The kids are back at school, and we – and our homes – breathe a sigh of relief. So now we can finally see the floor (instead of a sea of Lego), hear ourselves think (instead of the Death Star being breached) and touch stuff without getting sticky (let’s not go into detail), it’s time to turn our attention to our long-suffering homes.
And it’s not only child-ravaged rooms that could do with a bit of TLC at this time of year: the same goes for any interior that’s been subjected to a fair bit of wear and tear, whether its kids, pets or impervious partners who are responsible for your living room’s less-than-lovely appearance.
But never fear, because I’m here sporting my school mistress mortar board to give a little lecture on the home décor rules that’ll ensure your living spaces pull up their style socks, sharpish! So if everyone’s sitting comfortably, then I’ll begin…
Rule 1: Add black and gold
This rule really does work when it comes to creating an interior that looks luxurious without being OTT. The black grounds the space and gives the eye a place to rest, while a couple of gold highlights bring just enough bling.
Rule 2: Wallpaper your bathroom
OK, you don’t HAVE to put up wallpaper in the bathroom, but then again neither do you HAVE to stay stocked up on loo roll. Bathrooms are great places to experiment with colour and pattern, and some of the world’s best colours and patterns are to be found on wallpaper, with Osborne & Little and Christian Lacroix’s selections among the best of the best. If you use good quality paper, have it hung properly and ensure your bathroom is well ventilated, you shouldn’t have any problems with it peeling either.
Rule 3: Stock up on side lights
In the list of Worst Things in the World’, ‘stark overhead lighting’ comes pretty high up, somewhere between Donald Trump and beige. Luckily, it’s easily fixed: turn off nasty bright overhead light; invest in a few gorgeous lamps such as these; turn them on; enjoy the subtle warm glow. Simples.
Rule 4: Don’t underestimate the impact of one small change
It always amazes me how changing one relatively minor thing in a room can transform the way you see it. For example, hang this powerful ‘Candy Crush’ graphic print by Susi Bellamy and you’ll suddenly realise how many orange things you have in your room.
Rule 5: If in doubt, go dark
Increasingly I’m finding that painting (or papering) a room a shade or two darker serves to make a room not only look cosier, but somehow actually feel a couple of degrees warmer. Dark grey is rather 2016, so why not try dark green, inky blue or even a dark and dusky pink. My Farrow & Ball favourites include Hague Blue (which I'm going to use in my sitting room), Smoke Green (which I'm using in a client's kitchen), and Cinder Rose (which was the external colour of The Pink House in Edinburgh). Any of these shades will create a sumptuous background that will also help the colours in your décor shine even brighter than they do against white.
Rule 6: Fabulous is essential
Every room needs at least one wow-factor item. Here are a few of my fabulous favourites on sale right now…
Rule 7: Have champagne close to hand
By which I mean make sure you have pretty side tables perfectly positioned alongside your sofa to ensure you don’t have to reach too far for your sparkling beverage. And maybe choose a new favourite chair while you’re at it…Because you’re worth it. Fist bump emoji.