Ever wondered how to get your home looking picture perfect and Pinterest worthy? Or do you have interiors envy whilst flicking through the gorgeous pages of leading homes magazines.
Well now, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of leading homewares haven Homesense, we have exclusive insights from 10 hidden heroes of the industry to get your home looking its best this season.
Working behind the scenes to bring the latest home and garden trends to life, the expert eye and creative vision of leading stylists combine to set the agenda of décor for many homes across the nation.
Whether it’s transforming a selection of clear glass vases to become a blooming and beautiful display or expertly choosing an eclectic range of cushions to pull an entire look together – the usually unseen stars have come together to celebrate one of the most well-loved and go-to secret shopping destinations.
Launching its first store in Poole in April 2008, Homesense now has 55 stores across the UK and is part of the TK Maxx family. A unique shopping experience full of eclectic and inspiring ideas at irresistible prices, stores receive several deliveries each week, meaning you’ll always find something new, exciting and unexpected. Unlike other types of retailers that buy seasonally, Homesense buyers scour the globe throughout the year to bring branded homeware and one-off finds at up to 60% less than RRPs.
With new finds arriving throughout the week from lovely gifts, dining, bed, bath and kitchen to accessories, gourmet food, stationery, accessories, toys, and even pets, you’ll find extraordinary to everyday homeware each time you visit. Find your nearest store at www.homesense.com.
Styling secrets from the hidden heroes…
Diana Civil: Interior Stylist, Producer and Art Director, Diana has a career that spans decades within the industry. Creating trend led content for both national brands and editorial magazines, including national magazines such as Good Homes, Ideal Home and House Beautiful.
“Fab fakes: Artificial plants are my top styling secret of the moment to add that perfect final touch to an interior - not only do they add an instant splash of colour and burst of greenery they can really up the wow factor in a room. Forget the snobbery of yesteryear– fake foliage is all the rage and has moved on a long way from the naff, plastic of the past and is now amazing and realistic.
Work the green trend to the max - go all out with height and structure with oversized plants such as cheese plants, palms or cacti, group together a collection of smaller plants to style up a tabletop, windowsill or mantelpiece or add an artistic flourish with a collection of hanging plants for a garden-like feature wall.
Fakery is fabulous and fuss free - you don’t have to worry about watering, positioning, maintenance or bugs and choosing artificials allows you to opt for lush, exotic and tropical species which will look good all year round.”
“No fail colour scheming: If you’re unsure how to choose a starting point for a decorating scheme, a simple trick is to buy one fabric item that you love for the room, for example a patterned cushion or curtain for the living room or duvet cover for the bedroom then use these as the template for the roomscheme. Designers do a lot of research making sure colours work perfectly so you know it’s a tried and tested colour combination because the designer has done the matching for you. Pick two or three colours from the design and colour match the tones for the key elements in the room – it’s a simple trick but works every time.”
Laurie Davidson, Leading interiors stylist and writer, previously Houses Editor at Style at Home magazine and co-founder of The Secret Styling Club. Regularly writes and styles for London Evening Standard, Good Homes, Ideal Home and Style at Home to name a few.
“When it comes to hanging mirrors, it's easy to consider where they should be placed for practicality, but it's also worth taking into consideration what it will be reflecting. For example, if you set a mirror at a height where it reflects a point of interest, such as a chandelier or a vase of flowers, it is much more visually appealing than a view of what we stylists call ‘dead space’.”
Selina Lake: Selina is a successful stylist, author and columnist. With her eighth book, ‘Garden Style, released in March 2018, she has a monthly column in Modern Gardens magazine, and styles lifestyle photoshoots for commercial and editorial clients. Her work can be seen in publications including Country Living, Homes & Antiques and Country Homes & Interiors.
“Create eclectic tabletop garden displays with plants in galvanised metal pots arranged with brass lanterns and decorative objects, all of which can be sourced inexpensively at Homesense. I love styling the interior of my garden shed, making it a more enjoyable space to work from. A recent purchase has been a small set of wooden drawers which is a great way to store all my seeds packets. Add a pretty but practical label to each drawer to keep organised.”
Georgia Gold: Up and coming interior and lifestyle photographer with an eye for styling, London-based Georgia has already worked for leading brands and interiors magazines including 91 magazine.
“I love colour but one of my best kept photography secrets is to go back to basics. Make sure you leave empty space when putting a room or area of your home together. It will naturally create a focus, a balanced setting and gives an opportunity to let the product speak for itself.”
Emma Morton Turner: Over two decades as editorial stylist and journalist, at national women’s magazines including Woman & Home. Founder of new online community for stylists, writers and assistants, Inside Stylists.
