Rules of decorating

Feb 26, 2018 | Anoushka's Blog, Interior design and decoration

Hi Guys. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the styling that happens for professional photo’s and how the before and after shots are so damn impressive. I mean to be honest it’s not hard to make a big difference with the before and afters. For one the before shots are usually taken on a mobile phone, no attempt has been made to tidy, de-clutter or even ‘style’. But what’s bothered me more is the unrealistic after shots, where rooms are styled for glossy mags or online social media. When you look closely you just know that no one lives like that, and sometimes it’s obvious that due to the styling or placement of pieces it doesn’t practically work either.

So what I wanted to talk about today is how to style to live. I’m doing a course at the moment on styling for phytophagy, and my goodness it’s so different from the styling that I do at the end of a project to handover to the client as a beautiful by practical home that reflects their personality. So here are my key rules if you want to decorate your home and actually live there!

Focal Point

I’ve said it before I’ll say is again start with your feature piece. This could be a beautiful old sideboard, or a favourite piece of art. Then build your design from there. The easiest way to tie in the feature piece is by repeating the material (say timber) or colour (if a bold artwork) into one or two other pieces within the room. For instance, pull the colour from the artwork into your rug or cushions.

Coral pink in the artwork gets repeated in this interior 2 or 3 times


This is so often an after thought, and I’m not talking downlights I’m thinking feature pendant lights, floor lights and table lights. These are the levels of lighting when mixed well create a lovely ambience in a room. Tie in the materials in your lighting with the rest of your design, think about using floor lights to create areas with height and scale, and table lights can be used to carve out a little reading area or nook – very Hygge!

Floor light in this corner creates some height


Again really important and often missed. I do think hardware can add to decoration significantly from the doors knobs and handles you choose for your cabinetry, to the curtain poles for your window coverings tie them in. I’m about to use some beautiful handmade tan leather door knobs with feature stitching in a teenage boys’ bedroom on a robe. For me these will really stand out and to be honest I’ve tied so many items back to these, they really play a big role in the design.

Leather door knobs from mademeasure


Again this is something that so many get wrong and usually it’s the size of the rug that’s not working. I walk into so many homes and the rug is too small for the room. So what are the rules for rug placement? Always ensure that if you’re talking a lounge room you either make the rug as big as your room minus 500mm in from each wall, or large enough so that you can place the front legs of all of our seating onto the rug to anchor it (that goes for sofa’s and occasional chairs). If it’s a bedroom I like to have at least 700mm either side of the bed showing, ideally 1000mm.

Fun round rug anchors the furniture in this cosey nook


Yes, they are important, and no don’t skip this step. Even if it’s just a couple of larger cushions that you add to your sofa or bed it will make all the difference to create interest. It’s your chance to bring in colour, pattern, or texture…maybe all three!

The new Weave Home collection by Warwick Fabrics

Décor pieces

And finally the small stuff. When I’m styling a home I like to start my clients off with a theme or a hint at their personality. So it might be a focus on mixing metals, or it could be playing with colour. Recently I had a client that loved elephants so I picked up a pair of amazing elephant bookends and built from there. Then this should be something to build on and collect pieces through your travels and weekends at the markets. Each little cluster of items should tell a story, a story about you. Don’t try too hard, let things naturally fall into place and if something is bothering you it’s probably not working so try it somewhere else.

If you’d like to book a décor and styling consultation in with me contact me on and let’s see what we can create together.

NOTE: Images used under Fair Use, and the above commentary is a personal view and not commercial in nature, and were sourced from a variety of online sources and personal archives.

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