If you’ve ever wondered how the homes in interior magazines look so incredible, it’s likely they had a fantastic interior stylist on shoot bringing the space to life. Having been in the business for almost a decade and working with a number of the UK’s top glossy magazines, I’ve picked up a number of insider tips and tricks over the years to take any home from drab to fab with the right touches. In this guide, I’ll share my top 5 must-read tips on decorating your home from an interior stylist!
#1 Choose a colour palette
It’s probably no secret looking at my work, I am no stranger to colour. Colour is so intrinsic to the way we feel about a room due to the moods it inspires within us, so your colour scheme requires a little extra thought and consideration. The trick to nailing that put-together magazine feel is try to stick to three, max four colours when assembling your space. If you have a brightly coloured centerpiece in a room, choose a complementary colour to liven up the space in your accents. For example, if you’ve chosen a gorgeous royal blue bed cover, you might choose to add some orange or yellow flowers, vases, candles or a throw into the mix.
If you’re sticking with a more neutral colour palette, a general rule of thumb is choose three shades of a colour (even multiple shades of white) and designate a shade for the walls, one for the main furniture and one for the accessories and accents. How do you decide what colours you want in your home? Have a look at your Pinterest or Instagram saved likes - is there a pattern in the colour schemes that stand out to you? If you’re totally stuck, I offer a deep dive into how to find the perfect colour palette for your personal taste in my How to Style Your Home like a magazine online course.
#2 Highlight your statement pieces
I think a common mistake too many home renovators or aspiring interior stylists make is they go for too many stand-out pieces, which overcomplicates a room and confuses the eye. Mixing furniture styles to complement your statement pieces helps get rid of any bulky or clutteredness. Even if you’re dealing with a very small space, it is likely you will still want a hero piece to be the center of attention.
While it can be tempting when you find a number of gorgeous furniture gems to include as many as possible, the real art of professional interior styling is knowing which piece or pieces is going to be the hero of your space. Is it the stunning vintage love seat or the spectacular modern hanging light installation? Once you’ve found the north star, it is much easier to begin orientating additional pieces around it that will give the space a professionally styled look.
#3 Texture is your best friend
Texture is the secret to elevating a space with ease. If you look at any picture of an interior you like, I can guarantee you will be able to identify some variation in the textiles and materials among the set-up. This is what pleases the eye by creating balance in a space and letting certain elements pop.
How you incorporate texture ultimately impacts the overall mood of your room. Rough textiles like burlap and canvas provide warmth and homeliness as they reflect less light, giving a space an authentic and less intentional feel. Smooth, silky textures like silk and other soft fabrics can help cool down a room for an über chic and modern feel. Playing around with different combinations of textures, patterns and materials creates interest in the room and takes a previously dull space into a whole new level of sophistication! To decorate your home like an interior stylist, keep your eye out for cushions, rugs, curtains & throws with an interesting visual appeal.
#4 Trays, bowls & baskets!
It’s all about the layering. These little detailed additions can do so much for a room, from a fresh bunch of flowers on a kitchen bench to a carefully considered stack of coffee table books. You can bring a lot of personality into a space when you add decorative trays, bowls and baskets. The best part is they’re so lightweight you can constantly rearrange them and swap them out with the seasons or just with your moods to give a space a brand-new feel.
You should play around with different heights in each little vista, creating different levels of interest. For example, a normally eclectic side table becomes an interior styling highlight when the lamp is complemented with a trinket tray to put your jewellery at night and some assorted candles to bring the mood. These arrangements may seem tedious, but it is the layered, decorated feel that gives a room a magazine-worthy aesthetic. If nothing you put together feels or looks right in your space, I would suggest you go back to mastering the foundations of interior styling like I cover in my courses to give you the confidence to create gorgeous and meaningful interiors without a sweat.
#5 Say goodbye to clutter & crap!
Now, this is super important to remember after the last tip. Layering and creation interest with different objects and trinkets is an intentional styling choice - not an excuse to reject function for fashion! Accessorise the empty spaces in a room, but don’t feel the need to add something in every corner on every surface. Otherwise your room will very quickly feel cluttered and stifling, and you’ll reverse that effortless chic charm you’ve been working for in an instant.
It’s all about creating spaces that feel equally functional as they do beautiful. Cutting down on unnecessary belongings and trinkets will automatically elevate a space from feeling cluttered and dull to the magazine-worthy home you’ve always dreamed of. My biggest suggestion - Marie Kondo the heck out of each room before you start planning a style makeover. Work through one room, one cupboard, one item at a time and ask yourself ‘Does this spark joy? Do I see this item as essential to my vision?’ If the answer is no, you have two choices. Get rid of it by donating, chucking or giving away, OR for the things you don’t want visible but don’t have the heart to get rid of, get smarter with your storage spaces. A clean space will do wonders for the overall look and feel of your home, as well as your own mental health!
So there you have it, my 5 key tips when wanting to give your home a makeover like an interior stylist. But these tips are really only the tip of the iceberg. I’ve put my heart and soul into creating the ultimate course on How to Style Your Home like the best, packed with hundreds of tips, tricks and techniques showing how professional stylists make their homes look unique, interesting and magazine worthy - and how your home can look like that too! We’ll get down into the nitty-gritty from finding your personal style whether you like Scandi minimalism or English eccentric maximalism, to creative projects that will give you the freedom to style and restyle your home with confidence! Don’t be afraid to tag me @style_by_lucy on any of your posts if you try these tips out, as I adore seeing how you use these tips in your space.
Feeling motivated to kickstart your interior styling career? Join me and countless other aspiring students in learning the skills and industry tips and tricks to undertake any interior styling challenge. Browse course options here.