Our homes are a reflection of who we are, what we do, how we live, where we’ve travelled and what we value – after all, it’s only natural to want to surround ourselves with things we love.
But have you ever wondered how much personality you should inject into a room – or even what your home decor reveals about you? We ask the experts.
Minimalism – dare you bare?
You might think the minimal look shows an absence of personality – but all-white rooms can be the perfect backdrop for displaying the things you love best.
“White bestows an unmatched crisp, clean, and airy feel to any interior – and will never date like other colours,” says Atlanta Bartlett, co-author of ‘At Home with White’.
“The perfect blank canvass, white also offers limitless possibilities for collectors who love to display treasures and trinkets. The trick is to introduce focal points and definition, varying the shades and textures of white with accents of colour and pattern.”
[Related feature: Big ideas for small rooms - decor for small spaces]
The homespun home
If you want to inject some personality, colour and warmth into your home, there’s no better way than with a piece that you have decorated, adapted or even made. Simple tweaks and ideas can brighten up the pieces you already own, or personalise the ones you have bought.
“Modern craft is not about perfection or precision but about personality,” says Selena Lake, author of the ‘Homespun Home’.
“Pieces that are funny, colourful or just plain quirky will bring pleasure and a light touch to your home. Whether you are sticking on a sequin or trimming a curtain, homemade touches will make your home unique - and bursting with personality.”
When to show your true colours
Colour and pattern can bring vibrancy to a scheme – but too much can be hard to live with. “Think about which rooms you’re using colour in,” interior designer Wendy Newman suggests. “Stimulating designs work best in reception areas but most people prefer a relaxing bedroom and bathroom.”
If you’re new to colour, Wendy suggests adding bold accessories to a neutral scheme first. “If you love it, add a feature wall or curtain fabric next, sticking to a couple of colours.”
To prevent stimulation overload, take a single item you love - such as a painting or fabric - and build a colour palette and theme from there. Just limit how many inspirations you use. “Eclectic rooms can be beautiful, but the ones that work have a theme or mood running through them; it may be subtle but it’s there,” says interior designer Lisa Lewis.
A picture paints a thousand words
A dedicated picture wall is a quick and easy way to give a room personality. Wendy suggests grouping monochrome or sepia prints together or using matching frames - Ikea is a good place to bulk buy frames, or spray paint old ones a matching colour.
“Picture walls looks particularly good in halls and stairwells where you pass by regularly. Stacking pictures along a shelf or leaning large artworks on the floor creates an informal look which works well in bedrooms, living and dining rooms,” says Wendy. “Or get creative and digitally print photos onto window blinds, duvets or place mats.”
Collections (anything from hats to guitars or teapots) can also make stunning statement pieces. “It is lovely to display interesting finds or collections,” says Lisa. “Try mounting a series of items on a hall wall in a geometric pattern or simply grouping on a shelf.”
What should you leave out?
Ultimately, choosing what to put in your home, and how much personality you reveal is a personal decision. “The only thing you shouldn’t have in your home is something that doesn’t make you happy!” says Lisa.
A final word of warning though: “If you’re putting your house on the market, you run the risk of limiting its appeal if you’ve got too much of your own personality on show,” says Wendy. “Maybe leave just one wall with the funky 1950s wallpaper and tone down the other three.”
Have you got a favourite piece that reflects your personality or an individual look you love?
Photo courtesy Debi Treloar/Ryland Peters & Small