Issuu on Google+

Speedy tips, savvy tricks & cool ideas to transform your home

Abigail Ahern

Decorating with

Style


contents Introduction: letting your style evolve; emotive interiors; the wow factor 6

Style Guide: creating a mood board; five key looks 16

Space Matters: open plan rooms; small is beautiful; furniture placement 46 Colour, Pattern, Texture: enhancing neutrals; colour combining; surface appeal 74 Raising the Bar: how to do savvy style on a budget 110 The Details: lighting; artwork; displays; finishing touches 144 Practical Stuff: tool kit essentials; tips and techniques 178 Little Black Book: from the best antique fairs to my favourite online boutiques 184 Index 190 Acknowledgements 192

Decorating with Style

Forget perfection – Decorating with Style gives you the confidence to take risks, embrace what you love, and fill your home with infectiously fabulous stuff: comforting, inviting and imbued with personality. Proving that style has absolutely nothing to do with money, the international design guru Abigail Ahern offers clever, creative ideas alongside a wealth of photos (from the instructive to the gorgeous) and practical advice to help you find your own sense of style. And demonstrates how to take interiors to the next level, with unexpected solutions and a sense of eccentricity; injecting intrigue into a room by mixing and layering different styles and eras; playing around with scale, colour and texture to create an enchanting, idiosyncratic vibe. Packed with insider knowledge, speedy updates and easy DIY projects – that transform affordable furniture and accessories into something you’d see in a designer showroom – this beautifully illustrated guide offers all the tips, tricks and inspiration you need to create a super-cool home. For style aficionados on a budget, interior design just got fun!

Abigail Ahern Designer, stylist, TV presenter, and author of the bestselling tome A Girl’s Guide to Decorating, Abigail Ahern has been heralded as a ‘style spotter extraordinaire’ by The Times newspaper. She is the owner of London store Atelier Abigail Ahern (voted one of the hottest places to shop in the UK by Elle Decoration), and co-presenter of Channel 4’s hit makeover show Get Your House in Order. Renowned for her eclectic, super-exuberant style, her sense of whimsy, and a wholly practical approach to design, Abigail’s interiors have made her famous across the globe. She blogs from the frontline of interior design at abigailahern.wordpress.com, and teaches master classes around the world. She lives in a converted Victorian townhouse in east London with her husband Graham and their two dogs, Maud and Mungo.

£16.99 Hardback ISBN 978 184949 272 0 192pp 248 x 187mm Approx 50,000 words Over 150 colour photographs Publication March 2013

Quadrille Publishing Ltd Alhambra House 27-31 Charing Cross Road London WC2H 0LS www.quadrille.co.uk


eclec�ic

what’s your style? With all the visual stimuli out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Creating a mood board will give you a clear vision of your style right from the get go. Find inspiration in books, magazines, blogs, and web sites (there’s a list of my favourites on page 186), and pull out images you are immediately attracted to. Do any similarities shine through? Are you drawn to rooms that are bold and blingy, modern, eccentric or classic? Don’t worry if the looks don’t match. The more styles you introduce the more intriguing your space will become.

A kaleidoscopic blend of pieces make up eclectic interiors, and literally anything goes – from midcentury modern to pop art to a smidge of baroque. It’s a hard look to pull off since nothing matches yet it’s all got to make perfect sense. A highly creative and innovative style, you bring it together by harmonising and contrasting colour, texture, shape and finish.

CLASSIC With a nod to the past and a wink to the future, classic style is all about balance, symmetry and order. It’s formal, it’s elegant and it’s a style that marries luxe materials (think metallics) with super-glam fabrics (think cashmere and leather). Woods are often dark, furniture often crisp and defined; symmetry abounds.

boho

Boho pads are uninhibited, cosy, cocooning and fabulously idiosyncratic. Comfort is all-important; from deep squishy armchairs to homespun fabrics to the warm hues on the walls. Think rustic and offbeat, with the odd drippy chandelier or jewelled accessory making the whole thing sparkle and shimmer.

