The Do's and Don'ts of home decor
Emily Murray, founder/editor of award-winning interior blog The Pink House, wants us to learn from her mistakes...
Over the years I’ve made a fair few home décor errors. There was the garish yellow feature wall in my singleton sitting room; the flop of a futon I dragged like a dead cat around university; not to mention the Victoria Plum wallpaper in my shared childhood bedroom (it clashed nastily with my brother’s Superted paper on the other side of the room).
But if it’s true what they say that messing up is the best way to learn, then I guess that makes me quite the home decor expert. And with a fair few houses, clients and styling projects under my belt, I feel just about qualified to offer up a few home truths of my own now. Listen up...
DO go cushion crazy
I get it: not everyone wants to invest in bright blue velvet leopard print armchairs with hot pink trim (though mine do make me very happy). Instead, it can feel less scary to start with a plainer, more neutral sofa or armchair and add colour and fun with cushions, with the added benefit being that it’s easy to switch the look around if you repaint the room - or just fancy a seasonal switch-up. For cushions with year-round wow-factor, look no further than Emma J Shipley, whose designs are now stocked exclusively in Scotland at Edinburgh’s Jeffrey’s Interiors. The Neptune designs (below) are my personal favourites.
DON’T skimp on hardware
As someone who has transformed a tired old laminate kitchen using little more than a few tins of paint and some kick-ass brass handles (pictured below), I can vouch for the transformative effect of high quality hardware, especially as I’m doing the exact same thing in my new home. My go-to brand is Buster + Punch – their handles might be on the pricier side, but a) they’re of the highest quality, and b) they’re a whole load cheaper than replacing a kitchen.
DO make alcohol look arty
We all know about the uplifting effect that drinking alcohol can have, but did you know that elevating alcohol to an art form can literally and metaphorically lift your spirits? Well it can. Booze bottles are some of the best-designed products out there (current fave: Forest Gin, as sold in Harvey Nichols (pictured below), and the high street is awash with pretty cocktail cabinets and accouterments to show off and complement your tipple of choice. My pick of the bunch is Marks & Spencer’s Webster cabinet, £599 (pictured below), which looks lush paired with their Manhattan tumblers, £19.50 for a set of four.
DON’T think of the children
There are countless articles, blog posts and books out there advising you to child-proof your home by stocking up on wipe-clean, rounded-edged super storage smothered in blackboard paint. Yawn. I might have two boisterous, mucky little boys, but when I look around my house, I don’t want to think, “I hate everything in this room, thanks to the kids, but at least it’s clean”. Instead I’d rather think, “I LOVE that velvet sofa, and I’ll leave my little darlings’ pen/chocolate/mud marks to posterity”.
DO think differently
You spend about 45 per cent of your life at home, so keeping that home an interesting place to be is crucial. And one of the best ways to do that is to fill your pad with stuff that makes you smile when you walk through the front door. How about this brilliantly bonkers brass spiked Intrecciato hostess table from Kohr, £950 (pictured above). Or this Monde Mosaic Rodeo Cat Print, £59, Amara (pictured below). Or even some neon art in the form of the Bxxlght White Cloud, £295, Pad Lifestyle (pictured below).
DON’T forget the flowers
When it comes to fresh flowers (nothing lifts a room like them), I highly recommend Bloom & Wild’s new collaboration with florist-to-the-stars Nikki Tibbles of Wild At Heart. The 28-stem assemble-yourself bouquets are posted through your letterbox, and come with step-by-step instructions on how to arrange them to professional standards. If floristry’s not your thing, Farrow & Ball have a new, no-arranging-required floral wallpaper collection (pictured below), which will bring any wall to life.