It's still winter here and I am in hibernation mode whilst writing this blog. I want to make my home feel like it's nourishing me and looking after my wellbeing. I want to sit down in the evening and slow down (as going back to work/school/chaos is tough in January/February and makes winter feel like its lasting a lifetime). I want to channel calmness, to relax, to rest and rejuvenate. And that means adding a bit of luxury to my life and my home, so I pause and appreciate the moment.
Quiet luxury is being bandied around as the latest catchphrase in design and implies a minimalist base but layered with luxurious, tactile accessories to give warmth and visual opulence to the space. Sounds expensive right? A luxury interior is described as a curated masterpiece, so how do I get my home to feel like that but on a January (lemonade) budget?
Well, naturally the first rule of a luxurious feeling home is that it is not stuffed full of clutter. You definitely don't spot piles of shoes and coats in luxurious home hallways in magazines do you... The aim is to have clear sightlines, mess cleared away and everything feeling in it's right place. The way a room is laid out needs to work for how you live your life and mean that moving around your home feels easy and seamless.
So that means a bit of graft with a de-clutter. It's much easier to keep things clean and tidy and stay on top of things the fewer things you have! So be a little ruthless. Channel a bit of Marie Kondo and ask yourself if you love that item and does it serve a purpose. And then move on. Over think it and it will all grind to a cluttered halt.
Once you have de-cluttered and everything is starting to feel like it has a home (or you've managed that in one room at least). Your surfaces will be sparkling, as you can now see them to clean them. What comes next in terms of inexpensive approaches you can use to get that luxury vibe at home?
A common theme in luxury homes is the artwork. Now I appreciate we might not all have budgets that stretch to art collections but inexpensive posters and prints can be framed (with a mount) to glorious effect. Large pieces of art really command attention. They can become a focal point in your room, showcase your personality and add colour and interest to a space.
Please remember, before you start panicking about how to pick artwork for a room that you must never choose artwork to impress anyone. You must choose artwork that resonates with you or makes you smile. It's your home, your walls, your life - put what you love up there and enjoy it every single day.
Top tips for hanging art is to keep it at eye level. And if you're curating a gallery wall then go big on the number of pictures and have fun. You could group images together that are of a similar theme (but not necessarily a similar style of art) or go black and white with one coloured image. Just get creative. Look at Pinterest and start having fun. Just lay them out on your floor first or you could end up with a lot of holes in your walls. But the most important thing here is to just get some art up on your walls. It can change if it needs to but it will look much better than a bare wall does in the interim.
Texture is a really under sung way to bring luxury into a room. Think about using natural fibres such as linens and organic materials in rugs and throws. Not only are these more sustainable but they wear well and feel great to the touch. The natural tones will layer beautifully together and as you move through the room all the textures will help you stop and appreciate the moment.
If you're replacing cushion inserts then go for feather (or feather feel if you're hypoallergenic) and give them a karate chop in the centre for the 'designer look' on your bed or sofa. Companies like Dunelm and Ikea do great, well sourced inserts at reasonable prices.
Another common theme that is easy to copy at home seen in luxury interiors is the refined and neutral colour scheme. It is an artfully layered palette of neutral tones, often accented with black or brass. If you're worrying about how to layer neutrals then look at some of the great paint companies websites out there who will help you such as Paint & Paper Library who guide you with building tones of neutrals to make it even easier to get your colours right. And then think again about those layers of textures. Cushions and throws in tactile fabrics will help elevate your bed or sofa in seconds. And a carefully placed neutral throw can tone down that sofa you are stuck with and blend it into the room's palette.
Another key design element in luxury homes is the attention to detail. Every detail, no matter how small, is given careful consideration in a luxury interior. From the choice of hardware to the trim on curtains, each element contributes to the overall aesthetic and sense of luxury. And a relatively simple update which can make a huge impact is... your light switches and electrical sockets. You will touch these multiple times a day, so why not make them feel fabulous and look luxurious? There are tons of options out there and getting more affordable by the day.
When you imagine a hotel suite's bathroom you don't see the mismatched pile of plastic bottles lined up in the shower and cracked soap on the sink do you? So ditch your plastic reality and get ceramic or glass dispensers and holders for your everyday beauty care. Not only does it look glamorous but it's also a tick in the sustainable box if you go for eco-friendly refills too.
And don't just limit yourself to the bathroom. Same goes for the kitchen sink and I have high hopes that my utility room will one day be fully curated and a joy to behold!
So during these colder nights, cost of living cuts and draughty houses, our bedrooms really do become our sanctuary. Remember that de-cluttering - this is the room to start with if you're procrastinating. A calm, quiet space within which to rest is key to wellbeing (and sanity if you live in a busy household). Once you have this room nailed, you'll have the energy to keep tackling the rest. But how to get that luxury feel on a budget here? Well there's some key elements to consider here from colour, texture, layers to lighting. Keep a calm colour palette, use natural fibre bedding and get layering. That can mean throws or even additional duvets for that sumptuous look. The crumpled linen look whispers luxury (and wins in my book as no ironing needed) but may not be to everyone's taste but there are increasing natural fibres to choose from out there such as bamboo which is incredibly breathable and sustainable.
So your all snug now but don't forget the lights. Harsh overhead lights are no-one's friend in a bedroom. Make sure you choose warm white bulbs and have lamps or dimmable wall lights to be able to soften the space.
Luxury homes often have one other element... space. Now that's not a quick fix for most of us. But there are ways of increasing a sense of space in a home by tricking the eye. Using oversized mirrors to bounce light around, aim to show as much of your floor as possible and swap out chunky furniture for all mounted options or slimline legs.
And lighting is one of the big ones to elevate a space. Not just the fittings and lights themselves but the layers of lights and how they work together in a room. The goal with lighting is to ensure it is functional when needed but ultimately it needs to create a mood. So think about mixing oversized pendants, wall sconces and lamps together. Always use warm lightbulbs and dimmers where you can (unless it's specific task lighting in an office or kitchen for example).
This is the one to spend what you can on, don't scrimp here as it can undo all of your other hard work. There are tons of amazing stores out there with affordable lighting, it's a case of ensuring that your layers of lights are cohesive be that by style or by era. So look for lights of similar materials or shapes so they work together in the space. They don't have to be 'matchy matchy' but they they need to sit happily together.
Once the lights are lowered then think about the candles. The ultimate in a touch of luxury is a beautifully scented candle. Look for soy wax candles that use essential oils to make sure you are being kind to the environment and yourself.
So there you have it, creating a luxurious feel at home doesn't always require a hefty budget. As an experienced interior designer, I've learned that it's the thoughtful details and strategic choices that can transform any space into a haven of opulence.
And as always if you need any help working out which quick wins will give your home that luxury makeover then give me a shout.
Photo credits: SwoonWorthy, Martha Stewart, Anna Hayman Designs, Linen Me, ID Shoppe, Caravane Paris, West of Main, L'Essenziale-hd, Soho Lighting, Wandworth Electrical, DeVOL, Zara, The Visual Vamp, 1st Dibs, These Four Walls, House Design, DEN LIFE interiors, Est Living, Secret Linen Store, Yor DIY Family, Simply J&K and Amy Bartlam.