advice?
A. Pale woods and off-whites are current trends that will never go out of fashion, so they’re a fantastic way to keep your interiors looking stylish long-term. Invest in neutral shades and classic shapes (Scandinavian, Flemish and French designs are timeless), and set them against natural flooring or neutral carpets – then you can freshen things up seasonally. A lamp, a colourful rug… even something as simple as a vase of flowers can update the look year on year to give your home contemporary appeal.
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