5 design lessons learnt from Amanda Nisbet

Amanda Nisbet is one of my favourite interior designers. Her work is sophisticated, elegant and colourful. I love how she mixes different materials and textures to create truly unique interiors.

While reading her book ” Dazzling Design”, I learnt few lessons which I think are absolute game changers. What’s more, they are very easily to apply even to your home. So here they are..

LESSON No. 1 – USE MATERIALS AS COLOUR ACCENTS

She uses metals such a nickel to accent her room against dark colours. As they say, the devil is in the detail and that’s exactly the case here. Next time you are buying your furniture such as wardrobe, chest of drawers and cabinets, consider the material of the handles. You can do the same with headboard nailheads, your door handles, mirror and picture frames, statues and decorative objects. By making them all united, from the same type of metal/material, you are actually injecting additional accent layer into your room.

LESSON No. 2 – INTRODUCE COLOUR, TEXTURE & PATTERN INTO YOUR KITCHEN

Kitchens are one of those areas of your home that tend to be “design neglected”. This is because they are more functional than social spaces (unless you have open plan and spend more time in there). But this doesn’t mean that you can’t be creative or limited to be creative in kitchens. Introduce colour, texture and pattern through your Roman blinds and pelmets. Bar chairs and kids high chairs are ideal for playing with fabrics such as leatherette or ultrasuede. They are both stain and waterproof but available in wide range of colours, patterns and textures they bring additional layer into the space.

Many kitchens have what I call a dead wall or empty wall with no real purpose. These walls are perfect for wallpaper features. Another way to introduce some colour, pattern or texture is through rugs. I love them. Not only they protect the kitchen flooring, they also are great around the cooking and working zones. I personally like low piles because they camouflage breadcrumbs but on the other hand are super easy to hoover.

LESSON No. 3 – DELIVER DEPTH THROUGH LAYERS OF TEXTURE

Okay, so you want to stick with more monochromatic look but it doesn’t mean that it should be boring. Each colour looks different on different textures. Think about contrasting smooth, shiny, matt and rough. Wallpaper, fabrics, rugs, cushions, art, tiles, stone, metals are all great elements for delivering layers of texture.

LESSON No 4. – THE DOMINO EFFECT THROUGH HORIZONTALS, VERTICALS & LAYERS

This might seem quite complicated but trust me, it’s very simple. Perhaps the best way to describe it is to look at your space in horizontal and vertical grids. For example, if you have tall ceilings, balance them out by painting them darker. Use tall table lamps, horizontal stripes on curtains, tall furniture and a statement chandelier. These elements help one another to make the space visually different to what it actually is. Some call it “tricking the eye”. The key here is to implement several elements that create this domino effect. Painting the ceiling on its own is not enough. The size of furniture, lighting, accessories and pattern all need to work together within the interior architecture. You take one piece away and the domino falls apart. The balance of shapes and symmetry are very important here.

LESSONS No. 5 – INTRODUCE PERSONAL ELEMENTS FOR WELCOMING FEEL

Personal objects from travels, flea markets or antique shops add what you’re all about. No home should be without them. That’s what makes your home so unique.  No one can copy your design in that sense. So go on and express your personality. Make your home more welcoming with decorative objects that you like. Mix modern with antiques, traditional with contemporary. You don’t always have to stick to one style. Mixing things up gives your space an edge. A little bit of warning though. Keep it in balance and avoid the clutter look. Less is more. Let each piece breath and speak for itself.

Karolina Barnes Studio

P.S. For limited time only, I’m offering a FREE GUIDE with 10 practical design tips for modern family home. Grab it before it goes!

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