1. Talking Texture
While texture is a key element in any successful interiors scheme, the simplicity of introducing tactile materials and accessories into your home is often underestimated. Your choice and combination of textures can alter the tone of a space, lending it relaxed boho vibes, a touch of retro chic, or elevating it with glamorous luxe appeal.
Whatever effect you’re looking to create, textural pieces immediately add depth to a room, as seen in this simple set-up from Houseology (above) which would appear sparse without the attention to texture .
Wicker furniture, jute rugs and macramé or woven baskets as wall décor create a beachy or exotic feel, as shown in this bedroom by White Moss, while velvets, silks and faux fur used in soft furnishings like cushions and carpets signal warmth and sophistication.
If buying a larger item of furniture, consider how the texture will gel with the other items in the space, opting for raw or varnished wood, matte or polished metal, based on what will bring interest and cohesion to the scheme.
2. Chalk It Up
A lick of paint makes the world of difference to a room, but you can go one step further with chalk-friendly ‘blackboard’ paint, which, in recent years, has expanded to include a whole host of exciting shades, meaning you’re no longer limited to a bold black.
You can go as big or small as you like, painting a whole room, a feature wall, or even just a small square to be framed by shelving, furniture or a contrasting colour. You can use it in rooms where it will be put to practical use, such as in kitchens – as with this Benjamin Moore Gettysburg Gray paint (above) – where recipes and to-do lists can be kept, in studies and workspaces for creative brainstorming – like in this IKEA room (below) – or paint the inside of cupboard doors to easily keep track of shopping lists.
In contrast, you can also embrace chalkboard paint for it’s purely decorative capabilities; it’s a natural fit for kids’ rooms where they can doodle to their heart’s content, while if you have artistic sensibilities, paint your bedroom or living room wall and use it as a spot to display fun designs – anything from detailed murals, to abstract patterns and trompe-l’œil style drawings of lamps and mirrors. The key to this easy addition is that it will keep your space constantly evolving, making it an ‘update’ that can stay fresh year round.
3. Divide and Conquer
Changing up your home without committing to large renovations can be challenging, and unfortunately when you’re in a rental market such as here in the UAE, you may not have the option to knock out a wall or tack on a conversion. This doubles the importance of tricks that alter the sense of a space, giving large, open rooms some cosiness and intimacy and making smaller ones more multi-purpose.
Enter the magic of screens and room dividers, a charming way of changing up an area in your apartment or house with some clever placement. Screens can instantly expand a room’s function, exampled by this bedroom (left) where it creates some practical privacy between sleeping and studying zones. If you have an open-plan living room where storage is scarce they’re invaluable for sectioning off any corners where you want to keep the less attractive – but essential – elements of your home, such as appliances and electronics.
Also, select a screen style that complements the existing interiors scheme. Note the elaborate detailing works on the screen white screen (top) as the space is simple, light and airy, while this latticed divider sits well with the other antiques in the room.
4. Shelf Life
Attention to detail is the hallmark of elevated interiors and carefully curated bookshelves serve as a wonderful opportunity to bring flair and interest to a room. Reorganise your books by aesthetics, colour-coding them for a cheerful rainbow effect or turning them back to front for mellow, neutral uniformity. A brightly coloured tome dotted here and there will break up the beige with a pop of vibrancy, as seen in this cupboard from Debenhams (below). Play with levels by stacking books on their side or lay larger, more visual coffee-table books flat on open shelves or console tables to show off beautiful illustrations and photographs for a display that can change daily with the turn of a page.
For decoration, collect ornaments in your home with complementary colours and finishes and place them with covers of the same hue for an elegant, coherent scheme as in this shelving unit from John Lewis (above), while leaving ample space between them to draw the eye to individual groupings.
If this feels too neat or matchy-matchy for you, take an eclectic approach, bringing together lots of interesting knick-knacks and mixing natural and sculptural motifs to create a cabinet of curios.
Top it all off by adding your house plants to the display for an impression of joyful, leafy abundance.
5. Bathroom Basics
Wondering how to reinvigorate a bathroom without installing expensive appliances or tiling? Investing in some new bathroom textiles can make all the difference to what might otherwise feel like a tired scheme. If your home has the classic white tiling common in the UAE then stretch your creative muscles by embracing a bright accent colour in new towels, bathmats and even shower curtains to pep up your pampering space. Alternatively go for some on-trend soft pinks and greys as in this set-up from Amara.
6. Mix and Match
An organic, informal approach to interiors is very much à la mode for 2019, with designers inspired by an appetite for handmade products and sustainable approaches to décor. This is particularly true for tableware and gone are the days where perfectly matched, hundred-piece china sets were the only way to dine. Instead serveware is increasingly influenced by a popularity for bespoke, second-hand and vintage items. This devil-may-care attitude to accessories is easily adopted at home, where you can combine your existing crockery sets – plates, mugs and dishes – to create a quirky, eye-catching impact when laying your table.
Distinct styles make a statement when bravely mixed and matched and while you can be bold and throw all rules out the window you can also tie the look together with some subtle touch points: Bring together items with the same decorative effect, a watercolour wash, glazed glass crazing or stippling, such as in this collection from HK Living (top) and this grouping of blue and green tableware (above). Diverse materials like stoneware, clay and porcelain have an understated sophistication when integrated in their original neutral, earthy tones, while different china patterns blend for a fun ‘Alice in Wonderland’ tea party feel.
7. First Impressions
The way your hallway, foyer, or entryway sets the scene for your home can never be underestimated, so be sure to maximise on this. If your hallway has become a dumping ground for bags and shoes a well-chosen multipurpose coat rack, such as this one from IKEA (below) can provide vital storage space and a spot to sit when popping shoes on before heading out the door.
If not being used to store things, don’t leave the area as dead space. Put up shelving to display visually pleasing items that you’ll enjoy coming home to time and time again, such as in this clever entryway (above), or place a thin console along one wall with a pretty dish as a spot to drop keys as you come in (you’ll never lose them again).
Hang your favourite art and photographs for a personal exhibit, place a runner on the floor to lead guests to the main living space and find a practical floor-length mirror for those final checks before leaving the house.