GLAM0R0US Glamorous interiors are layered, theatrical, elegant and exotic. From daring palettes to tantalising textiles to exaggerated scale you need to be a little fearless with this style. Go bold with colour or add a little sheen through rich metallics, it’s all about mixing styles from around the globe. Individuality and imagination are key.

rock 'n' roll Rock ’n’ roll interiors set convention aside and push a few boundaries. This is decorating as self-expression. Think furniture in oddball finishes, daring high voltage jolts of colour, salon style art, and playful proportions. It’s bold, it’s blingy and it’s fabulous!


eclec�ic

what’s your style? With all the visual stimuli out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Creating a mood board will give you a clear vision of your style right from the get go. Find inspiration in books, magazines, blogs, and web sites (there’s a list of my favourites on page 186), and pull out images you are immediately attracted to. Do any similarities shine through? Are you drawn to rooms that are bold and blingy, modern, eccentric or classic? Don’t worry if the looks don’t match. The more styles you introduce the more intriguing your space will become.

A kaleidoscopic blend of pieces make up eclectic interiors, and literally anything goes – from midcentury modern to pop art to a smidge of baroque. It’s a hard look to pull off since nothing matches yet it’s all got to make perfect sense. A highly creative and innovative style, you bring it together by harmonising and contrasting colour, texture, shape and finish.

CLASSIC With a nod to the past and a wink to the future, classic style is all about balance, symmetry and order. It’s formal, it’s elegant and it’s a style that marries luxe materials (think metallics) with super-glam fabrics (think cashmere and leather). Woods are often dark, furniture often crisp and defined; symmetry abounds.

boho

Boho pads are uninhibited, cosy, cocooning and fabulously idiosyncratic. Comfort is all-important; from deep squishy armchairs to homespun fabrics to the warm hues on the walls. Think rustic and offbeat, with the odd drippy chandelier or jewelled accessory making the whole thing sparkle and shimmer.

GLAM0R0US Glamorous interiors are layered, theatrical, elegant and exotic. From daring palettes to tantalising textiles to exaggerated scale you need to be a little fearless with this style. Go bold with colour or add a little sheen through rich metallics, it’s all about mixing styles from around the globe. Individuality and imagination are key.

rock 'n' roll Rock ’n’ roll interiors set convention aside and push a few boundaries. This is decorating as self-expression. Think furniture in oddball finishes, daring high voltage jolts of colour, salon style art, and playful proportions. It’s bold, it’s blingy and it’s fabulous!


colour, pattern and texture

Enhancing neutrals I have a confession to make; in the past, I’ve been a little tough with neutral colour schemes and given them a bit of a bad wrap. I guess it’s because, over the years, I’ve seen endless spaces with walls and floors all decorated and coordinated in the same drab palette. Super boring! Neutrals fall into two categories: warm (think taupe, putty, brown and cream) and cool (think grey, blue, stone and white). So when decorating with this palette, the key is to mix the whole thing up – contrast electric blue with, say, taupe; neon lime green with grey; fluro pink with white. You also need to ramp up the interest through shape and texture. Start with the furniture. Partner a retro coffee table with a traditional chesterfield sofa, for example. Or marry a chunky wing back chair with a delicate curvaceous side table. Mix masculine and feminine: graceful and decorative with minimal and sleek. An interplay of different fabrics and surfaces can breathe life into neutral rooms, so cover sofas with throws and cushions; partner silk with velvet, tweed with cotton, faux fur with wool. I bang on about this a lot, but as much visual contrast as possible is key. Smooth, rough, matte, glossy, hard, soft – there is no limit to your choices!

Dazzle

When you enhance neutrals with some oddball shots of colour, the results are truly electrifying. The more layers you add, the more interesting and spontaneous a space becomes. Details bring a space alive; they add luxury, warmth and are a room’s ultimate indulgence!