“When displaying items on shelves or on a table always group in an odd number. Three's work better than fives or sevens for some reason. Vary heights of groups for added interest.”
“When creating a table centre don't be afraid to cut flower stems really short - like a few inches below the flower head. Not only will the flowers look great bunched up in a bowl or individually in a glass or teacup, but guests will be able to talk easily over them across the dinner table.”
“When decorating a room start with a big feature. Choose your sofa or curtains first then plan the colours and patterns around that item. Make sure that item is the main feature of the room- especially if it has a bold colour or pattern.”
Emily Dawe: Interior Stylist, Writer & Craft Designer, Emily has over 11 years working in print and online publishing. With a passion for creativity she has worked for titles including Woman’s Weekly, Woman & Home, The Craft Network, Modern Gardens, Style at Home and HomeStyle.
With her first craft book launching in 2018, Emily styles large scale press events, craft and styling workshops as well as decorating features for leading magazines.
“If you have a lot of books, grouping them together by colour can look really striking. You don’t have to necessarily create a whole rainbow, but by stacking all the blue books together, or all the green books etc. will make your shelves look more uniform, and it will create a real visual impact.”
“If you have one central hallway that leads to multiples rooms, try painting it in a dark shade. If the rest of the rooms are light and bright, then this trick of the eye of going from dark into light will make your rooms seem bigger. Clever huh!”
“Create one of those expensive fluffy stools at a fraction of the price! It seems so simple, but if you get an inexpensive stool (if it has hairpin legs, then even better!) then attach a fluffy cushion to the top of it. You may need to use a circular cushion pad, then attach the excess fabric to the underside with a staple gun. And voila - chic on a shoestring!”
“Summer/Winter soft furnishing turnaround: Getting bored with your living or bedroom? Change your cushions and rug seasonally. Update your rooms with pretty summery cushions in linens and cottons for your summer look and replace them in the colder months with velvets, weaves and woollen cushions. Don’t stress about where to store the extra set, use the same cushion inners, ideally feather filled pads, for both summer and winter sets, this way you only end up having to store the cushion covers, nicely folded up with the rest of your linen. The same can be done with a floor rug, especially now that flatware rugs are so trendy, they roll or fold up pretty small and can be stored under a bed or in the back of a cupboard and the difference a seasonal rug change make, is priceless.”
“Wall finishing’s: Deciding on a wall finish like wallpaper is quite a commitment. Get samples of your favourites papers, as large as possible. Tape these wallpaper sample contenders up in the room they will be going and let them hang there for at least one week. This way you get to live with them for a bit and see how each one interacts with the light in your room. You might find that after this time there is a few that fall short because you might have already tire of them and one will stand out as the winner. It is also very important to always look at wall finishing’s in a vertical upright way, instead of flat, as the light will play a big role in how the design and colour appear.”
Lee Jackson: Creative photography and event stylist for over 20 years, working with leading UK and international retailers to bring products to life and inspire future press content. Recommended stylist by the Good Housekeeping Institute as a preferred event stylist.
“Creativity is exactly like a muscle: the more you use it, the better and more developed it becomes. Keep working your creative muscle with any medium: scrapbooks, film making, doodles, painting, tear sheet collage, photography, etc.”
“Be Dora the creative explorer! My most commonly asked question is ‘where do you get your ideas from?’ Get out and about: the theatre, cinema, museums, galleries, architecture, travel and keep a creative antenna on at all times: the most epic ideas come from the most unexpected places.”
Aurelien Farjon: Styling photography and events for leading brands. Prop stylist and set designer Aurelien works with top restaurants and hotels to create memorable experiences and pop-ups
“If you want to create an arrangement of different picture frames on the wall, cut sheets of paper the size of the picture frames and stick those out on the wall first with blue tack. This will allow you to test and try different heights. It will also allow you to step back and decide if it’s correct before drilling into the wall. Note: Make sure the paper is a different enough colour to the wall, i.e. brown paper on light walls, white paper on dark walls.”
Cassandra Lisa Marie Doyle: London based interior stylist and trend researcher, with a background in interior architecture. Cassandra creates trend led set design and sources props for photography and TV advertising.
“Sage is strong becoming the new neutral, which works perfectly in a bedroom. Curate your space using a muted colour palette, use velvet for a statement soft furnishing in trending emerald green or ochre”
“Try adding a picture shelf the full length of one wall, using oversized prints to add a sense of height. Group small accessories together in odd numbers which will appear more pleasing to the eye”.
“Statement ceilings are a big trend this year. Paint the coving and ceiling above in a darker complementary colour to the walls or be brave and go for a complete contrast. If you are lucky enough to have high ceilings, you can do the reverse. Paint the ceiling, coving and a foot or two below in crisp white and your walls stunning sage”