A few weeks ago I headed to London as a guest of Hammonds to visit their stand as sponsors of the Ideal Home Show. I always enjoy a day away in London during the week, I love the routine of it, my coffee on the way, people watching on the tube and hustle and bustle of city life. I've tend to be up in the big city around once a fortnight and it always fills me with inspiration whenever I go. We've recently come back from ten days away spanning London, Paris and Amsterdam so it's been great to spend three consecutive days in the big smoke rather than the fleeting visits they usually are.
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The Hammonds stand was constantly busy with eager shoppers enquiring about spec for their home ideas. I love interior planning, there is something so exciting about giving your place a rehaul. I love how they have designed their space, accessorising the hammonds features with golds and brass as well as the deep rich wooden tones.
Julia Kendall, Hammonds celebratory ambassador and interior designer was kind enough to answer some of my interior questions (some kindly asked by readers too!) and here is what she had to say.
What would you say the key trends for this season are?
Difficult to miss this year, the trend for metallics is increasing in popularity with sophisticated copper bringing pops of energy and warmth to an otherwise neutral palette. Botanicals and large floral patterns are dominating wallpapers & fabrics, particularly in tropical brights to lift a more mellow base palette of moody, smoky tones.
How can you make a family home more stylish but still stay practical?
It's key to ensure clutter is minimal to allow statement pieces and well-chosen decorative elements to shine through. Choose practical finishes for furnishings that combine practicality with interesting texture to enhance the overall look.
Strip window treatments back to increase the feeling of space & light; Shutters and blinds can really open-up a room. Similarly, timber flooring can provide a stylish backdrop and will take the knocks and wear of family life.
What would be your essential buys to spruce up the home?
Good quality lighting every time! It's possible to entirely change the look and mood of a room by investing in decent lighting. Replacing a poor lampshade with a sparkly new fitting can make a room appear to double in size.
I regularly change the accessories in my home to create a new vibe with each season. It's nearly as good as a total redecorate!
What is your favourite room in the home and why?
My bedroom is my sanctuary. Life is busy, and sometimes there's nowhere I'd rather be than tucked up in my 'bed of dreams' watching a movie with my partner. Bliss!
If you are on a budget what are the key things to spend money on and what are ones you can afford to scrimp on?
I would always advise investing in a good bed/mattress and bedding to ensure a good night's sleep. There's nothing worse than suffering through the day with an aching back or lack of sleep unnecessarily. Similarly, a comfy sofa is a must.
Any decorative elements that are unlikely to be changed for a very long time, flooring for example, is worth investing in. Window treatments, soft-furnishings and accessories can be picked up inexpensively and changed when required.
What key things can I do to add value to my home?
Choose good quality timber doors, windows and solid flooring to add value. These are the elements that potential purchasers will notice needs changing if not 'up to scratch'. Solid worksurfaces, a walk-in shower and a sociable outdoor space are also generally on the 'wish-list' and therefore worth investing in. Fundamentally, invest money in areas that you will gain value from as a family within the home.
And lastly how can you change your interiors to bring more light into your home?
Firstly, start on the outside clearing any bushes under windows and pruning trees to maximise natural daylight entering the space. Texture 'eats' light so replacing carpet with solid flooring and minimising the amount of fabric at the windows will help too.
Use metallics, polished surfaces and mirrors to bounce light around the room. A light and bright palette will enhance the overall look. Always plan the lighting scheme carefully to bring the room to life in the evening using light at different heights.
Thanks Hammonds for the inviting me to the show and Julia for the answers!
In association with Hammonds