By Kelly Hoppen
The key to creating a calming yet uplifting interior is to achieve a sense of harmony. It is not purely about letting your creativity run free, it is also about the layering and interplay between the elements of the room.
Creating a space that makes you feel good comes not from individual items but from the overall effect. The finished interior should pay equal consideration to symmetry and balance, scale, impact and juxtaposition.
I love working with open plan spaces but it can be challenging to balance style with practicality. For example, the reception room of this six-bedroom home in Portsea, near Melbourne, Australia, on the market for A$5.2m ($4.06m), drew my attention because it is an amazing open living space and has a huge amount of natural light coming in through the glass doors and windows. However, more could be done to enhance the living experience.
Use the floor
Flooring offers enormous scope for introducing contrasting textures and materials, and zoning a space. The colour of the floor in this room is too orange and toning down the shade to make it more neutral will help to contrast it against the dining furniture, wall finish and window treatment to create a more harmonious space.
Adding a very large rug between the kitchen and dining areas would warm the space. My choice is Nanimarquina’s Black on White Estambul rug (£2,106 from Nest), which would help create a sense of unity between the lounge and the dining room.
Adding wrought iron poles with simple linen curtains would instantly add warmth to the space as there are currently no layers against the white walls. I also suggest taking off some cushions from the sofas and picking more neutral colours and natural fabrics, such as linen, or adding a pop of colour with navy stripes. Cushions with central bands in contrasting textures and accent colours work well in a neutral scheme like this and are an easy yet efficient way of adding warmth and style. I would introduce the Ashton arm chair by Peter Danko ($816), made from remnant seatbelt material, to add another layer of texture to the room.
Draw the eye
The fireplace is the focal point in this space but there are other elements that can be added to tease the senses such as art, photography and even a clock above the fireplace. These all add character and personality to an area.
When working with large open spaces such as this, it is a good idea to introduce physical boundaries between zones. The console behind the sofa is key and to make a statement I would suggest placing on its surface a plaster lamp by Rose Uniacke (£2,256) with ceramic accessories from 101 Copenhagen. This set-up will help to create a better sense of separation between the lounge and dining area.
Think about lighting
Lighting should be regarded as another layer that accentuates the characteristics of textures; it helps bring out nuances of colour and tone, adds a sense of theatre through light and shade, and creates a feeling of warmth.
Lighting must be planned according to the layout of the room and, in this case, a beautiful large low-level light such as the Love Me Not pendant by Pascale Girardin ($6,000 from Juniper) over the side table would bring a touch of drama to the conversation area, while some slim standing lights would also work well in this scheme.
For the dining area, hanging lights placed above the table would help to create a cosy ambience. I am a firm believer in making a statement here, as this is a great way to give presence to a dining zone and imbue it with its own identity.
Invest in statement pieces
The furniture and objects you choose, and how you arrange them, are a key part of creating a balanced interior. As the coffee table is at the centre of the conversation area, it should be more of a statement piece. A different shape would enhance the symmetry created by the position of the sofas and bring more balance to the room. I would also pick a different texture to give a more modern look.
The table and chairs are the star pieces in a dining space and set the style for the rest of the furnishings. Here, I would change the table for the Aqua round dining table by Fabrice Berrux (£7,320 from Roche Bobois) and pick chairs with a more angular, modern look to create greater impact.
Photography: Pal Hansen; Peninsula Sotheby's International Realty; Nest.co.uk