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Mix up Japanese teacups and plates in traditional and modern styles
Mix up Japanese teacups and plates in traditional and modern styles

Are you the sort of person that likes to be told what to do?  Me neither!

At this time of year there are a lot of articles around, in interior design magazines and blogs, telling you everything from what colours are ‘in’, which decade you’re supposed to be reviving and that those expensive tiles you got for your kitchen last year are no longer in style.

Of course I realize that these articles are well intentioned and meant to inspire us which is all well and good if you’re starting from scratch and looking for direction.  

But they present you with such perfect images of fully coordinated rooms that they can make your own efforts feel tatty and, well, lived in.  Keeping up with the latest trends can also be expensive and encourages us to get rid of things that are still perfectly functional.

When it comes to home décor, I think it’s very important to develop your own style and feel comfortable in your home rather than follow anyone else’s rules.  I like to think that my approach is a bit gentler and my philosophy tends to be “If you like it, then why not!” 

Brightly coloured cup and plates

Personally, I love bright colours and cute designs but I’m not a big fan of clutter.  Therefore, I tend to start out with fairly neutral colours and modern designs for the big expensive items, like sofas, carpets and tables and then use splashes colour, quirky patterns and interesting designs to inject personality and warmth. 

These touches could come in the form of textiles like cushions, table linen, teatowels and table mats and other things that you use around the house like kitchen utensils, plates, mugs and other crockery.  In my home office, I always try to get a cute Ghibli Japanese desk diary each year along with other cool notebooks and stationery.  I guess a plain notepad would work just the same but it wouldn’t feel so nice to use!

Lamps, vases and baskets are other inexpensive ways to make your home feel comfortable and individual.  I'm sure you can think of a million other things.

So here are my ‘interior design’ tips to make sure you enjoy spending time at home:

  • Create a cosy space where you can feel relaxed

Sometimes it’s just the small touches that make a home feel comfortable:  The particular shape of a cup, patterns inspired by nature or a texture that you love.  By the same token, if there’s something you’ve ended up with that you dislike, or you feel like you’ve accumulated too much stuff, then maybe it’s time for a trip to the charity shop.

  • Choose colours and patterns that make you feel happy

I wouldn’t spend too much time worrying about what colours and styles are in fashion at any particular moment.  The most important thing is do you like it?  Does it suit your own taste?  If you go with a style that’s the latest trend but doesn’t fit with your own personality, chances are you’ll be changing it pretty soon.

  • Mixing up styles and colours is fine, just call it eclectic!

Who wants to live in a house where everything matches?  Imagine how hard that’s going to be when you break something.  You can create a very cool, curated look when you mix and match different pieces, even if it turns out you just threw it all together!



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