Is your home looking dated?
By Fusion Lifestyle Reporter
November 17, 2011, 6:39 pm
Is your home looking dated?

Interior designer and TV presenter Julia Kendell her style tips and advice on how to update your home.

What do you think are the key interiors trends for autumn / winter?

There are several exciting trends for AW 2011. My favourite is the ‘Puritanical’ look, taking inspiration from our industrial heritage and producing a utilitarian, elegant and masculine feel using a muted colour palette and soft, tactile accessories.

Another big hitter this year is ‘Classic Country’ with a fresh and sophisticated take on traditional Scandinavian styling. Think white wooden furniture, linen and natural elements mixed with cosy knits and soft lighting. Finally, ‘Glamorous Sophistication’ updates the ‘hotel’ look and creates a smart yet livable environment. The look is characterized by clean lines, luscious velvets and any colour as long as it’s grey!

Are there any particular colours that will be popular this season?

Purple is a huge trend this season as are most shades of ‘berry’. It’s a great colour to use in decorating but needs to be used with confidence. Another fabulous colour is ‘teal’ – a green-blue shade. It’s a fresh yet calming colour and very easy to live with. Teal combines very well with berry shades too.

Throughout 2011 ‘silver grey’ has been very popular and the passion for all things grey is set to continue well into next year. Charcoal is overtaking lighter tints in the popularity stakes, but it seems you just can’t go wrong with grey of any hue. Try adding dashes of yellow or pink to a silver-grey scheme for impact and warmth.

How do colours inspire different moods?

Colour psychology is a fascinating subject and worth understanding so you know the effect certain colours will have on your mood. Red has the longest wavelength and a slow frequency of vibration, therefore its magnetic energy is warming and stimulating.

But it is also associated with danger and aggression so it is wise to limit how much red you use in decorating.

At the other end of the spectrum violet and purple have the shortest wavelength and encourage spiritual and far-away thoughts. It’s ideal for dramatic dining-rooms, bedrooms and luxurious bathrooms.

Green is associated with nature, equilibrium and stability and, slap-bang in the middle of the colour spectrum, doesn’t require the eye to adjust so is inherently restful and easy to live with. Black rooms can be very elegant when mixed with neutrals but as black absorbs all energy it can be very melancholic.

This is probably why moody teenage boys will always opt for a black bedroom given the choice! For a stunning black-based sitting room incorporate a gas or open fire to add energy back into the room.

What are your top tips for updating a tired interior?

It’s sometimes very difficult to be objective about a room you have lived with for years; here are a few top tips to update a tired interior.

  1. If at all possible empty the room or throw white sheets over everything and take down all pictures and fittings so that you can consider the room with a fresh pair of eyes.
  2. Painting is the obvious and easiest answer and even a fresh coat of paint on the ceiling can often have a dramatic effect.
  3. If the room looks flat and lifeless change the lighting and add in lamps for flexibility and to create a ‘layered’ look.
  4. A rug can add colour and pattern to a bland room and help to ‘centre’ groups of furniture.
  5. De-clutter and treat yourself to new accessories if a total revamp isn’t possible.

Mature women often have lots of money to spend on homewares, but don’t know where to start, what advice do you have to be a more savvy shopper?

It’s very easy to get excited about accessories and blow the budget on smaller items that won’t have much impact.

It’s always a good idea to browse the internet for ideas, log on to to view the collection and sit down with a pad of paper and work out what will be the best investment to have most effect on a new room scheme. I would advise investing in the larger items of furniture first and buy cushions and accessories if the budget allows at a later date.

What is your favourite item(s) from the isme homewares collection?

There are a great many items in the new isme homewares collection that I would happily use in my room schemes! The Faro grey oak range and Fern chenille cushion would fit perfectly in a Puritanical design, the Elysee range in white is SO Classic Country and in black, combined with the Deltra ceiling light, would suit this season’s ‘Glamorous Sophistication’ trend.

