With summer just around the corner and temperatures heating up, here are five simple ideas that will transform your interiors, giving a fresh new summer look. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to cost the earth. British interior designer, and founder of Zoom That Room, Benji Lewis, offers a myriad of options from eco-conscious ideas to fresh new colours and vibrant wall art. There’s no time like the present to add some summer flair to your living space.
A splash of colour
“The use of pastel colours in interiors suggests a fresh yet daring approach to things, blending pistachio with soft pink, turquoise, lilac and yellow sorbet – imagine looking through the window of an ice cream store for inspiration. The trick with a pastel colour palette is to work on colour tones and be unafraid of including a little clash here and there – soft red works brilliantly with dusty pink for example. For the less daring, use pastel colours as accents only – scheme a grey room with interesting textures and then accessorise with duck egg blue cushions or add a lavender velvet armchair.”
Be more eco-conscious
Refresh your surface
“The auction houses and antique shops are brilliant places for sourcing pre-loved items. The trick is knowing exactly what you’re shopping for and how you wish it to fit – always check measurements both with the seller and in the space you would wish to position things so that in spite of you buying a preloved piece, it looks as if it was made for the space. Even if you wish to shop ‘new’ for the main pieces of furniture in your room, consider accessories that have a story to tell – mid-century glass, antique textiles and a stack of coffee table books will make your room more interesting.”
“A fabulous way to enliven a tired looking wooden floor is to paint it. White painted floorboards add a bright and fresh feel to things. Don’t necessarily restrict the finish you apply to the floor to this surface alone; if you use white paint on the floor then take this onto the other woodwork too. Think about a design on your floorboards – large checkerboard for example, with the checks painted in tones to match your colour scheme. If a fully patterned floor sounds too much, how about doing the body of the floor in a colour with a contrast colour border around the edges.”
A colourful wall art
“An assortment of artwork in a variety of mediums works brilliantly on an accent wall. Think about mixing an antique oil painting with a pair of contemporary prints, a set of watercolours and a textile. When you plan a gallery wall, lay the items you wish to hang on the floor and plan what works best where. If the frames don’t all match it doesn’t matter, you can even include an unframed piece – it’s all about the planning and working out the best configuration to showcase what you wish to display.”
“Rugs are invaluable when it comes to adding softness – literally underfoot but they can also be a big help when it comes to acoustics so where this might be questionable, consider a layered rug approach. There’s nothing smarter than a rug that has been sized to furnish a room, and for that slightly scuffed country house look, you can add additional rugs on top of this, an excellent trick to cover patches where the old rug might have worn through. When it comes to choosing how to use rugs, I always think of textures – a velvet pile rug on a velvet pile carpet wouldn’t be a look that I would propose, but a velvet pile rug on floorboards looks fantastic.”
Zoom That Room is a contact-free, bespoke design offer. A one-hour home consultation costs from £90 per zoomed room. Via whichever video communications platform you choose (FaceTime/zoom etc), you can dial in with Benji and discuss your interior design issues and aspirations in return for tailored advice for you and your second home.
Since creating and launching Zoom That Room, Benji has conducted multiple virtual bespoke consultations. These range from simple advice to the start of significant refurbishments. Since lockdown, he has zoomed rooms for individuals in the UK, US, Paris and Sydney.