The Missing Link

So, you have nearly finished the room and something is missing.  You aren’t going “Oh, wow” each time you walk in. In any room you need to add 1- 2 pieces that are out of context. That is all, no more.  This creates an energy vibe and big twist that makes a space zing.  Remember when we said all rooms with style were memorable?  Well, by adding something that doesn’t quite “go” or that is a little off makes it memorable.  It’s about creating a tension that is different to the rest of the room.  If everything is a smooth shiny surface it will be boring, so by adding texture e.g. a sisal rug you instantly create that energy vibe.


Look at the picture repinned from Greige (lots of gorgeous pictures there). A Sparkly chandelier over a rustic industrial dining table. Am sure you have all seen that! Why does it work you ask? Well there are different textures at play here –masculine, rustic &rough table contrasted with a shiny, sparkly, delicate & feminine chandelier.  (By the way this photo also works ‘tonally’ – thinking of this in black and white- there are 50 shades of Grey in there aren’t there?) It is an unexpected twist – a real bloke wouldn’t buy a chandelier would he?  He’d buy the table!

So maybe instead of trying to get rid of those blokey pieces that you hate, perhaps you could look at them in a different light? Use them to create that tension and vibe and perhaps they will be the missing link for your cool, remodelled and otherwise feminine space.


Get into the Mood with Boards

In a frustratingly, bad mood because you don’t know where to start?  Well, this is where Mood Boards come in….They are one of the best tools to narrowing down what styles, colours and themes you like.  Start by cutting pictures out of mags, printing them out, printing of f the internet and keeping them in a folder.  You can create several if you wish for every room in your house.  Don’t be scared to do this, as it is just a mood board –you haven’t spent any money yet!

If you don’t like getting messy with scissors and glue, another excellent tool is the website Pinterest.  Join up and make your own mood boards there.  In fact you can search the site for Mood Boards and hey presto you’ll probably find someone has done one for you with the exact things that push your button.  Be warned:- this site is addictive.


Why are we recommending you do this? Well, have a really good look at what you have collected and then analyse, analyse, analyse.  Ask yourself some questions. For example: Are the same colours or styles repeated? Have you chosen the same type of flooring in all the rooms? Is there a particular style there? Is there a beautiful mirror in each one? Are there antiques or modern furniture?  Do you like the kelims or shaggy rugs?

Here is a mood board done by Designer Autumn Clemons from Utah.   If you click on the picture it will take you through to her blog that shows the realisation of the dream Mood Board.  Worth looking at 🙂


This is such a powerful and worthwhile thing to do- particularly good if you are trying to achieve your cool new interior look.  It cuts through the huge amount of product and information out there.  Mood boards narrow down your selection choice & helps you define what you like.  Most importantly you avoid making expensive mistakes.  You can also view some on our Room Service Interiors Pinterest page. Now get cutting and pasting.

Elements in Common

If you decorate all of your rooms individually, in different colours and styles, you will end up with a series of boxes inside a bigger box, that do not relate to each other.  Somehow the place feels small, disjointed and unsettling.  The solution is to add some elements in common throughout  eg  the same skirtings, architraves, window surrounds, ceilings, door hardware, flooring.  It also helps to have a few pieces true to the original style of a house so it links back.  This helps to create flow and a cohesive whole to the interior and thus the feeling of space.  And we all want that don’t we?
Another trick is to use the  same accent colour or colours in different ways through out the house.
For example you may have decided on using Greys throughout the house, so choose your accent colour eg acid yellow and then use it in different ways in each room – yellow sofa in the lounge, vintage dresser in the dining room, continued with a cushion on master bed, bright yellow towels in downstairs loo, sunny yellow wallpaper in the entrance hall.  Got the picture of how you add elements in common?   Below are some pictures to give you some inspiration and help along the way, based on the family room & description above.
Furniture off the wallsRoomServiceHeadboardWebPopColourDisplayPics

Light Up Your Life

If you have just one depressing lonely light in the middle of the room please disconnect it.  Electrician advisable!  Why?  Because it does nothing to highlight your wonderful displays, focal points and pictures you have created.  Light doesn’t get into all those nooks and crannies and corners of a room with a single hanging pendant.  It also does nothing for the atmosphere of the room, which is what the whole aim is.  What we’re saying is you want to create romance and drama, with the lights. Yeap, exciting huh?

Three types of lighting are required to make an interesting interior.  Accent, Ambient and Task lighting.

  1. Accent lighting for depth and shade, highlighting an area or displaying or wall washing some pictures you have hung.
  2. Ambient provides the warm pools of back ground lighting to create a soft welcoming mood.
  3. Task lighting is for things like working, reading & cooking.


UrbanKaleidoscopeLeaningArtLightingWhere to start putting the lights? As you have moved around your furniture and got it off the walls, place a couple of table lamps there for starters….do you want to read or sew there? In which case you will need a task light too.  What you want to is create is light interest from different sources so you highlight the areas and draw the eye to your focal points.  Again they don’t need to be mitchy-matchy-Laura-Ashley, but do make sure they are at different heights to create difference in scale & moods.  Above you can see task lighting on the LHS for a desk and then on RHS- love this – putting two lamps together to highlight a corner of a sofa and the modern abstract art behind.  Better than the pendant, no?

