In the great room , a row of French doors affords panoramic views of the Hudson Valley. The couple’s French spaniel, Georgie, rests on a custom velvet sofa. Collins purchased the antique console, wooden chest, and wingback chairs on trips to Italy. The 19th-century limestone columns are from New Delhi, the custom lanterns and laurel reed–and-leather rug are from Morocco, the pendant above the sofa was fashioned from an antique Italian tole lantern.
LIGHT & SHEER : It's important to consider the amount of sunlight a room gets when selecting the color of your curtains. If the room gets a lot of light, it's best to avoid bright colors, since they tend to fade faster.
Dining tables often get squeezed in as an afterthought, but it’s worth thinking carefully about how much space you need to avoid bumping elbows while you eat. The ideal dining table height is 74cm, with 45cm of leg room and 75cm of space between the table and the wall so you can get up and sit down comfortably. Each place setting should be about 65cm wide.
Repeating shapes throughout a scheme is a subtle way to help the human brain read a space as a harmonious whole. Here, for example, a selection of rectangles – in the pictures, sofa and scatter cushions – echo one another, as do the pair of round mirrors, round coffee table and vase. The central ampersand purposefully disrupts the repetition so the scheme doesn’t become too predictable.
The colour wheel is an interior design essential. It can help you to plan your colour pairings or guide you out of a design rut when you’re struggling for inspiration. Use it to help you come up with complementary schemes (using colours from opposite sides of the wheel), analogous schemes (using colours next to each other on the wheel) or bolder schemes such as split complementary or triadic, which use three colours.
Want a failsafe way to proportion a three-colour scheme? Stick to 60% for your dominant colour, 30% for your secondary colour and 10% for your accent colour and you’ll find it hard to go wrong. To add a fourth colour into the mix, split the secondary colour or, at a push, the dominant colour, but never the accent.
What’s the best way to make the most of a dark room? The instinctive answer might be to paint it bright white to reflect as much light as possible. But this can give a dingy room an off-putting, grey-ish tone that feels needlessly gloomy. Instead, embrace the dark side and paint your walls in deep, rich hues to create an irresistibly cosy scheme that draws you in. Lighten the mood with a few bright accents and make sure you include plenty of layered lighting.
You don’t have to spend hours scouring through pretty pictures of interiors to find your dream scheme. Look around and you’ll start to see inspiration everywhere – from the soothing texture of pebbles on a beach to petrol shimmering in a forecourt puddle. Take photos and use them to help you create a concept board to inform your design. This living room draws on the coastal landscape, from the lobster-pot light fitting to the whitewashed wood walls.
Combining different patterns in the same room can be tricky, but a good tip is to use varying patterns in similar colours, or the same pattern but in varying scales. For example, try small florals mixed with big blowsy blooms, or go for bold geo shapes in different colourways as shown here.
When it comes to art, it’s a very much a case of the bigger the better. You can fake it to some extent by clustering smaller pictures into a gallery wall, but nothing compares to an oversized artwork that grabs your attention the moment you step into a room. Double up and place two complementery pieces next to (instead of over) a fireplace for maximum impact. If oversized art is outside of your budget, trying offsetting a smaller piece above a sideboard or sofa – hanging it centrally will make it look lost.