Whether it’s minimalist cool or haute glamour, there’s a growing wealth of slick interiors blogs and beautiful Instagram accounts to inspire every design aficionado. Here I glean some insider tips from four of the most influential online names.
Hip interior designer, retailer and prolific blogger, Abigail Aherne is known for her signature inky-blue colour palette and penchant for eccentric accessories. On Instagram, Abigail’s 36.5k followers are treated to behind the scenes shots of her own home, while her stylish blog is a veritable treasure-trove of design tips, ideas and insights into beautiful homes.
Describe your signature interiors style?
It is classic with a twist. I want my interiors to be glamorous but still laid-back, sophisticated, moody and edgy. I love a maximalist look: dark colours, metallic accents, cosy textures and heaps of plants and greenery everywhere.
What advice would you give readers looking to revamp a space?
Experiment, be bold and go with your gut. Choose only what you love, and I guarantee you’ll have a home that’s so amazing you’ll never want to leave.
What are the big interiors trends for the new season ahead?
It’s all about sumptuous, cosy textures for Autumn/Winter. Textural walls are going to be the new thing. Think faux fur, rustic wood cladding, velvet, ponyskin, suede, cement cladding and grass-cloth. I also think a return to homespun crafts will be huge. We’re championing ceramics that are organic in feel, textiles that have been softly woven from merino wool (including the most incredible knitted lamps!) and huge wooden platters.
Where is your go-to place for unusual finds?
You’ll often find me mooching around the Criterion Auction House on Essex Road, Islington (criterionauctioneers.com) – I always find unique, quirky pieces – and Columbia Road Market in east London for fresh flowers (columbiaroad.info). Go early!
What’s on your shopping list for your home?
Something I’ve had my eye on for a while is a clay table by Desalto. Simple yet incredibly beautiful (desalto.it).
Whose instagram do you follow?
A lot of interiors, obviously, like @sohohome or @romanandwilliams. I’m also really into beautiful nature photography and an outdoorsy vibe (I’m obsessed with all thing cabins!). Some of my favourites are @livingitrural @kpunkka and @cabinporn.
What makes for the perfect Insta image?
Beautiful natural light, lots of texture, and make sure there’s some plants or greenery into a shot. I always seem to end up with a pet pooch in my pics, somehow! And top tip: you can just tap on your iPhone screen to focus on one area and automatically adjust the lighting and exposure levels – genius!
Where else online is a good source of inspiration?
Pinterest is fab for finding inspiration. I also check out regular blogger, photographer and stylist favourites, and interior sites like 1stDibs.com, OneKingsLane.com or MyDomaine.com.
Read Abigail Ahern’s blog: abigailahern.com and follow her on Instagram: @abigailahern
All pictures courtesy of Abigail Ahern
After launching her blog Design Hunter in 2009, it wasn’t long before Helen Powell started winning awards, such as the Best Luxury Blog Award in the Amara Interior Blog Awards in both 2014 and 2015. Her interiors, design and lifestyle website focuses on understated luxury and modern, slick design.
What’s your personal design ethos?
I believe that the objects we choose to live with should create a home that is inviting, restful and a place of sanctuary. Our home, which is a mews house in Leamington Spa, is furnished with lots of different tactile textures like wood, marble and slate, statement lighting and a huge sofa for lounging in the living room.
What’s next for our homes in 2017?
I’m seeing an increasing interest in a soft, luxurious form of minimalism expressed through carefully considered design and high quality craftsmanship. It’s a style that offers a soothing respite from the relentlessness of daily life, particularly as technology becomes more and more demanding of our time. Designers and architects like Jasper Morrison and John Pawson have been pointing towards this way of living for the past 20 years, but I feel it’s really coming of age now.
What shops are in your ‘little black book’?
I love to pop into Mint in South Kensington when I am in London (mintshop.co.uk). I also like to visit open days at artists’ studios to pick up ceramic pieces – it’s always nice to be able to buy direct from the maker. I love the simple, tactile functional pieces Elisabeth Barry (elisabeth barry.com) and Jono Smart (jonosmart.co.uk) create.
What designer inspires you?
I’m drawn to design that focuses on emotional values and the human experience of a space so Ilse Crawford is someone I really admire. And I always find Faye Toogood’s work fresh and interesting.
What’s your next project in your own home?
A redesign of our bathroom. I’m currently hunting down the perfect sleek minimal taps, looking at different marble finishes and testing out various shades of grey.
Whose Instagram do you follow?
@haarkon for botanical inspiration, @han_house and @hegeinfrance for soothing Scandi minimalism and @evachen212 for her wit, humour and style.
What is your favourite interiors pic you have taken on your blog?
I love the picture I took when we stayed at The Chapel in Somerset (shown above). The entire place was a dream to photograph and the way the light floods in through the windows is just beautiful.
How do you create the perfect interiors photograph?
If I’m styling and shooting an interior I’ll usually try out a few different arrangements and then stand back and try to analyse what does and doesn’t work. I can often go through several iterations before I end up with an image I’m happy with. I definitely have a perfectionist streak.
Read Helen Powell’s website: Designhunter.com and follow her on Instagram: @designhunter_uk
All pics courtesy of Helen Powell
One of the industry’s top interiors stylists, Sophie Robinson is also recognisable as one of the judges on BBC2’s Great Interior Design Challenge. Her Instagram feed is awash with primary-coloured interiors shots, family snaps and bright blooms.
