“How do you create a cohesive aesthetic throughout your home?” ????
Back in July (HOW quickly did that go?!) Ella and I hosted our first ever live podcast recording with Sainsbury’s Home. As part of this, we opened the floor for any and all questions relating to home decor and interiors.
Since Ella and I both moved into new flats earlier this year we had a LOT to talk about!
There were so many great questions, but one which really stood out to me was “how do you create a cohesive aesthetic throughout your home?”.
Since this exact quandary is something I think about a LOT, I thought it would be fun to share some of the things Oli and I have been focusing on to create a cohesive feel throughout our flat.
Side note: this is SUCH a fun subject for me I can’t even tell you ????
How I Create A Cohesive Aesthetic Throughout My Home
1 – Decide On Your Home’s Adjectives/Values
Back when I was working on my branding for The Elgin Avenue (which feels like foreverrr ago now!) my amazing branding designer Jamie took me through a branding questionnaire.
Via the questionnaire I was able to gauge how I wanted my brand to feel, and therefore in turn what it would look like.
And you can apply the same method to your home!
When Oli and I were talking about how we wanted to feel in our new flat, we kept finding ourselves settling on the same adjectives.
Words like: calm, cosy, elegant, welcoming, relaxed.
We were also conscious of the period of our property – Georgian, and our love of the Mediterranean. In particular the washed out sunshine-y colours of Menorca. So a Georgian/Mediterranean hybrid – with all of our adjectives in mind. Easy right?!
Although those may not sound like things which directly relate to objects, or visual choices, they do! If you’re looking for a sofa, for instance, you can ask yourself: “is this sofa calm-looking, cosy, elegant, welcoming and relaxing?”. If you’re looking at a paint swatch, is it: calm-looking, cosy, elegant, welcoming and relaxing?
You get the idea ☺️
Once we decided on the core values for our home, everything else followed.
The takeaway: spend some time thinking about how you want to feel in your home, and what that might end up looking like.
Remember, your version of what you find ‘calm’ or ‘welcoming’ will be unique. So don’t worry if you’re idea of a ‘calm’ room is one which features warm hues of orange, terracotta and cream, whilst other people (like me – ha!) prefer greys, blues and pink. It’s all a personal choice!
Decide on your values, and begin to think about the type of colours and furniture and the overall look that will help you to achieve those feelings.
2 – Choose Your Colour Palette
Once you’ve determined your home’s ‘values’, it’s time to think about your colour palette! Whoop!
Coming back to our adjectives – calm, cosy, elegant, welcoming, relaxed – Oli and I thought about colours and textures which would allow us to bring those feelings to life.
We settled on grey walls, with accents throughout the home in blues, washed-out green, blush pinks, white and brass.
With that in mind, and a million and one potential paint options out there, we decided to call in some help!
Choosing our wall colours . . .
One of the best things we did when redecorating our flat was to book in a colour consultation with Farrow & Ball.
Kat (who now works at their HQ) popped round and walked through the flat with us, taking note of SO many elements we wouldn’t have thought of! Things like where the sun rises and sets, whether or not we wanted to paint in our storage, the best colour schemes for this period of property . . . Oli and I were blown away!
We were also able to talk through the exact shades of grey we wanted for each room of the flat.
It turns out that all greys are not the same. At all – ha!
The colours of your walls are the most important hues to mull over, since they’re the things which take the most effort (and expense) to change. The same goes for large-scale furniture, or elements like kitchen cabinets.
My advice is to go relatively neutral with your big ticket items, and play around with colour in your accents.
The takeaway: choose 1 – 2 core colours which will provide the base for everything else, and 3 – 5 ‘accent’ colours which you can play around with.
3 – Layer Up
One of the biggest takeaways from our live recording, for me, was a piece of advice that Andrew Tanner, design manager for Sainsbury’s Home and Argos Home gave. Andrew said that ‘layering’ is the best way to put your personal stamp on your home’s decor.
Whilst you may own the same products as someone else, or seek inspiration from a magazine/blog/Pinterest, it’s how YOU layer things up which really determines the personality of your space.
