"For me, the success of an entire room or photo can hinge on one seemingly insignificant element that makes the whole come to life" - Hans Blomquist
Hans Blomquist is an interior stylist, art director, author and general interior genius. He's worked with names including IKEA, H&M Home, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, West Elm and Bloomingdales so it's pretty safe to say he knows a thing or two about interiors. I've followed his work for a while now and I am totally enthralled by his passion for the attention to detail. I'm currently devouring his book "in detail" and so I thought I'd share some of the wisdom that I'm learning.
Look to nature says Hans,
"I rarely try and force ideas to come, or look through magazines and blogs. I prefer to go out for a long walk and just let my ideas develop."
I COMPLETELY agree with the master on this. If you look to said magazines and blogs, as much as it's great for a nosey, you will find whether subconsciously or not, that you will will simply recreate what you have seen. Let's face it, where is the originality in that? If you let your ideas come from a completely raw, natural instance they will be yours and not just full of integrity but your personality too. I guess in summary, if you're looking to create a colour scheme, instead of looking through the Farrow and Ball 'lookbook', look to nature. Question what's happening by the sea, in the woods or in the sky (night sky if you're asking us, obvs) That could be the perfect colour palette right there.
"Texture is one of the most important ingredients for creating a successful interior, and I always find that mixing old with new and rough with smooth creates a home that is both personal and interesting."
This is EXACTLY what I always bang on about. Layering texture is seriously crucial to creating space that enchants and create intrigue. Just like I talked about in the post about our dire bedroom sitch (lacking layers and personality = BLAH), the addition of varying textures can transform your space. Mix shiny with matt, leather with wool, silk with linen, wood with metal, leather, concrete and fur - everything. Just mash up the textures and you'll be on your way to creating comfort and warming spaces. I talk a lot about new builds and how impersonal they tend to feel, this is a result of a lack of texture. New builds come with new walls, new paint, new plaster, NEW, NEW, NEW- it's all too much new. Add a dose of patina, nostalgia - something old with a story and something a little imperfect to help prevent this impersonal canvas. (Calm down, we're not talking ripping down your perfect plaster folks, maybe just adding a rustic old footstool or aged milk jug).
Equally, if your space is old, your walls are wonky and worn, adding clean lines through furniture and accessories can style up this texture and provide a healthy, interesting contrast.
We're talking a little bit more than cushions and throws (think texture not textiles) mix up upholstered furniture with natural rattan and bamboo or look for upholstered pieces with wooden arms or legs. Extend to lighting too, not just accessories, go for cane fittings for a boho feel or max the glamour with all brass pieces.
"I always start with a detail - a colour, a surface, a roll of string, a single flower. It could be anything, but from that single small piece of inspiration I will create a whole room set"
"There is no right or wrong when it comes to colour - the most important thing is is choosing a scheme that you love."
When choosing colour, we agree- follow your instinct. Don't pick your shade because it is 'Pantone's Colour Of The Year' - you could end up hating it. A good place to start is to look into your wardrobe. Suss out the colours you are drawn to when dressing yourself and follow that through into your home, this way you know you will love it and that you're not just recreating something you've seen elsewhere.
Think about the feel you want to create. Pastels can be soothing, understated and calm, but equally paired with darker shades they create a more timeless, sophisticated feel.
Dark, inky hues used on their own add drama and in our humble experience, have the power to make everything else in the room look instantly more expensive.
White can work(bet you never thought you'd her that from us!) So often it is used as a safe bet, but actually white on white can look super classy. Add the textures we previously mentioned and this common shade will be elevated. Personally we're not a fan of white and brights -we prefer the warmth that natural tone on tone brings.
Grey. This shade has been around the block more times than enough and there is good reason as to why. It is chic, classy, cool and can be seen as safe. But a recent conversation with a customer got me thinking that it's not so easy to work with as everyone thinks. The lady in question proclaimed it was much harder to nail than she had imagined. I elaborated and suggested that rather than painting one feature wall grey, the rest white and adding the same grey accents, the hue should be explored. Layering different shades, saturations and variations of 'grey' can make it much more interesting and rich.
Darker shades are cocooning and moody and paired with lighter accents can look super sophisticated. If you're asking us - paint the walls dark and layer up from there.
Other than painting your walls, changing colour through textiles like rugs and cushions can make the world of difference. Think of them like accessories to your outfit. You can dress up your staple LBD to look different every time no? Your spaces are exactly the same!
Which leads us nicely to ...
"In the same way we update our wardrobe from Summer to Winter, and add new pieces to keep on trend or to cheer ourselves up, textiles in the home can also be changed with the seasons, used to make a fashion statement or give a new injection of colour, whether in the shape of new cushions for the sofa, new towels in the bathroom or new sheets for the bed."
I'm a little obsessed with textiles (it would be wrong if I wasn't after spending 3 years studying the stuff wouldn't it!) I'm drawn to anything irresistible to touch and I love to try to recreate this in the store - always encouraging shoppers, children especially, to feel the products on the shelves. It's so satisfying and comforting. And this, comfort, is exactly what bringing textiles into your home will do. They will comfort and cocoon and soften.
Making you feel calm and safe all at once while looking inviting and creating an idyllic atmosphere (sounds heavenly right?! I'm almost asleep writing all that jazz!)
I'm literally counting down the days until our new bedding arrives and I can pinch some for home!
This is pretty on the mark with what I usually talk about, surrounding yourself with things you love will not only create a space you never want to leave but it will brim with personality. Guess what, this worldwide stylist agrees-
"There are no rules on what a collection should consist of, but I think it's important to accumulate things that you will use and enjoy having around you."
Apart from threads, beads and vintage silks I'm yet to really find a specific thing to collect BUT I always make sure I bring something from each of our travels. I love handmade (obviously) and anything with a natural texture, and it's usually kitchen wear that I tend to bring home. My faves are some hand painted wooden bowls we brought back from greek island we visited.
Don't allow yourself to become bored with your space. Take the time to really have a play around with your furniture, objects and displays,
"It's so pleasing yo the eye to see objects in different ways, and it's important to keep an interior fresh and updated. It seems to bring new energy to a space."
Hans talks a lot about recycling and reusing objects in different ways, he's very right when he says that the indispensable nature of the fashion industry has somehow reached the interiors market too - which is a shame! As humans we do crave 'the new', it's inevitable. Of course we all want the latest this, but if you invest in timeless, quality pieces really it should be very easy to give them a new lease of life. Switch things up, move them around and think about how you're using them. Not only will it save you money but you'll find a new love for your stuff and I can guarantee you'll have found 'faffing' (an Instagram technical term used by interior obsessives) and you'll never want to stop!
Think outside the box when it comes to displaying your 'stuff'.
"If all of the components of the display are roughly the same scale and height, the finished effect will be cluttered rather than composed."
A few key ideas are-
Prop pieces up
Lay things on trays or plates
Work with odd numbers
Use tonal colour schemes
Use pegs, paper clips and string for displays that are easily changed
I am now COMPLETELY in love with this book. It's given me so much food for thought, not only for home but for the store too. It really is good to take stock and give something new a try once in a while. Hans' look is much more paired back than LD, but the foundations he talks about are fundamental. They can be applied to your style, my style, his style and result in the most successful display of details.
Happy 'Faffing' folks
"Some people look at the bigger picture first, but I am the opposite."