Stylist Notebook 4: Autumnal Ochre

Creating a room that is vibrant and stylish but also relaxing relies on a few elements. Comfortable furniture, an inviting colour scheme and a floor that evokes relaxation, underfoot comfort and a feeling of subtle luxury – we find out how to make it happen! 

How do you begin to design a room scheme like this – it’s very original but still comfortable looking?

When designing a room it’s always good to create a mood board and play around with colours and looks. Whether you just want to collate tear sheets on a notice board or create something digital – it really is the best starting point as it allows you to get a real feel for the scheme you are creating.

This wall colour is quite brave how do you know it’s going to work?

Once you’ve created a mood board and you know the kind of look you’re going for – you then need to decide how far you will take the scheme. As far as wall colours go and even the most experienced stylists and interior designers can get it wrong – so don’t be afraid to change your mind. If a colour is too strong – simply take it down a notch and use a paler tone. We used a warm, vibrant colour for contrast called Flower Pot from Earthborn Paints

The carpet is very neutral – why not use a paler shade of terracotta on the floor?

Generally speaking, it works well if you use muted tones on the walls if the flooring is quite strong or – as in this case, you use your colour on the walls and keep the flooring neutral which will create an even balance in the scheme. Too much colour can be overpowering and hard to live with so if you are investing in a new carpet, take your time to choose the colour wisely - it’s much easier to repaint your walls when you want to create a new look! 

How come nothing in the room matches but it still looks co-ordinated? How easy is it to make that work – are there any design rules to follow to achieve this effect?

Creating an ‘eclectic’ look is not as hard as it seems. Co-ordinate the room by colour and bring it all together with one constant in the room – the neutrally toned carpet. The soft, muted carpet is the perfect platform to showcase the eclectic collection of furniture and accessories. 

There is a large bunch of dried foliage in the room. Why would you choose something like that over a fresh, living, green fern or palm?

Use natural, interesting, sculptural plants like dried eucalyptus, large stemmed cowslips and twigs – they work beautifully and create a stunning feature in a room. Unless you’re prepared to spend a tidy sum per stem on dried foliage – go into the woods and forage! Now until late October is the best time for finding your ideal autumnal stems!  Living or fake palms or ferns would work in this room but wouldn’t be quite as dramatic – if you’re looking for something green and living – think about cactus and succulents.

Stylist Tips:

  1. Keep your mood board realistic to the space you want to design. Think about what will suit the room, can you adapt the style and will it work – otherwise you may have an interior space that looks like a stage set and will raise a few eyebrows….but not in the right way.
  2. Decide whether you’ll go for colour in your carpet or on the walls. If you have a small space to design – keep the floors light or neutral and choose a mid-tone for the walls – unless you’re after drama …then you can probably go with a more moody wall colour.
  3. If there isn’t a strong light source in the room (big windows or doors) then you may be better to stick to more neutral coloured furniture and add punchy coloured cushions, throws and artwork to add personality.

Stylists Secrets:

  1. If you don’t want the expense of changing a sofa to match your room scheme, just add a throw, allow it to cover the bulk of the area and then add a few coordinating cushions.
  2. Look at things you already have, perhaps you could paint an existing piece of furniture to match your new scheme. Have a look at Annie Sloane Chalk Paint
  3. If you are short on budget and you’re looking for some new art for your walls – make your own - take a look at here for some great ideas!
  4. When designing a new scheme, look at the space you have and work out what you want to create. Invest in high value areas such as carpet and furniture and use paint to set your scene (it is the most inexpensive way to make a big change) and finally add personality with your accessories.  Interior design and styling is all about expression…so, go ahead and express yourself!