In practical terms, when I’m ‘layering’ a room, I like to work from the big items up.
Here’s a little list to help demonstrate the process:
Monica’s Layering List
(in order of importance and decision-making)
- Wall colour
- Large furniture (sofa, rug, coffee table etc)
- Small furniture (lamps, side tables, vases etc)
- Accents (vases, trinkets, candles etc)
When you’re thinking about your space ‘on a whole’ it can feel almost overwhelming, but by working through a list like the above, you’re able to prioritise decisions in order of importance.
Plus, once you’ve chosen the ‘big ticket’ items, it’ll help you to make clearer decisions on the smaller items since you’ll have a better idea of how the space will look.
The takeaway: layering is your opportunity to put your stamp on a space. Take your time to build your style up from the foundation.
Your way of layering will be unique, so embrace it!
4 – Consistent Accents
I have a handful of accents which I try to incorporate into every room.
If you pop round to my flat, you’ll notice all of the below, in pretty much every space:
- faux hydrangeas
- recycled glass vases
- brass and copper accents
- patterned textiles
- textured ceramics
- natural materials and woven fabrics
- unique trinkets
- white marble
These elements are really small – hence why I think of them as accents – but they help to create a cohesive feel throughout the whole flat.
I like to think of these accents as a comparative to the beauty looks in a catwalk show. Consistent elements which help to tie together things.
In a home these accents bring together different rooms. In a fashion show the beauty looks tie together a collection via their consistency. Have a peep at the Dries Van Noten Spring 2019 catwalk to see what I mean. That slick of black eyeliner is to the runway show, what my recycled glass vases are to my home.
Side note: I miss the old school Style.com! Anyone else?!
The takeaway: develop your own accents, which you can weave throughout your home.
5 – Trust Your Own Taste (And If You Don’t Trust It – Find Someone Else To Trust!)
One of the nicest things about decorating our flat, is that Oli and I have really learnt to trust our own taste. When we first moved in we would mull over decisions for AGES, but with the benefit of experience we’re now more confident in knowing when we like something. We’re also more confident about knowing if an element will work with the rest of the house.
Which links in to why it’s so important to work on Steps 1 and 2 in the first place – ha!
Nowadays even if something is a ‘maybe’ for other people, but we’re confident in our decor choice, we’ll go for it!
You can always seek ‘expert’ advice . . .
If for whatever reason you don’t trust your own taste (and I GET it because there are still things I don’t know my own mind on when it comes to home decor) then find someone’s taste you DO trust.
Instagram’s ‘save’ function, and Pinterest have been a godsend in this respect.
Oli and I will often show each other screenshots of things we like the look of, and want to recreate or take inspiration from.
The takeaway: your instincts will ring louder the more times you try things out, and see how they go, but if you’re stuck it’s TOTALLY OK to look to others! And to use your save/pinning/magazine-cutting skills to their FULLEST!
I do! Ha!
SHOP THE LOOK
OVERALL . . .
+ MY FAVOURITE PLACES TO SHOP
Like anything, finding your ‘style’ when it comes to home decor takes time. And it takes a lot of listening to your own instincts, honing in on what YOU like and letting go of any other preconceptions or pressures.
Take time to think about the BIG things – like your paint colours, and high-spend pieces. And then have fun with the small items! Layer up to your hearts content, and enjoy the process.
Here’s a roundup of some of my favourite places to shop to get you started . . .
For big things
For small things
What’s Your Take?
I’d love to know your thoughts on this! Do you have fun pulling together your home’s overall ‘feel’ too? Or are you figuring it out?
Love, Monica x
Photography by Charlotte Bryer-Ash
Long Woven Cushion: Jess Feury Sunstreak Cushion, Anthropologie c/o
Woven Throw: Jess Feury Woven Sunstreak Throw, Anthropologie c/o
Patterned Mugs: ‘Tanja’ style at Anthropologie c/o
All other living room credits can be found here.
Bedroom credits can be found here.
Tablescape credits can be found here.