Living etc House Tours: Styling Tips

What did I take home from the Living etc Home Tours I did in March?  Quite a bit, actually.  Here’s a quick rundown of some recurrent styling trends.

  • Go big or go home.  Wait a minute, you already are home.  OK, just go big.   Taken literally this meant outsized furnishings (large artwork being the most common).  Some homes just went with the big concept, such as clapboard-clad walls or collections of items.  I love that with such grand statements each home is a reflection of its owner and not a soulless show space.


  • Go eco friendly and natural.  Upcycled and recycled items made unusual, interesting decor. For example, the paned glass doors in the Clarkson house came from a disused Holborn library. Another home had fire doors upcycled to become a dining table.  Floorboards were painted with throw rugs used for interest and warmth.  Such decor make a home truly unique.


  • Maximise light.  There are lots of ways to increase light in a home – effective use of skylights, strategically placed mirrors such as in the Clarkson house, internal atriums, double-height rooms and floor-to-ceiling windows.  Natural light in a house makes a space seem larger and warmer.  Who wants to live in a cold, unfriendly home?  Not me.


  • Accessorize the kitchen and bathrooms as living spaces.  Instead of treating these rooms as utilitarian places, decorate them as you would any other living area with pictures, chairs, rugs, etc.  If you are concerned with damp or heat ruining decor, just go for cheapish items that look good.  For example, the owner of the kitchen which sports oil paintings has said she found them at flea markets.  What a good excuse to hit the nearest flea market!

go decorative-001

  • Go sleek and reduce visual clutter.  The favoured look for kitchens is still sleek and handleless.  Sometimes the cupboards go right up to the ceiling.  Walls and ceilings painted the same colour provide a streamlined look as well as make the room feel larger.  Rooms can be defined without the clutter of doors through the use of sliding doors and pocket doors.  Doors, themselves, may be recessed against a wall in order to become less obtrusive.  Poured concrete or resin floors also add to the sleek look.  Indeed you can even get rid of closet space but I find that impractical.  In bathrooms, tiles all the same colour provide visual harmony.  I can dream zen-like order and visual harmony but, with my chaotic family, that’s so not happening.


There are some things that just didn’t work for me:

  • Bathtubs in bedrooms.  A family bathroom really needs a bathtub because many small children are afraid of showers.  I just don’t think  bathtubs at the end of beds are a practical solution.  Splashing, playing and general water mayhem is one of the joys of bathing little children.  I prefer not to worry about some careless person leaving a damp towel on the Le Corbusier chaise longue.


  • Minimal window coverings.  Many people dislike window treatments, even in the bedroom.  I, however, need window coverings in the bedroom – proper curtains, not those wispy pieces of fabric which are merely decorative.  I can’t sleep without darkness and sleep deprivation turns me into a raging beyotch.  Besides, people are constantly peering in windows in an urban environment.  The paranoid New  Yorker in me thinks we are only one psycho away from ending up like Gwyneth Paltrow in the movie Se7en.


So which of these styling tips do you like?  Do you see incorporating any into your own home?  Let me know in the comments!

photos:  Living etc., Ed Reeve, Hogarth Architects, Desire to Inspire, and Henley Halebrown Rorrison.

2 thoughts on “Living etc House Tours: Styling Tips

  1. interiornovice

    What a fantastic breakdown of the Livingetc House Tour! It looks like you learned a lot from the tour and got to see some fantastic homes at the same time. I can’t wait for next years tour. Can you? xD

    1. shobha Post author

      yes it was really interesting wasn’t it? although each house was different, there was definitely a look. I’ve never done the house tours before but I am definitely doing next years!


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