Now that we are in Winter, it may just be the perfect time for redesigning your interior. I caught up with Sarah Foote, from Sarah Foote Design, to talk about easy ways to make your home look amazing.
What are some easy things people can do to make their interiors look more interesting?
For your walls, a great way to add interest is to get an oversized pair of ( A0 preferably ) prints framed for your walls. In this picture, the two black and white prints are what give this monochromatic interior some personality. It is an easy update and something you can have fun with.
Grouping mirrors as pairs at the end of a wall reflects light and adds symmetry and visual interest. Also three can work well together on a large wall.
Start thinking about interesting ways of grouping things you love. For example instead of a single vase on a console – group three of different heights of your favourite vases with long lasting dried flowers next to a stack of your favourite books. Have fun and experiment with different shapes and sizes.
Great lighting can really transform a room – I would start with adding some lamps ( floor and table) to add mood and interest to a space. With beautiful materials like brass and stone they will look just as great during the day as at night.
One of the easiest ways to add some layers to your interiors. Always use a feather inner to plump up the cushion (make sure the inner is a size up from the outer) to add a luxe feel to the space.
Do you feel there is one solution that fits all?
Not really – there are certain elements that can underpin what makes an interior appealing. Some colours work better together for example size and room dimensions are important but these are the foundations and then it’s just as important to layer in personality. It’s what we don’t see every day that we are drawn to and what makes a home interesting.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I actually get really inspired by materials. It may be a piece of furniture, a gorgeous fabric or a tile for example and then I get inspiration as I come up with a scheme around it. For example I saw these basins for a client which they loved and then we built the bathroom scheme around them.
Was another example of how to incorporate these organic stacked wall tiles as the hero and adding in simple tones to complement them. ( See bathroom above)
Outside of that I spend probably far too much time online looking at architecture/fashion designers and interiors.
However I find it can be overwhelming for people looking at Pinterest or Instagram wading through hundreds of images – I find it is best to select some key images of how you want your house to look and feel and go from there. When you see something you like, refer back to your key images and see if the item will add to creating this or not.
In NZ we have a limited number of easily accessible shops both in-person and online. How do you approach this?
There are a number of amazing wholesale furniture showrooms which as interior designers we are lucky to be able to access to source great products for our clients. We also have some talented amazing local furniture makers in New Zealand.
However I can appreciate this could be an issue and my best advice is to get creative on where you are looking – I am always keeping an eye on what our auction houses have and sometimes I find the perfect piece by chance and at a great price. Or scouring TradeMe and it’s a good idea to set an alert for categories you are interested in. Often it can take a bit of patience but something will come up when you least expect it – That’s almost half the fun! Building an interior you love takes time, be patient and wait for the right items to come along will make for a better end result.
How do you achieve a home that is modern but still feels “homey”?
Texture and layering! Once you have what I call the anchor pieces (for example the sofa and occasional chairs in a lounge) start looking at shapes and materials in your other items that add some contrast and softness to the room.
Also try to shop around and take your time. In the living room never feel you should match your sofa and occasional chairs for example – get pieces that co-ordinate but are different enough to add some personality to the space.
My golden rule is to never buy furniture that isn’t comfortable – a room should look put together but not up tight – you want to feel like you can relax in the space.
What are the small things you feel most people seem to forget to add when moving in/renovating/building their home?
Entrances – these are so important for setting the tone for the house and also a place to have a bit of fun. Even in a traditional house I will often add tiles to create an entrance that feels special for the owners.
Another one is ensuring you set aside some budget to furnish your outside areas. As Kiwis, we love being outside so I like to treat the space as I would an inside living room. There are some great outdoor rugs that really help to ground and define the area as a starting point then add in your furniture like you would inside.