Experiment

If you’re nervous about making too bold a statement, introduce colour in small ways. Start with an odd wall, an alcove or a transitional area that you are not going to spend a lot of time in. Once you know what you like, push it further, be brave; experiment!


colour, pattern and texture

Enhancing neutrals I have a confession to make; in the past, I’ve been a little tough with neutral colour schemes and given them a bit of a bad wrap. I guess it’s because, over the years, I’ve seen endless spaces with walls and floors all decorated and coordinated in the same drab palette. Super boring! Neutrals fall into two categories: warm (think taupe, putty, brown and cream) and cool (think grey, blue, stone and white). So when decorating with this palette, the key is to mix the whole thing up – contrast electric blue with, say, taupe; neon lime green with grey; fluro pink with white. You also need to ramp up the interest through shape and texture. Start with the furniture. Partner a retro coffee table with a traditional chesterfield sofa, for example. Or marry a chunky wing back chair with a delicate curvaceous side table. Mix masculine and feminine: graceful and decorative with minimal and sleek. An interplay of different fabrics and surfaces can breathe life into neutral rooms, so cover sofas with throws and cushions; partner silk with velvet, tweed with cotton, faux fur with wool. I bang on about this a lot, but as much visual contrast as possible is key. Smooth, rough, matte, glossy, hard, soft – there is no limit to your choices!

Dazzle

When you enhance neutrals with some oddball shots of colour, the results are truly electrifying. The more layers you add, the more interesting and spontaneous a space becomes. Details bring a space alive; they add luxury, warmth and are a room’s ultimate indulgence!

Experiment

If you’re nervous about making too bold a statement, introduce colour in small ways. Start with an odd wall, an alcove or a transitional area that you are not going to spend a lot of time in. Once you know what you like, push it further, be brave; experiment!


raising the bar

Style on a budget Style has absolutely nothing to do with money: in fact I am often at my most creative when budgets are restricted. The trick is to start thinking outside the box. Transform rooms with cheap paint or some super-cool accessories: rethink, reupholster, revamp. From creating your own bespoke blinds (see page 32) to getting the lighting right (page 148), this is called decorating on a shoestring, and I love it!

Top Tip

Tell a story

Your home should tell a story about who you are and what you love. With flea market finds, you can create a look that is completely unique and individual, and easy on the pocket too. Old mirrors, shelving and taxidermy heads shout boho, cool and totally personal. None of it matches and yet it all makes sense.

Back to brown

Brown furniture is one of the cheapest, easiest things to pick up secondhand. The trick to making it look glamorous rather than granny-ish is in the styling. Here a resticted colour palette, and plants, pots and tubs of varying heights provide visual intrigue. And the jewellery hung from a cheap coat hook is a genius idea: first, it adds an interesting layer to the walls and second, it’s super-practical. Brown furniture just got way cooler!

You may not be an exhibitionist but your accessories should be. Embrace humour and quirky items – the odd kitsch figurine, an animal inspired accessory or some supersized lights will add a vital dose of life to an interior. Too much tastefulness is dull and too much fun is tacky, it’s all about getting the balance right.


raising the bar

Style on a budget Style has absolutely nothing to do with money: in fact I am often at my most creative when budgets are restricted. The trick is to start thinking outside the box. Transform rooms with cheap paint or some super-cool accessories: rethink, reupholster, revamp. From creating your own bespoke blinds (see page 32) to getting the lighting right (page 148), this is called decorating on a shoestring, and I love it!

Top Tip

Tell a story

Your home should tell a story about who you are and what you love. With flea market finds, you can create a look that is completely unique and individual, and easy on the pocket too. Old mirrors, shelving and taxidermy heads shout boho, cool and totally personal. None of it matches and yet it all makes sense.

Back to brown

Brown furniture is one of the cheapest, easiest things to pick up secondhand. The trick to making it look glamorous rather than granny-ish is in the styling. Here a resticted colour palette, and plants, pots and tubs of varying heights provide visual intrigue. And the jewellery hung from a cheap coat hook is a genius idea: first, it adds an interesting layer to the walls and second, it’s super-practical. Brown furniture just got way cooler!