The Mardi Gras cushion in green is just luscious, and what’s not to love about the Tivoli 3-seater sofa?! As a Grandmother-to-be this Christmas I also have my eye on a Mamas and Papas ‘Breeze crib’ for the times I will be looking after my new Grandchild!

Why do you think 50+ women might struggle to update their homes – does a lack of confidence mean we get ‘stuck in our ways’?

I’m not sure it’s a lack of confidence which means we get stuck in our way’s, but when you have spent 20+ years looking after a family it’s easy to forget who youare and nerve-wracking to step out of a style and way of living that has worked well for you over the years. We have such busy lives that it is often only when the children have left home that we stop to consider whether our homes are outdated or not!

It’s both liberating and a bit frightening to be changing what we have known for so long. To give people that kick start and help them reclaim their home style, we have launched a competition on offering people the chance to have a total room revamp. I will personally be visiting the winner’s home, and together we will work out a style to suit you.

What advice do you have for empty nesters to help them overhaul their child’s room?

Gaining a room back can provoke mixed feelings. If you have an empty nest and looking to overhaul your child’s room I would advise clearing it out, painting it roughly in white, and living with it empty for a while as it can be difficult to see it as anything other than your child’s room. If you don’t need it as a guest room, consider using it as a hobby room… that sewing room you’ve always dreamed of, maybe somewhere to paint, or as a walk-in wardrobe?

What / who is your interiors inspiration and why?

I take my inspiration from many sources; from travels abroad, nature, magazines, almost anywhere in fact. Part of being a designer is walking around with your eyes wide open at all times. I take photos on my phone of anything I find that interests me which builds up a library of thoughts and ideas that I can refer to. Tricia Guild, founder of Designers Guild, has always been an inspiration to me. Her confidence in her use of colour and pattern is always far ahead of any other designer.

Updating interiors can turn into a never-ending task, what tips do you have to plan and keep your project on track?

Create a mood board. It’s a simple tool but very effective to ensure that your chosen colour scheme works well with all the other elements and the room is balanced.

Use an A3 board and use paint swatches, wallpaper samples, fabrics and magazine clippings to build up a picture of the room. Where possible try to keep the samples on the board to the same scale as they will appear in the room, ie, if the room will be mostly grey with a feature wall in pink, paint half the board in grey, quarter pink and leave the remainder white to represent the ceiling and woodwork. Don’t forget to represent your flooring on the board too. Stick on your remaining samples and furniture pictures and, once the board is complete, you will be able to tell whether the room will feel and look as you intend it to. Once you are happy with the scheme, don’t stray off it!

50+ women often have lots of trinkets, pictures and clutter – what advice do you have to declutter and display the things you love?

It’s a worldwide problem isn’t it! I think we are all hoarders at heart. But, there is nothing that clears the mind as well as the home than a good sort out and decluttering exercise.

I have moved house five times in the past four years and that seems to do the trick, but I wouldn’t recommend it! I find the three-box system works well; a ‘keeper’, a charity shop box and one for recycling. Then be brutal as you sort through things.

Of course, our trinkets tell the story of our lives and anything that makes you smile should be kept and displayed. Less is definitely more with ornaments; display separately where possible and don’t crowd many pieces together. Pictures can be grouped however and consider reframing them in co-ordinating and updated frames for a fresh look.

What key items are needed to recreate a contemporary yet classic look?

A classic look with a contemporary feel is summed up by clean spaces, nothing over-dominating or too ornate, and a sense of balance and calm. Choose neutral-coloured, robust but refined furniture. Add in accents of colour in accessories and use elegant table and floor lamps. Texture can be introduced with rugs and window treatments should be ordered and tidy. 

Interior designer and TV presenter Julia Kendell her style tips and advice on how to update your home.

Julia  is supporting’s home campaign to make your house more ‘you’ – launching a competition on where you can win a personal home consultation with Julia and £1000 worth of homeware.

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