How to create an elevated interior, tips from a designer

Decorating a home has long been a favourite activity of many amateur interior designers. And no more so than during the COVID-19 pandemic have our homes become places of refuge, providing solace and simultaneously acting as home offices. It’s a lot to ask of a space that just a few months ago wasn’t quite so involved in our functioning. Now the question is how best to elevate every room?

Making an interior sing isn’t hard. In fact, with a few clever tweaks it’s completely possible to elevate a home in a matter of steps. From using books as props to investing in antique and vintage accessories, there are a few simple adjustments anyone can make to their space in order to add instant value and intrigue. Below, interior designer Joyce Downing Pickens shares her top tips for ensuring a home reaches its utmost potential — with little investment.

Fresh flowers are key

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“I can‘t tell you how much putting some time and effort into a good floral arrangement makes on the elevation of your space,” Downing Pickens shares. “Even dried florals can be a low maintenance way to bring your space to the next level. If you do go faux, make sure to find a supplier that does really good quality options to ensure that they remain sophisticated.”

Neutral colours in this bedroom inspire elegance. Picture: Jenni Kayne
Neutral colours in this bedroom inspire elegance. Picture: Jenni Kayne

Texture via textiles

It’s all about the textiles. Embrace the seasons and use textural pieces to your advantage, says Downing Pickens. “By just swapping out your pillows and throws on your sofa, you can make a huge difference in your space. Try to look for vintage textiles with lots of texture and pattern but with muted colours.”

“I think people have a tendency to go cheap on pillows, but in my opinion, they are more important than the sofa! Pillows can make a more inexpensive sofa look elevated.”

A great bookshelf can add style instantly. Picture: Jenni Kayne
A great bookshelf can add style instantly. Picture: Jenni Kayne

Well read

“Nothing makes for a chicer space than a well-read inhabitant,” Downing Pickens attests. Choose something that represents your personal interests and look for copies with aesthetic covers and spines. “As a designer, I love niche design books. Some of my favourites are Cezanne‘s objects, Cy Twombly Gallery, Axel Vervoordt, and Handcrafted Modern.

Pretty patterns and good textures make all the difference. Picture: Amy Bartlam
Pretty patterns and good textures make all the difference. Picture: Amy Bartlam

Unique accessories

While it might be tempting to go mass market when investing in home accessories, Downing Pickens warns against. “Big box stores sell these items for completing your space but they almost always fall flat. The individuality and richness of a vintage accessory can make a space and complete it to perfection,’ she says. Suggesting heading to a local flea market or vintage store instead, the designer confirms the item will have “a much better story behind it” when it’s something chosen and cherished.

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