There are still lots of ways to get creative with your decor, as interior designer Penny Ann Johnson tells Sam Wylie-Harris.
The decor, pattern and colour we bring into our homes is often influenced by the things we see beyond our own four walls, when we’re out and about. Statement pieces that catch our eye, or simple style fixes like a new sofa or display cabinet to set the scene. It’s much easier to imagine how these things will sit and take shape when someone else has done the groundwork, and put all the bits and bobs together in a lovely showroom.
So what does interiors inspiration look like during the #stayhomestaysafe era? Things may be very different right now, but tapping into our creative side can bring a host of benefits – for our wellbeing as well as breathing new life into our living spaces (where we’re spending a lot more time than usual!).
And there’s still a realm of possibilities to explore, especially when you play around with existing household items, pick up a paintbrush, or introduce a few key pieces available online. Here, interior designer Penny Ann Johnson of Penny Ann Interiors, who will be appearing at Grand Designs Live 2020, shows how to get creative with your interiors while in isolation…
“What have you been doing with your time while we’re all confined to our own four walls? I’d imagine if you’re anything like me, you’re sat on your sofa staring at a bare wall wondering how to improve it, or thinking about how you can complete that spare bedroom you’ve been ignoring for a year,” says Johnson. “But lockdown, means limitations, things aren’t so readily available as retailers are abiding by government regulations. So here’s a few clever tips on how to have some fun with your interiors.”
PICTURED ABOVE Green panelling and beading, other items, stylist’s own, Angela Rose Home | PA Photo/Handout
PICTURED ABOVE Modern living room with sofa, coffee table, artwork and decos | PA Photo/iStock
Play with panelling
“Panelling is a thing. It’s everywhere at the moment; Insta-worthy 3D wall panelling is a modern version of period architecture. At first it seems a little ‘off the wall’ but in the right room, it can add great character without a lot of work. “Firstly play around with the width, pattern, orientation and height of the wall to come up with a design. Get yourself online to B&Q Homebase (use their click and car park collect service if available) and purchase some simple lengths of baton to help you create your masterpiece.
“Measure your design out on the wall and secure the baton either with grab adhesive or screws. Once it’s secured, choose a beautiful colour to help emphasis the statement. Sit back and watch the shadows cast their shade and your wall come to life.”
Check out angelarosehome.com for inspiration.
PICTURED ABOVE Black and white prints in black frames, other items, stylist’s own, Poster Store | PA Photo/Handout
Create a picture wall
“Picture walls are all the rage these days, a great way to fill that empty wall, show some self expression and make that space more homely.
“Visit Amazon and search ‘Picture Gallery Frames’. There are some fab sets of 10-plus frames of varying sizes too, to help you create your picture wall. Have a think about what you’d like to put in your frames.
“Pinterest is a great source for frame-able quotes, and these are a fab way to make the design feel more personal. Include some family photos – get them printed either via your home printer or a company like Snapfish, delivered to your door. Then get them hung, stand back and revel in the pride from seeing those important moments and people displayed beautifully in your home.”
Check out posterstore.co.uk for inspiration.
PICTURED ABOVE Modern living room with abstract artwork | PA Photo/iStock
Style up your space with statement art
“Think smart with some statement art. In this uncertain world we’re all living in at the moment, support the little independent companies. Check out Etsy and search ‘Prints’. There are some fantastic artists, illustrators and designers, who are still working away to help you make your homes beautiful,” she suggests.
“Artwork can be one of the most important parts to a room. It’s a talking point, and offers both the purchaser and onlooker the opportunity to think and express creatively. Find something that speaks to you, and look forward to that little package arriving from the outside world.”
PICTURED ABOVE Female figure painting a mural, Lilit Sarkisian | PA Photo/Handout
Consider wall murals
“Get out the paint! We’re seeing a huge revival in wall murals. The idea offers such versatility to add character and personality to a room, you’d be mad not to devote at least one wall in your home to an idea,” says Johnson.
“So while we’re all getting in touch with our creative sides, delve into your garage and see what old paint pots you have stashed away. Companies like Mylands can still send you sample pots of their fantastic paints (I’m a big fan) to add to your colour library, while you’re searching for inspiration.
“Whether it’s a geometrical or floral design, an abstract creation or ombre fade, that wall can be anything you want it to be. Let loose and go wild, it could be the most liberating thing you do during lockdown.”
Check out lilitartstore.com for inspiration.
PICTURED ABOVE Pink decos, green plants and silk flowers grouped together, Swoon Worthy | PA Photo/Handout
Group decos and homewares
“They say three is a crowd… not in the case of interior styling it’s not! Think about the styling around your home, and think odd numbers. There’s something about grouping things in threes that leads the eye to move around the display.
“Some people do prefer a symmetrical look but this needs to be done expertly and with sharp precision. Where as designing with odd numbers in mind allows a little more freedom,” she adds. “To kill some time in isolation, bring all your styling pieces together in one place, regroup them into three’s and redistribute them around your room. And then sit back and relax with a feeling of having a revived space with little effort.”
Check out swoonworthy.co.uk for inspiration.
Words by Sam Wylie-Harris, PA