Colour terrifies a lot of people, especially when you’re daring to be different with your hues. But I have the simplest trick to pull off any colour – pare down your palettes. Over the years I’ve pared down more and more – gone are the rainbow assortment of colourful accessories, upholstery and “bright pops” I used to have. Instead I’ve reigned it all in, and I reckon it works several hundred times better.

See the difference? A carefully reigned-in palette is timeless and restful, plus it means you can mix in a lot more elements. The “after” picture of my living room below actually has a heap more stuff in, but to me it doesn’t look as busy as the “before” pic. Oh and everything looks way more sophisticated, from inexpensive things (the heaps of faux botanicals) to expensive things (my beloved Willy Guhl concrete chair). Everything looks grander, cooler and more beautiful.



The important thing is not to think of it as restrictive. Committing to a few colours isn’t restrictive at all, it’s actually liberating. It means you can mix pieces from lots of different decades, you can add more patterns and you can layer in way more texture.

Plus, shopping and decorating get easier! Everything becomes so much simpler. You don’t have so many decisions to make – gone are the hours contemplating whether this work with that, which shade of upholstery you should plump for, where those cushions should go. With a reigned in palette you can mix anything with anything, but still create a cohesive space.

Last tip to stop it getting boring… texture is the key. I’ve touched on this before, but adding lots of contrasting textures really ups the style ante. Nubbly rugs, hand-woven baskets, knitted wool lampshades (speaking of… exciting new lighting samples are due to turn up here any day now!), copper pendants, buttery-soft leather, sheepskins, mohair, velvets… With a variety of tactile elements, it’s the contrast that makes things so interesting. Check out all my musings on texture here.