Great rooms with great furniture and why they work; Why those fab lights? Dark floors? Luxe wallpaper? These 8 top interior designers let us in on the reasons for their super-stylish decorating choices
Living room decoration with Justine Hugh-Jones
Justine Hugh-Jones, Justine Hugh- Jones Design
A favourite space from interior designer Justine Hugh-Jones’s portfolio is this living room. As it’s in a holiday home, Justine created a space that invited “complete relaxation”.
“It had to be a spacious seating area that encouraged conversation, but also could be used to watch TV,” she explains. “I wanted a casual, attractive look, but one that also was elegant – and didn’t need lots of arranging to look tidy!”
Living room furniture
The long, deep, pale linen sofa or best recliners chair was chosen, along with cushions, for maximum comfort. And a large rustic timbertopped coffee table was selected to introduce another texture and “ambience” to the space. “I chose the coffee table for its lightness in design, with the thin metal and open box frame,” Justine says. “Also, with its weathered pale timber, the style suits a relaxed beach house.” While a white paint palette keeps the room looking fresh – and contrasts beautifully with the natural linen – cushions, rug and throw in a French ink blue add warmth to the neutral tones. The rug also softens the white floorboards. A few subtle, interesting patterns were also introduced to the scheme in the striped Missoni throw and the Chinoiserie-style patterned cushions.
Glass jars and a pewter-coloured stool bring reflective surfaces to the space, bouncing light around the room, and adding a different type of texture, too. The stool doubles up as a side table or extra seating. Immensely comfortable, effortlessly good-looking.
How about the living room design with Abigail Ahern
Abigail Ahern, Atelier Abigail Ahern
“Make this living room as inviting and snug as possible” was the brief to hot UK designer Abigail Ahern. “So against a super-inky backdrop – where walls and floors are painted in the same hue – we added high-voltage pops of colour,” Abigail explains. Colour is fundamental when decorating with a dark base note, she adds. “It evokes emotion, and adds drama and excitement to a space.” Abigail sourced a classic B&B Italia sofa then purposely “threw it off balance” by adding the vivid pink coffee table and yellow artwork and pendant light. She mixed vintage finds with modern classics, with texture key – wool cushions contrast beautifully with the glossy coffee table and shiny floors. “I wanted nothing to match but for it all to make sense,” she says. Abigail likes to combine a traditional approach with a generous injection of personality in her interiors – hence the quirky lights, bright accessories and the bohemian hand-painted bookcase wallpaper. Sassy and unexpected.
Home design with Sara Silm
Sara Silm, HOME Design, Editorial & Styling
Makingbeautiful.com.au Sara Silm can’t remember a time when she wasn’t designing something. “I think designing is a state of mind; it’s not something that you can switch on or off,” she says.
“Designers seem to file design cues and inspiration every minute of the day – even the most mundane things are inspirational,” Sara says. “The other day I was pegging out the washing and found the perfect colour scheme for a kitchen I’m working on – an inky-navy-blue and white striped shirt and a tangerine peg – a magic solution for an upholstered banquette seating and cushions!”
Favourite rooms Sara has designed include this bathroom (pictured). “To me, it feels like a nest,” she explains. “The bath is like an egg – to lie in and contemplate life and all its mysteries.”
To further enhance this cocooning effect, Sara uses dark grey tiles and a charcoal textured rug to envelop the white bath. The plant and artworks bring a serene ambience to the space.
Furniture and interior design with Waller
Andrew Waller, Andrew Waller Design
While a space should be appropriate to the time it is being built, it shouldn’t be slave to current fashions, says Andrew Waller, a furniture and interior architect, who favours a structured but “not designed” look, which is apparent in this kitchen that he recently designed for a client’s warehouse conversion.
Cool kitchen decor
While the vintage metal pendant light and reclaimed stainless-steel commercial benchtops give the kitchen its cool, clean and industrial air, the deer antler “artwork” above the doorway, quirky imitation bronze retro lamp and rustic timber stools inject a generous dose of personality.
The predominantly grey palette extends to the translucent glass windows, selected for privacy, and the painted concrete floor. White trims on the recycled windows and doors provide a smart contrast.
“My designs are a result of the balance between function, budget, aesthetic and the client,” Andrew says.
Elegant style home design with Hoppen
Kelly Hoppen, Kelly Hoppen Interiors
“Timeless elegance” is the best way to describe the style of top UK designer Kelly Hoppen, which is no more evident than in her own harmonious living room (pictured above), with its clean lines, neutral tones and sumptuous textures.
“The design will stand the test of time,” Kelly explains. “It will not date and will always look chic. My style is simple yet opulent, combining the styles of the Eastern and Western worlds,” she adds. Kelly believes that your home needs to say “how happy and comfortable you are in the most chic way possible!”. And Kelly’s home is talking. While the dramatic juxtaposition of white curtains with a black mirror gives a unique and sexy feel to the space, vintage lights and furniture imbue a sense of history and depth. Luscious fabrics in furniture and soft furnishings – such as linen and velvet – add further feelings of comfort and warmth, while round bronze stools lend an “organic” touch to the sophisticated space.
The hero piece, though, is the sumptuous, high-gloss, vintage triangular coffee table, complete with vases of glorious full-blown white blooms. Perfection incarnate!
Clean and minimal bathroom design with Hoy
Brian Hoy, Brian Hoy Design
Interior designer Brian Hoy has designed a clean and minimal bathroom, layered with different finishes that stop it appearing “fl at”. The bathroom was extended onto a small balcony, which had a lower, angled ceiling. “I lowered the ceiling to conceal the angle over the wet zone, which, in turn, defines this area well,” Brian says. The black recess in the lower ceiling conceals the exhaust fan and lighting.
To add dimension to the space, Brian hung the vanity sink on a large mirror, which makes it appear to be floating. A Boffi pendant light is both functional and decorative, and adds a focal point. And a Boffi glass shelf wall unit is handy for small items.
The client collects art, so there is a gallery feel throughout the house, which is extended to the bathroom with the glossy, warm-grey plinth and coral display. And a piece of furniture, such as the Brian-designed Caspian stool, always features in his bathrooms. “It helps soften the hard finish and lines,” Brian explains. Minimum style, maximum chic.
Interior design TV show
Stacey Kouros, Stacey Kouros Design
A contestant on Channel Nine’s interior design TV show homeMade, Stacey Kouros has created a comfortable, open and retro-glam kitchen for a fun, young family.
“The clients have a love for retro, particularly the 1970s, so the choice of finishes and colours reflects a modern and newly built home with hints of retro glam,” she explains.
The main feature finish in the kitchen is the stunning Santos Palisander timber-veneer wall and cupboard doors, which give the space a fabulous retro vibe. This provides a warm contrast to the dramatic, gloss-black overhead cupboards. The simple, functional, white CaesarStone benchtop offsets the magnificent island bench, which is wrapped in Calcutta marble “for a hint of glam”. But hanging above the kitchen island is the piece de resistance in this interior – a 1970s Murano glass chandelier. “This pendant light is a dramatic feature, further dramatised by its reflection in the black-gloss overhead cupboards,” Stacey says. Polished chrome rods form a decorative screen between the kitchen and the stairs – and also serve as a balustrade. Fab and fun!
Design and Colour scheme for bedroom with Weston
Scott Weston, Scott Weston Architecture Design
A client’s Art Deco jewellery collection inspired the design and colour scheme of this bedroom, which gives a subtle but contemporary nod to this design era, says architect and designer Scott Weston. The deep raspberry was based on semiprecious stones in the collection. Scott has “cocooned” the room in this colour, which features on walls and joinery.