A home is like a wardrobe: to a certain degree, how you decorate it comes down to personal taste. But there are rules for making your home look better. Much like it’s sacrilege to fasten the bottom button of your blazer, it’s a crime to clutter your flat with stuff that makes it look worse than when it was unfurnished.

So to help guide you in the art of decorating your domicile, we hit up six interiors experts for their need-to-know tips. Come on in.

Make It Your Own

“Start with a blank canvas and let your personality come through the things you love,” says Geraldine James, Selfridges’ Home buyer and interiors expert. “If you have a passion for music or art, make that the focus of the room. If you love to cook or entertain, invest in professional, sleek cook- and dining ware that you’ll enjoy using and will want to leave on show.

“Picking just a few key pieces that are important to you will create more space and a modern feel whilst still reflecting your character.”

Get Lit

“Lighting can make or break a space,” says Rob Owen, senior interior designer at the Manser Practice. “Many modern spaces tend to have a vast array of ceiling downlights, which don’t create any drama as the light they offer is too uniform.

“Using a variety of task lamps, table lamps and floor lamps around the space will allow you to control the mood you are trying to achieve.”

Test The Walls

“When you’re thinking about repainting a room, be brave,” says interior designer Adam Bray. “Think about how you really want to live; if you have a burning desire for an ink black bedroom, go for it.

“It’s really important to live with a colour for a while so it’s worth buying sample pots and a roll of lining paper, painting as much as you can be bothered, and then pinning the paper up and seeing how the colour is at different times of the day or night [before committing to a colour].”

It’s All In The Fit

“With space at a premium, maximise yours with fitted furniture,” advises interior design duo Jordan Cluroe & Russell Whitehead AKA 2 Lovely Gays. “Go as big as you can, fill in alcoves from floor to ceiling, and paint them the same colour as your walls to exaggerate the sense of space.

“Likewise, go fitted with mirrors, fill in void spaces from floor to ceiling, it’s something of a ‘shop fit’ approach but looks amazing in a home setting.”

Know The Difference Between ‘Need’ And ‘Want’

“When choosing pieces for your space, start gradually keeping [the difference between] ‘needs’ and ‘luxuries’ in mind,” says Geraldine James. “Consider your budgets to make sure you have the basics: there’s no point splashing out on a £5k sofa and then having no dining table!

“Pinterest and moodboards are a great way of laying out the pieces you’re interested in and will help you create an overall theme for your interior. This can also be a good way of editing down all those impulse decisions and selecting just a few really amazing pieces.”

Mix It Up

“Avoid matchy-matchy furniture sets – the three-piece lounge suite should be left in the 1970s,” says Tom Chalet, marketing manager at luxury carpet etailer Designer Carpet.

“Instead, experiment using different materials in the same room to add layers of interest. A velvet sofa, woollen cocktail chair and marble coffee table on top of a Berber rug will be far more appealing than a leather sofa suite and coffee table to match the dining set.”

(Colour) Contrast Is Key

“A room can be multi-coloured,” says Timothy James Burden, creative director at Liller Interior. “You don’t have to streamline everything in one or two colours.”

Burden suggests layering tones e.g. a dark wood floor teamed with a pale grey rug, brown leather sofa and lighter coloured cushions.

Look Up

“The ceiling is generally the largest un-interrupted space in any room – and often the most forgotten!” say Cluroe and Whitehead.

“We love to use colour and pattern on ceilings. It can have a huge impact and totally transform the way a space feels and functions. Ignoring a ceiling is like putting on a great suit and forgetting to style your hair!”


Cillian O’Connor is a freelance writer, editor and consultant, best known for his ability to sort the wheat from the chaff in the world’s of men’s style, grooming, lifestyle and design.

Once named the No. 1 Blogger by Vogue, Cillian also contributes to The Sunday Times, The Business of Fashion and Metro.