The 10 best home decorating rules top interior experts swear by


If you do go dark in a room, ‘bring in texture and cosiness – natural elements help to bring softness,’ adds Sophie, ‘and make sure you have layered lighting – floor lamps, table lamps, LED tape under your shelves, the works. If you don’t want to decorate the room in a dark colour, look for paler shades with warm tones, anything with a little red, brown or yellow pigment in its base tone. Talk to the paint companies and they can help you to find colours with that warm undertone.’

7. Whatever colour you choose, commit

‘I often hear people saying that they like the drama of a dark colour but they also want their room to feel light and bright,’ says Sophie. ‘You can’t have both; you have to choose. That’s when people go with a feature wall, where they paint one wall dark and the other walls light, and it just looks disjointed.’ 

‘If you go halfway with a feature wall, or you go with a mid tone, I find that once people have got used to it, then they want to go further,’ adds Kate. ‘If you’ve got that dark colour swirling around your head, you need to do it, because clearly you want to. You just need to work out whether it’s right for the room. If it’s a room that you use during the day, you’ll probably find that a dark colour isn’t quite right there.’ 

8. Don’t automatically go for white woodwork

‘If you think about a room painted in a colour, with white woodwork and a white ceiling, your eye is constantly drawn to the exits; it’s not a relaxing space,’ says Kate. ‘It’s drawing attention to the outlines of the room, almost like a reverse cartoon, and you’re very aware of the size of it. If you wash it all out in one colour, it will allow your furniture to sing in that space and your eye won’t be distracted.’


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