It doesn’t need to cost  a lot of $$$, but does take a little time and imagination.  Local chain stores have some cool pieces that add the twist you require.  Also vintage lamps can look fabulous with new shades. (Above photos) &  Shown this picture before of the vintage lamp below, highlighting a corner of our man cave – bought in the local charity shop, replaced the shade and removed the Nana plinth it was on.  Now we have some cool lighting, different to everyone else’s and for a fraction of the cost.

Oh, and Don’t forget  candles & fire light too!  (Just added the romance). All of this will make a room seem more welcoming.


Hang those Rogues Up in a Gallery

Your Pictures and art are another way of personalising your space. So, Hang them up.  Dotting pictures around a room, does not create a focal point! This may seem scarey but it is not too hard – honestly!  Like accessories, group them together in similar themes and colours or framing style.  Lay them out on the floor below where you are thinking you will create your gallery.  Now imagine a border around the outside of your pictures and arrange them so that they fit into it.  If you can’t imagine the border create one on the floor with some sticks or ribbon.  Now get the hammer, pencil and picture hooks and away you go.  Let them hang out together creating a focal point.  Not too hard is it?


Above you can see that we have made an otherwise long stairwell much more interesting by hanging ’em up all together.  You can see the imaginary frame around the outside of both sets of pictures.  The ones of the kids that we can never bear to part with – well hang them up and display them in a similar fashion – and brighten up your day each time you pass.

So,  if you have those School pictures of kids dotted along the mantelpiece in a line, please frame them and put them together.  Create your own rogues gallery and point of interest in your hallway.   They’ll look so much better hanging out together.

Does your space belong to you?

Please Personalise your space  as this is what gives a room soul and makes it interesting.  By telling your story with the things you love your room will be memorable.  It gives your place, your unique style, your way.

Display your favourite accessories, collections & memorabilia to create your own unique focal points in a room.  This does take a bit of playing, tweaking, and time, but it’ll look so much better .    Don’t be scared, you are not spending any money here!  Warning: if you dot things around the place and not group things together it will just look sad , lonely and timid.

To create your focal points, gather things together that can be grouped together easily, looking for common elements such as colours and theme.  eg. Smooth porcelain collection, or pieces gathered on a trip to Egypt.  Make sure they are clean & dust free!

For’ table scapes’ work on creating a pyramid, using Goldilocks and the 3 bears.  Starting with the Largest item at the Back (Daddy Bear), work your way down to the next level & place Mummy bear in middle, & Baby bear at the front.  Next add something out of context to add a vibe or textural contrast-(Goldilocks).   So you remember, we made a Pyramid shaped table scape below Turkish and Egyptian pieces.


Look at the collections below in Nikki Tibble’s London home.  She has grouped together smooth porcelain vases, urns and dogs in a similar way – like things together, working on graduating to the front with smaller pieces.  A plant is added for textural contrast and interest.  The felt cushion and throw on the Eames chair in front also contribute to a textural contrast.  PersonalityTexture

Collections of smaller pieces will look good on a tray or platter to anchor them. A solid base as such.  Remember everything shiny and new is cold and unwelcoming.  Old things, rustic things add the soul.  Your unique collections, make your space unique. But best of all it doesn’t look like anyone else’s.  🙂 What is better than that?

Rough it up – Add Texture

Add the rough stuff in any interior, but most especially where there colour scheme is neutral and mono- toned.

Texture + Tone adds life and interest.  If everything is all  smooth it just  looks dull.  Too much shiny and glitzy gear (marble, mirrors, shiny gold ) makes for a cold formality in a room.  Rough it up with something rustic, slubby linens, some fluffy rugs or sisal.  Don’t have all smoothRimu or Kauri woods.  You don’t need woods to all be matching as different woods add textures and layers in a room. Try something industrial looking.  A quick fix is often to add something inside that you would expect to see outside – eg a rustic pot, wood or even a plant.

By adding texture you add interest and make the space a lot more welcoming, less formal and cocooning.  This is particularly important when you do neutral interiors and everything is one colour. 

The picture below is all toned up and textural, but it is a ‘neutral’ coloured interior.  Note the Smooth dark chair, contrasting with the shiny brass lamp. The light shiny picture contrasts with the rough rustic table, hydrangeas. The outdoors has been brought in. A beautiful textured rough wallpaper, but with the glamour shine it. Fabulous.  You could work here all day, no?


On the right a sleek modern kitchen with smooth whites has been roughed up with textured wood fronts on the cupboards.  Again outside has been bought inside.  All Shades of Grey are seen here-as in all tonal values.

So, the mission for today is to add all those rustic layers and rough textures to your interiors.  If you have china collections or a glass collection – they are smooth and shiny so why don’t you start things off by adding a plant or some flowers? (Outside, inside- again!)