Describe your home-style?
I live in a rural, late-Victorian farmhouse in Sussex, which we are gradually remodeling. My style is colourful! I embrace the whole spectrum and love to experiment on how colour can enhance and affect the mood in a space.
I like to paint the walls a dark hue, which allows my love of bright accessories to really pop. I also have an unhealthy obsession with cushions – I mash up lots of different patterns and textiles together. A few pom poms and tassels don’t go amiss either. I also love to group collections in my home. For example, a selection of artwork all bought together on a gallery wall, or a series of pots grouped together on a sideboard.
Where is your favourite place to source furnishings?
My local Ardingly Antiques Market (iacf.co.uk/ardingly) is a must. It’s huge and traders come from all over Europe. I bought a rather splendid oversized Victorian rug there on my last visit. I’m also always popping into Lots Road Auction House (lotsroad.com) in Chelsea for second-hand pieces that I can customize.
What’s on your ‘lust’ list for the home?
I want a canary yellow, velvet sofa. And my all time goal would be to design my own rug for The Rug Company (therugcomapny.com).
What’s been the best project you have worked on?
I think my present project will be the most notable. I’m designing a whole new build for a family who have adopted four children all with special needs. It is for an episode of BBC1s DIY SOS to be aired next year. The scale of the build is massive. I’m going to go all out to make it amazing for them, as they are so deserving. However my biggest challenge may be that they have minimalist tastes!
What inspires you?
I love the way people chose to live, the objects we gather around us and what it means to create a home. Online, however, Pinterest is brilliant for design inspiration. I use it a lot as it’s easy to find the sort of image you might be holding inside your head.
Is travel important to the design process?
Yes, definitely! I’ve travelled a lot and it’s always been worthwhile from a creative point of view. India has to be top of the pile when it comes to sheer visual stimulation! I love the celebration of colour, the heritage of craftsmanship and the architecture. My husband and I try and do a long trip every other year. Aside from feeding my soul creatively, it’s also a really good opportunity to take a break from the speed of life and come back recharged and refocused.
What are the big interiors trends for A/W 2016?
The luxe look continues to be strong with luxurious materials like velvet, marble and brass being used.
Whose instagram do you follow?
The filmmaker and photographer @Xantheb, Bri Emery’s @designlovefest – great for travel inspiration – and fellow lover of colour @shinythoughts. I like feeds that are authentic. I like to see a glimpse of the real person.
Read Sophie Robinson’s website: sophierobinsoninteriors.co.uk and follow her on Instagram: @sophierobinsoninteriors
With 600,000 views per month, Niki Brantmark’s blog My Scandinavian Home is one of the most popular interiors sites around. Originally from London, Niki relocated to Malmö in Sweden and six years ago the archetypal clean, Scandinavian aesthetic became the inspiration for her blog. She is author of the interiors book Modern Pastoral and is currently working on a second title.
What’s your signature style?
Bohemian modern. Keep it simple and clean, yet cosy and relaxed. My own home – a townhouse by the sea – is predominantly white with light wood floors. The furniture is a mix of mid-century finds, vintage items, Scandinavian design pieces and the odd high-street piece. I love to use sheepskin throws, blankets and lots of candles in the autumn and winter to make the space as cosy as possible.
What are your predictions for the latest interiors trends?
A mix of sweet and sensational: think dusty pink contrasted with deep blues and greens. These are the accent colours du jour. Also, round and square ottomans have cropped up in many AW17 collections – and they are perfect for a relaxed, modular sitting room as they can be used for extra seating, a footrest or even a table (with the right tray).
What are your favourite interiors shops?
For vintage and one-off pieces online I love Etsy (etsy.com). If I’m in London I like to pop into Aram store (aram.co.uk), Skandium (skandium.com), Aria (ariashop.co.uk), Jasper Morrison (jaspermorrison.com) and for vintage pieces The Old Cinema (theoldcinema.co.uk).
Who is your favourite designer?
The Danish craftsman Hans Wegner – his pieces are not only beautiful, they are exquisitely handcrafted from natural materials and stand the test of time.
What’s your next project?
I’m currently working on my second book, which will be out in Spring 2017 – very exciting!
What do you have your eye on for your home?
On my shopping list is a Gervasoni Ghost Sofa 14 in white linen, a Rue side chair by Urbanist Living (urbanist.in) (shown above) and a mix of velvet cushions in greens and blues from H&M (hm.com) (shown below).
What’s your inspiration?
Nearly all my biggest ideas pop up out when I’m somewhere out in nature – on our sailing boat, walking along the beach or in the nearby forest here in Malmö. I find Pinterest perfect for new ideas and creating mood-boards. I also love interior magazines such as Elle Decoration, blogs and Instagram, such as @thedesignchaser.
What makes for the perfect Insta interiors image?
It may sound obvious but stick to photographing things you love so that there’s a thread between the pictures in your gallery. Play around with interesting angles (you can take inspiration from photos by other Instagrammers you love). Filters can also add a tremendous amount to pictures.
Read Niki Brantmark’s blog: myscandinavianhome.com and follow her on Instagram: @myscandinanvianhome
Pics courtesy of Niki Brantmark
A version of this article is in the October 2016 issue of Kensington & Chelsea Magazine and also online here: luxurylondon.co.uk