Sophie Paterson’s Top 10 Interior Design Rules |

Sophie Paterson’s Top 10 Interior Design Rules

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When it comes to interior design, Sophie Paterson is our go-to for impeccable taste and industry knowledge – something her 115k Insta followers would certainly attest to. One of the UK’s most successful interior designers, Sophie works on a range of high-end projects from her eponymous studio. Her signature style is chic, contemporary and undeniably glamorous, so who better to share her top 10 tips for achieving a flawless finish at home?

Get a floorplan

Have a floorplan drawn up to scale of the rooms you’re decorating, and invest in a scale ruler so you can design the best layout possible to maximise your space. Most people aren't that good at visualisation – clients will often ask me whether a piece of furniture will fit when it’s either far too big or small. If you see a beautiful piece for your home, you’ll easily be able to check size by using a floorplan and will avoid making an expensive mistake!

Double check your choices

Make sure you double check your paints, wallpapers and fabrics on-site, as colours can change drastically depending on the light in your space. We will always test out finishes inside the home before ordering. Contractors often think we’re a bit mad holding up fabric swatches in the middle of a building site, but again it is always worth checking. 

Make a moodboard 

Create a moodboard with all the fabrics, finishes and images of the furniture you are planning to use in your space to make sure they all work well together. This will ensure you achieve a much more cohesive finish. You don't necessarily have to do this in the traditional way – you can create one on your phone using an app such as picCollage or Pinterest.

Don't rush

Before we start designing any project, we do a lot of research to understand exactly what the client wants for the space and explore different design solutions. Once a design scheme is finished, I keep my mood boards out and tweak them for a few days before we present them to the client. What seems perfect initially can often be improved if you look at it again with fresh eyes, helping to make the effect better and better. 

Mix things up

I like to mix different styles of furniture, upholstery and accessories. We’re currently designing a Grade II listed apartment in Knightsbridge with a very grand and traditional interior, but have made it more contemporary by incorporating modern furniture, alongside carefully chosen antiques. Doing this creates a much more sophisticated and layered look, compared to just having a completely contemporary or traditional space. 

Aim for cohesion

Only combine different wood finishes that work well together. I favour a lot of grey-toned woods as I find red or orange-hued timbers often feel dated and can dominate a space, especially if you are going for a light and subtle fabric scheme. You don't have to use all the same woods, but be aware of mixing too many different grains and colours. The same rules apply to fabrics – avoid mixing lots of different colours together, as this can look messy. 

Edit your items 

Always edit the accessories and items you have on display. I favour interiors with lots of beautiful but carefully selected home accessories, such as photo frames, sculptures, crystals, vases and books. It gives your space a homely feel while adding interest and personality. However, you will have to be ruthless with your display – most people have too many items on their shelves that don't work together. Try mixing colours that match the colour scheme of your room and fabrics, or combine contrasting textures, for example by placing a large crystal vase next to a leather photo frame. 

Embrace wallpaper

I’ve never seen a room (apart from a kitchen or bathroom) that wouldn't look more luxurious and chic with a beautifully textured wall covering, rather than just painted walls. This adds so much warmth and interest to a space, and you also need fewer artworks and items on display as a result. I love grass cloth and silk wallpaper, as well as textured vinyl wall coverings, which are great in high-traffic areas like hallways as they resist marks and scratches, making them a great long-term investment and minimising the need to re-paint. 

Try new cushions

If you can't afford to completely redesign, simply opt for new cushions to rejuvenate a space. We have all of ours made bespoke and we go to great lengths to create the perfect finish, from sourcing beautiful fabrics and adding different trims to ensuring we have the softest feather-fill inserts so the cushion holds its shape well without being too hard. I prefer oversized cushions and most of ours are 55x55cm or larger.

Invest in storage

We design bespoke carpentry in all of our projects to maximise wardrobe space and storage in all rooms – it really is life-changing to have a place to put everything away. No interior, no matter how beautiful or luxurious, will look good if it doesn't have room to store everything you don’t want on display, so I would say this is the most important element to budget for at the beginning of your project.




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