You may not be an exhibitionist but your accessories should be. Embrace humour and quirky items – the odd kitsch figurine, an animal inspired accessory or some supersized lights will add a vital dose of life to an interior. Too much tastefulness is dull and too much fun is tacky, it’s all about getting the balance right.


howaddto

flair to your stairs

A fabulous way to spruce up your hallway is to wallpaper the stair risers. Use leftover paper from a previous project, vintage patterns or buy a one-off extraordinary roll!

Shopping List • Wallpaper • Wallpaper paste • Retractable tape measure • Scissors • Craft knife • Paint brush • Decorator’s varnish (optional)

1. Measure each rise separately and cut the wallpaper to fit exactly.

2. To prep the stairs, give them a quick once over with warm soapy water.

Top Tip Embrace pattern – it will make the risers feel far more intriguing than if you simply opted for a textured paper. And take care to choose a pattern that works within the space of the risers.

3. Apply paste to the back of the

wallpaper and adhere each strip, starting in the corner and working across and down with your fingers as you go. Wipe off any paste with a sponge and run a brush over to smooth out bubbles.

4. Once the glue has dried, it’s a good idea to apply a special decorator’s varnish (for wallpapered surfaces) for added protection against scuffing toes.


contents Introduction: letting your style evolve; emotive interiors; the wow factor 6

Style Guide: creating a mood board; five key looks 16

Space Matters: open plan rooms; small is beautiful; furniture placement 46 Colour, Pattern, Texture: enhancing neutrals; colour combining; surface appeal 74 Raising the Bar: how to do savvy style on a budget 110 The Details: lighting; artwork; displays; finishing touches 144 Practical Stuff: tool kit essentials; tips and techniques 178 Little Black Book: from the best antique fairs to my favourite online boutiques 184 Index 190 Acknowledgements 192

Decorating with Style

Forget perfection – Decorating with Style gives you the confidence to take risks, embrace what you love, and fill your home with infectiously fabulous stuff: comforting, inviting and imbued with personality. Proving that style has absolutely nothing to do with money, the international design guru Abigail Ahern offers clever, creative ideas alongside a wealth of photos (from the instructive to the gorgeous) and practical advice to help you find your own sense of style. And demonstrates how to take interiors to the next level, with unexpected solutions and a sense of eccentricity; injecting intrigue into a room by mixing and layering different styles and eras; playing around with scale, colour and texture to create an enchanting, idiosyncratic vibe. Packed with insider knowledge, speedy updates and easy DIY projects – that transform affordable furniture and accessories into something you’d see in a designer showroom – this beautifully illustrated guide offers all the tips, tricks and inspiration you need to create a super-cool home. For style aficionados on a budget, interior design just got fun!

Abigail Ahern Designer, stylist, TV presenter, and author of the bestselling tome A Girl’s Guide to Decorating, Abigail Ahern has been heralded as a ‘style spotter extraordinaire’ by The Times newspaper. She is the owner of London store Atelier Abigail Ahern (voted one of the hottest places to shop in the UK by Elle Decoration), and co-presenter of Channel 4’s hit makeover show Get Your House in Order. Renowned for her eclectic, super-exuberant style, her sense of whimsy, and a wholly practical approach to design, Abigail’s interiors have made her famous across the globe. She blogs from the frontline of interior design at abigailahern.wordpress.com, and teaches master classes around the world. She lives in a converted Victorian townhouse in east London with her husband Graham and their two dogs, Maud and Mungo.

£16.99 Hardback ISBN 978 184949 272 0 192pp 248 x 187mm Approx 50,000 words Over 150 colour photographs Publication March 2013

Quadrille Publishing Ltd Alhambra House 27-31 Charing Cross Road London WC2H 0LS www.quadrille.co.uk


Speedy tips, savvy tricks & cool ideas to transform your home

Abigail Ahern

Decorating with

Style


Decorating with Style