I used to be a stylist, which as a retailer is worth its weight in gold. All the big boys hire stylist’s year on year for their brochures and other print related material because stylists create magic by telling a story. A story that wraps you up, intriguers you and inspires you to recreate or do something similar at home. They also hire visual merchandisers to do exactly the same in store. Retail is all about creating a story, you don’t just plonk say a vase on a shelf, shove something next to it and walk away. You might not be in business for that long should you do so!

When it comes to creating a cool pad exactly the same principles apply, by that I mean weaving a story through the stuff we have.  Diana Vreeland, the celebrated Vogue editor put  it better than me – when she said ‘the eye has to travel’.

I say this a lot but the most intriguing rooms are ones that bedazzle because they eye literally doesn’t know where to look its pulled in so many different directions.  You don’t need money to pull it off it really doesn’t come into it – even a bowl of fruit on a kitchen island filled with apples adds intrigue.  The trick is to literally fill  that bowl with fruit so the apples almost tumble out. Elegant, decadent – perfect.

Asymmetry is another trick us stylists use all the time. Perfectly balanced rooms look monotonous so mess things up a little, go for odd numbers and different heights. Oh and don’t place objects slap bang in in the middle of a shelf (too altar like) instead place the star of the shelf like a big painting or lamp off to one side. Way more interesting. When it comes to cushions  go for an odd number and karate chop the middle. If they are  all different textures you’ve nailed it and if you can avoid the small ones. If you upscale your cushions your sofa and room looks way grander it’s as easy as that.

Use books as part of your tablescape, I have little piles of them all over my pad with a candle on top or say a tealight, they add pattern and soul. Nothing looks better on a coffee table than a small stack of books in diminishing sizes. Perfect!

Artwork hang as low as you dare, it will feel far more interesting. Oh and don’t worry if your room doesn’t come together instantly, my rooms might look I’ve thrown them together in a Nano second but often I don’t. Sometimes I luck out and they do , but more often than not they take a bit of work to get right. Backs to Diana just remember’ the eye has to travel’ all the way around the room, do that and you’ve nailed it.

Shaun Clarkson’s snug TV room below. Hardly any light its on the lower ground floor so the only source is from the doorway but its snug and its full to the brim of possessions that tell a story. Love it!

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