How to make your home unique

Julia Kendell offers her advice on how to give your space distinctive stand-alone style. Use colour, furniture, accessories, lighting and artwork to make your home your own.

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ABOVE: City Square wall mural by Mr Perswall (mrperswall.com).

Julia Kendell offers her advice on how to give your space distinctive stand-alone style.

Putting your stamp on your home means choosing every detail with YOU in mind. We all have different reactions to colours based on our experiences – a particular shade of blue might remind someone of a happy holiday in Greece; for another it might conjure up memories of their school uniform. This is how, in the past, we ended up with millions of houses painted magnolia so as not to ‘offend’ potential buyers. Thankfully, times have changed and we’re once again embracing our homes as our own, decorating them with our own personal style.

So here’s the secret… interior designers on television introduce strong, eye-catching feature walls and bold accessories to create the ‘wow’ factor. The most successful schemes I’ve worked on are those where I have gone as far from ‘safe’ as I believe is possible – and it is that departure from the norm that results in the ‘wow’.

When you’re confronted with the colossal choice of furnishings available today it is all too easy to make decisions based on one trend, only to become tired of it soon after. So, here are my top 10 tips for stamping your own style on your home.

1. Be brave with design

2. Make use of texture

ABOVE: (LEFT) Upper East mural, (H)280x(W)375cm, £506.43, DIGETEX (RIGHT) Wooden kitchen chairs have been spray-painted in Candy Pink, Green Apple, French Lilac and Strawflower by Rust-Oleum (rustoleumspraypaint.com). Prices start from £7.99 for a 400ml can.

3. Display unique items

4. Include artwork and photo collections

5. Be experimental

6. Incorporate favourite travel souvenirs

ABOVE: (LEFT) Stratford button-back chair by Kelly Swallow, made from a mix of vintage and designer fabric, (H)84x(W)67x(D)75cm, £1,100, Brighton POD (RIGHT) Right You can find a great range of oneoff antique and upcycled items, such as these Alphabet lockers, £675, at The Old Cinema (theoldcinema.co.uk).

7. Customise your lighting

8. Accessorise with colour

9. Design outside the box

10. Think big

Know your style

This may sound an odd question, but do you know your decorating style? You may be attracted to bright colours, stripes and modern artwork, but when it comes to decorating a home is this the style you want to live with?

Find a look that you’re drawn to, which reflects you and is easy to live with. What inspires you? For example, if you love nature, bring organic forms and materials into your design.

Try to draw inspiration from similarly proportioned rooms where possible, looking at past issues of magazines such as Real Homes is a great start – they are invaluable for showing how different looks can be achieved in everyday environments.

How far is too far?

Having imagined your dream room, there is a point at which you can potentially devalue your home. Ripping out original features is never a good idea. Original coving can work just as successfully in a contemporary environment; and remember that replacement windows can dramatically alter the external appearance of a property and not always for the better, so always choose wisely.

All prices and stockists correct at time of publishing