What are the most commonly asked questions from Holly Johnson’s interior clients? We speak to Holly to find out …

I’m so fed up with all my rooms being dressed in neutral colours, but nervous about introducing colour and patterns, how do I make a start?

To make a gentle start there are a number of changes that can be made if colours and patterns make you nervous. 1) Cushions are a great and reasonable way to start bringing colours and pattern into neutral rooms. Contrasting sharper tones can be used as highlights. Also, patterns can be introduced with cushions into a plain scheme – if you are unsure, start with similar tones but within a stylized or geometric design. Designers Guild have a great selection of ready-made cushions in two-tone fabrics and also louder more exotic patterns. 2) We often use single armchairs to display more brighter or patterned fabrics in a more simplified designed room. This can brighten up a dark or glum corner or a space that is neither here or there. 3) Vintage rugs with their soft warmer tones can bring a warmness to a cold starker palette and make a room feel softer. 4) We often use statement smaller decorative items and dote them around a property. A colourful piece of glass or a vase can give definition to a table or side cabinet. Also, a well-designed ceramic piece of art can add interest to a room. On the walls, a beautifully framed piece of art can also add colour and elegance to a scheme, and take the blandness off a neutral design.

My partner and I have completely different tastes in colour and styles, what do you suggest?

Start small. Maybe place and item that your partner likes in one area and also add your preference in another area. We don’t want any divorces!! An eclectic mix of items and furniture if worked slowly makes a room look interesting and can look like a carefully crafted collection!

I am looking for a vintage feel, what colours, fabrics and wallcoverings should I go for?

The world is your oyster. Start with the main components of a room. Walls and flooring first. Then seating, furniture, and curtains. Then wall furniture and tables etc. Finally, art and decorative items. Take your time if you are a novice! Layering fabrics and patterns is a good way to create a vintage vibe. If you are feeling brave, go for a strong pattern or very strong colour in one of the areas mentioned above – this might need to be balanced elsewhere in the room with a contrasting or quieter tone. William Morris, Sanderson, Designers Guild have a good selection of strong patterns and colours.

I would like to be more adventurous with my interior choices, but am nervous it would be too much, if you can please advise?

Sometimes wallpaper patterns can be too strong for some people. If this is the case, we use fabric or textured wallpaper which still gives a warmness and soft texture to a room. Stereo have a wonderful selection of wool, linen and soft flat silk wallpapers. If you want something a bit bolder than Arte have a more funkier selection. Another way is to mix tonal tones in the warmer palettes across the upholstery, curtains and walls i.e. different colours of blues or greens or beiges. This gives the room a more interesting layered effect.

Each year, I tend to be behind everyone in incorporating the latest colours etc into my schemes, what are the key colours and looks for 2023?

At the moment I am interested in mixing browns. Mylands do a lovely Millbank no 254 which I love putting against vintage Danish leather sofas. I also can’t get enough of soft pinks, often with a salmon tone. I love Earthborn’s Ballet Shoe and also their “cupcake”. I also love the colder palettes often used in more North European houses. Designers Guild do a lovely selection of these colours.

Several of my friends have well chosen antique items which complement well their interior design, how should I go about choosing a special item which would hold its value, especially if my taste changes?

Visit your local Antique dealer- they are a font of knowledge and what they do is often a passion. Always buy the best within your budget. Signed and designed pieces by specific designers or craftsmen is always a plus. But most importantly – buy what you like. Antique chairs and sofas can move with you, and always be upholstered to fit in with any scheme. They are very well made and will last a lifetime.

My home is very modern, and sometimes feels like its not got much character, how do I introduce more of a well-lived-in feel?

Buy antiques and second hand. Start with individual pieces and place them within a modern scheme. This is a very cool look and always looks considered. Sometimes a vintage mirror, an antique lamp or ceiling light does the trick and takes the edge off. Sometimes an antique sofa or a chair in a very modern setting has a great effect. OR look at mid-century pieces – these mix really well into a stark interior and might suit more modern tastes.

I would love to introduce an overall theme to my downstairs / upstairs to make it flow better, how should I go about this? Stick with a style and use it throughout your home. Lots of periods to choose from. Georgian, Arts and Crafts, mid-century modern, art deco… to name just a few.

For more information and to see current stock, please visit https://www.hollyjohnsonantiques.com/

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