Sophie Paterson's eye for classic, approachable luxury has made her one of the most sought-after interior designer’s in the UK with her contemporary aesthetic admired by her 50,000 Instagram followers. We asked the 31-year-old to give us a peek inside her finest showcase, her home in Surrey, as well as her tips on creating such warm, inviting glamour.
1. Make a room luxurious by making it cohesive
“One mistake many people make when buying for their home is to think: 'I like it, I’ll find a place for it'. What they really need to do is plan ahead. Creating luxury is not about texture or lighting, it's making it all work together. Decide beforehand on your scheme and do your research. Always ask for a fabric sample so that you can take it home and see how the colour changes in the light. Look on Pinterest and Instagram, and analyse what it is about certain rooms that you like. Build up a picture before you even begin to clarify your thoughts.”
2. Use contrast to maximum impact
“I found my entrance hall the hardest room to design in my home as it was really huge and felt quite cold. I introduced soft furnishings to make it more warm and welcoming and added contrast to make it look striking and sophisticated. If a room blends too much there is little impact. The starting point was the feather painting. It was a gift from the in-laws – we said how much we loved it - and the feather motif carries through into the cushions. I love the rich purple colour of the sofa, which we sit on to do our shoes."
3. Don't be afraid of the dark
“Dark interiors give a sense of drama especially in the dining room. The only time we use ours is in the evening or for Sunday lunch so it's nice to feel warm and cosy even in the summer. While the wallpaper is dark, the painting and lighter rug brings a contrast (I often add silky rugs to a room as they look luxurious and the light bounces off so you don’t notice where they're worn or stained). If you have overhead lights, like in our dining room, they must have a dimmer. At a dinner party the first thing I do is to dim the lights - it transforms the atmosphere. And to create a dramatic table display, you don’t have to cover it in flowers, you can add small arrangements or scatter sculptures from around your home to make an eye-catching effect.”
4. Use one accent colour
“It’s easier to have a completely neutral base and add one accent colour. What I focus on in interiors is to ensure that a room doesn't date or a client get bored – it needs to look relevant for years. I was more wary of using colour in the beginning – as you need lots of experience and it's harder to go wrong with a neutral palette - but slowly I have begun to introduce more shades always done in a subtle way.”
5. Wallpaper will be your greatest saving
"Wallpaper, particularly textured wallpaper, transforms the feel of a room. People think it is an expensive addition but it is worth every penny. You need less art to fill the room and it instantly feels luxurious and warm. My home is also filled with artificial flowers - I am a plant killer - but I always buy the best I can afford as they can age badly."
6. Approach statement pieces with caution
“Beautiful interiors are not so much about budget - you can go drastically wrong with a huge budget - it is more about taste and knowing when to be restrained. If everything is a statement - the chandelier, the must-have rug - it can look too much, you need more sophisticated, classic pieces to tone down the glamour. There is no formula to it but as a rough guideline I would say 10 to 30 per cent of the room should be made up of statement pieces.”
7. Never scrimp on storage
“To keep a calm, luxurious feel I always over allow for storage. I like rooms to feel uncluttered - I only have objects on show that I really like. When it comes to organising clothes, its impossible to make them look tidy on a rail unless you have an army of staff to help, so drawers are essential and dressing tables are making a comeback in a big way - it feels indulgent to sit at your own table to do your makeup. I used a lot of soft colours in here, creams and soft pinks, to make it feminine but not overly so and I wanted to add a statement light so that it feels opulent.”
8. Make your bathroom more of a room
“We had this single slab of marble shipped from Italy - I had photos of it being craned onto the shipping palette so it was so satisfying seeing it installed. On the floor I used the biggest oversized tiles I could find as the fewer grout lines the better and I used quartz tiles rather than natural stone, which will stain. Another tip for the bathroom is if you can fit a piece of furniture in there do as it will make it more of a room and less utilitarian.”