Define Your Style – Home Design Ideas

Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” and when it comes to interior design this can often by the best route to take if you don’t trust your own design instincts. There is a danger however, that your house will blend into every other Magnolia drenched, carbon copy home that we see cloned on every street in Britain today. Why do we practice such safe design? Is it because we suffer from a lack of imagination, or are home owners up and down the land just not brave enough to experiment? Maybe in this difficult economic climate we cannot risk straying from that safe colour palette of cream and white?

I say, why create a ‘blank canvas’ (just in case you move home), for someone else to put his or her stamp on. Look for inspiration everywhere and don’t fear your own style. There are several ways in which you can experiment without breaking the bank and below are a few ideas and tips, which could inspire you to create your own unique groove. Firstly, do a little research. Websites such as housetohome have a fantastic gallery of pictures and suppliers that can inspire you and are less likely to be found in the house next door.

Create a mood board. Collect images, colour swabs and fabric samples in order to focus your ideas and inspire you. This way you will be able to see which colours and styles go together and it will also help you commit to only buying what you need. Steer clear of the plain and create simple elegance by choosing a simple colour palette but also experimenting with different textures of paint and fabrics. B&Q have a paint colour mixing service, which can match any of your favourite items.

Add a splash of colour by adding cushions and throws or curtains. Cushions, and more surprisingly curtains, are easy to make if you have a bit of time on your hands and you can get quality designer fabrics at greatly reduced prices online. Stores such as http://www.digbyandwilloughby.co.uk sell designer fabrics at £10 a meter instead of the recommended retail price of £30 to £100 a meter. If you don’t fancy making curtains yourself, Digby & Willoughby can get these made up for you. Alternatively breathe life into a favourite chair with new upholstery with Fabrics from Digby & Willoughby.

Accessorise with one or two unique pieces such as a beautiful free standing mirror or a piece of artwork. To save some pennies you could visit auction houses such as lotsroad or criterionauctions. I recently found a fantastic seascape oil painting in a charity shop and a beautiful art deco bedroom suite on freecycle.org so keep your eyes peeled. Love the traditional? Experiment with mixing the traditional with the new to avoid being old fashioned. Choose classic wallpapers with a funky twist from companies such as Cole & Sons and Zoffany to create a feature wall. Visit reclamation yards such as wellsreclaimation or sites such as salvo.co.uk to find beautiful antique wooden furniture and natural materials to create a classic and unique vintage look.

A statement piece of furniture can be the inspiration for the design of your whole room. Cover an old chest of drawers or table with fantastic hand printed wallpaper, protected with layers of clear varnish and jazz it up with new or antique handles. Try emmamolony.com for hand printed wallpapers. Go off piste, I recently purchase antique music scores from a local bookshop, which cost me 30p each and they make the perfect vintage wall coverings. If you religiously follow modern styles, what is the buzz from the world of interior design, what are the hot colours for 2010?

Colours from Mexico such as, burnt oranges, sunny yellows, gingers and taupe’s are on trend. Various shades of midnight blue with greying whites are in vogue and as well as being chic and ultimately classic, they would be a good long-term investment. Soft vintage colours, such as neapolitan pinks and yellows reflect the current boom in homemade crafts and reclaimed materials. Other colours in style for 2010 will be natural hues, soft beiges and nudes with green or purple accessories. There are plenty of ways to create your own unique style and to update your home. And remember, to play on the words of Jim Rohn, ‘if you don’t design your own style, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much!’

Helena Searle
January 2010