Interior design tips and tricks
I spend A LOT of time in interiors shops. They’re my happy place. I’m often inspired by the room sets that are created to show how various products could work together. However, short of just buying everything, it can be tricky to achieve a similarly styled look at home while retaining your individuality. American brand, Ethan Allen, has elevated visual merchandising to an art form. I recently met with their Head of Design, George Foster-Vincent, to get some insight in to how he styles their gorgeous stores and some tips for use in real spaces.
Interestingly, George bases each set on different imaginary clients with detailed lifestyles and specific tastes. Sometimes his fabricated couples even argue about which items they want in their ‘home’, at which point his team stage an intervention and send him for a lie-down…! Anyway, if the closest you’ve ever got to a carefully edited vignette is a pile of homework, a bowl of keys and an apple core, then here’s how to achieve that slick showroom look.
Coffee tables are central to most living rooms and can be dressed to add personality and style. An easy starting point is to include books which as well as looking chic, can also serve as conversation pieces. Just to clarify, we’re usually talking about fashion, design or photography titles here rather than the complete set of Mr Men books although they could have a quirky charm too!
George suggests placing additional accessories on a tray and including the elements of light (candles), life (a plant or flowers) and sculpture (other small decorative pieces). Try grouping things in 3s, which, aesthetically speaking, is the magic number. Finally, don’t let ugly remote controls spoil your efforts. Storing them in an attractive box will both keep the space beautiful and minimise the amount of valuable Netflix time lost to finding them!
Using a solid unit beneath your TV will help hide cables while hanging a gallery of art and photographs around it will prevent it from becoming the focal point of the wall. If you are feeling brave and it works with your scheme you could also paint the wall a dark colour so that the TV ‘disappears’. My own is black so I have practiced what I preach!
#Shelfie worthy surfaces can be achieved if you ensure that the objets in your display have some relationship with each other. This can be achieved through maintaining a restrained colour palette or unifying theme. George suggests using accessories of different sizes and materials to add interest and balance. Large pieces should be positioned first with smaller ones being placed around them.
If you are dressing a console table then lamps at either end with art or a mirror hung between them gives a classic and elegant look, while asymmetrical arrangements tend to be more modern and informal.
So this is devastating news to me, but George has revealed you don’t have to buy all 27 cushions on a showroom bed in order to successfully style your own. As a certified cushion addict, and having spent many years convincing my husband that there is a legally enforced 9-cushion-per-bed requirement, Mr Y can never find out. It’s too late for us, but I’m here to save you from cushion related bankruptcy and significant marital strain.
A simple but effective approach is to place 2 large square pillows against the headboard, followed by a couple of rectangular sleeping pillows with some smaller decorative cushions in front. Hold on, apparently 9 is the minimum! If your bedding is patterned then keep additional throws or coverlets plain. Alternatively liven up plain linen by adding pattern and texture.
If all else fails, then head down to Ethan Allen and let the lovely and talented design team guide you. And if you see a couple having a ‘robust discussion’ while waist deep in cushions then be sure to come over and say hello!
Featured image via Pinterest