Expert interior design advice

Fiona Watkins Design is a Cheshire based Interior Design Studio specialising in luxury residential interiors throughout the UK and Internationally for private clients. Each project is met with a tailored service specific to clients' aspirations, providing considered and unique designs for every project. We asked Fiona for her tips and advice on decorating your new home or new space...

“Decorating and Styling your new home”

As interior designers we are always asked what the latest trends are but as a design studio we are not trend driven. We aim to provide schemes that offer longevity and prefer a classic modern style. We combine this with our clients’ requirements and look at the style and location of the property. Currently in the studio we love;

Earthy palettes and textured fabrics
Earth tones with sandy browns and greens allow us to connect to nature. Pairing these with fabrics that have a relaxed, open weave adds warmth especially when accented with tans and rusts, and other warming tones which are perfect as we head into the cooler months. These palettes are brought to life by the addition of textural weaves like rattan and paper and warm materials such as suede and wool. Accented with lighter Timber tones in oak, pale grey driftwood and limed or brushed timbers adds another layer of interest.

Metals Dark Bronze and Antique Brass
We love warmer toned metals as they add richness and in contemporary minimalist schemes provide interest. Suggested uses are for lighting, ironmongery and electrical items as well as cabinetry detail. The brushed finishes add another layer of texture and as a bonus these metals don’t show water marks like chrome so are the perfect choice where there’s water, i.e., kitchen or bathrooms.

Wall Treatments and Architectural Detailing
Wall coverings add warmth and opulence, and we love using textured linen effect papers or natural silks and grasscloths. A classic moulding is also something we like to add, especially in hallways. We look at the existing architectural detail of the property and use profiles that are complimentary. For a more contemporary feel all surfaces can be painted in tone on tone shades or for something special we add wallpaper within the panels to give a luxurious look.

Screens and Room Dividers
We live in more open plan homes and so having the option of screening off part of the room to create more intimate spaces is something we use a great deal. This can also be achieved with the addition of glass doors and Crittall has seen a resurgence over the past few years. These glazed and metal doors or screens provides some separation while allowing precious light to filter through.

As we all become more aware of the need to be sustainable, reusing existing pieces and looking at how we can update them by refurbishing, painting or simply changing handles is something we often have to do if clients have a much loved existing piece. A lot of our projects incorporate clients antiques or heirlooms that have been inherited or collected and these can fit very well into a contemporary scheme adding interest with the natural patina and worn feel that you don’t find in modern pieces.

We specify a great deal of hard floors including wood, stone and porcelain with carpets being reserved more for bedrooms. Rugs are always popular to add warmth to hard floors and increasingly these are being inset into flooring, so you don’t end up with furniture wobbling if half of it is on and off the rug. Moving away from the more traditional fully fitted floor, adding a border frames the room giving a more tailored feel and avoids doubling up on cost for flooring.

Biophilic Design
Our homes have become increasingly important over the last few years as has our connection to the natural environment. Biophilic design helps us reconnect with nature which in turn boosts health and happiness. Lighting is a key element and maximising natural light is an important principal but introducing a lighting system that can change throughout the day, to link people to the outdoor environment is equally important. Incorporating Biophilic design into your home can be as simple as using natural materials such as wood, stone, marble, rattan and cork in your interiors. These tactile materials also tend to be more durable and age well.