Interior stylist and Television Presenter, Sophie Robinson is regularly employed by the nation's top-selling interior design magazines to create inspirational yet achievable room designs. With over 15 years of experience, she's regarded as an expert in her field. She's particularly interested in how we can make our spaces a true reflection of our individuality...
One of the things I'm really passionate about in interior design is creating spaces that look at feel original, individual, and that exude the personality of the person that lives there. The 'branded' schemes of mega star interior designers make me cringe. I'm much more a fan of a style that has grown organically over time, has a story to tell and therefore avoids appearing like its just been ripped from the pages of a magazine or catalogue.
One easy way to get an individual look to your pad is to create a gallery wall. This is where you group a collection of pictures together all in one place, rather than dotted around the room. I think grouping artwork together has more impact and helps to create a focal point within a room. It always looks depressing when you see pictures hung on a wall that are too small for the space- they look lonely, bobbing about lost in a sea of magnolia. So my tip is to grab all your pictures together and create a group display.
Now there are a few rules into getting this right. First up I think you need to think about themeing your collection. So for example this might be a colour story that links the images all together, or it might be a style or genre- all pictures of flowers for example. You can also create some coherence with the choice of frames- they don't need to match, in fact I'd go as far to say that they shouldn't, (I shudder at the overly matchy-matchy) but again you might pick a theme- all chrome, all gilt, all wood or all antique for example.
One of my favorite gallery walls ideas is a collection of family photos. Nothing personalises a space better than a collection of images of your nearest and dearest. Now to keep it classy its best to print out your family snaps in black and white- this is just the most sympathetic way to incorporate a disparate collection within a room scheme as the colours in the photos won't jar with the rest of the scheme. It's easy to do with todays computers- just scan and reprint each image into B&W and resize to fit your frame. You can keep the coloured ones for the family albums, I like making mine into glossy coffee table books.
Next you can have fun with the composition. Either neat and regular, or fluid and haphazard. I think it's a good idea to arrange family photo's on picture rails, overlapping different sizes. This way you can add pictures and prints over time and don't have to completely change or re arrange your display with the crop of new memories.
Collections of art don't have to cost a bomb, make a mixture of shop bought posters, car boot sale finds and investment pieces from art fair. I also like to mix in mirrors, plates or sculpture to keep the display fluid, three dimensional and interesting.
When choosing a wall to site your display it works well if it creates a focal point in the room- hung low over the sofa or a side board, or go completely crazy and cover the whole wall going up the stairs. Whichever site you choose have fun collecting and displaying your collection in a place where you can enjoy them.
First up the trick to decorating with bold colour is to balance the look with contrasting neutrals. Whether that's smart black and white for a crisp and upmarket look or soften the effect with the subtle natural tones of wood, creamy white or sultry grey. Next add some natural accents. This could be some green foliage (I love ferns) or a little natural wood to counter balance the strong colour. Natural hues also add warmth, which can be a welcoming touch when you're using strong acid brights or dark moody hues. A wood floor, a leather armchair or an oak side table could be just enough to do the trick.
You can learn more about Sophie and Daniel and their masterclasses in Interior Design by visiting www.sophieanddaniel.com