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Dis-PLAY: How to style your interiors


More often than not, successfully displaying objects in a room – even on a console or a small table – can be challenging. It’s the same for shelves, we love books but what if we don’t have enough, or we want to add some variation? Adding objects in a way that is pleasing to the eye makes such a difference.

Over the course of my life and every time I have moved, my favourite objects have always travelled with me. Each time I have placed them somewhere different to see them in a new light. It allows me to discover previously hidden aspects and renews my appreciation for the way they were made.

Here are some of my top tips to style your interiors and play around with your beloved objects…

A symmetrical frame helps. Place two big elements on each side of your shelf or table – lamps, obelisks or sculptures. It will automatically balance the composition. Once you have created that imaginary frame, everything inside will sing.

The symmetrical elements allow us to intersperse smaller objects with a perfectly balanced result. Choosing components in similar materials, such clay and wood, will also help to create a harmonious and calm setting.

The rule of uneven numbers. More often than not we find ourselves without a pair of the same object. If this is the case, work in uneven numbers to create formations. As seen here in The Whitby Suite, groups of three are the most pleasing to the eye, but you can also display a solo object if it’s a large statement piece.

Several elements with different heights will create movement. Embrace this if you have similar objects that you would like to display together, as we have done here at Crosby Street Hotel. Katherine Cuthbert’s unusual ceramics, displayed together as a collection on this mother of pearl console, form a beautifully organic and dynamic composition.

Use console tables to exhibit your collections. On this large antique kitchen table, we have assembled a Chinese porcelain collection. It works perfectly with the white and blue fabrics in the room, adding a chic and sophisticated breeze to its country-style setting.

Walls can also be a great space to display your collections. In the Orangery at The Whitby Hotel we have created a beautiful symmetry with a number of porcelain platters. To give them a more contemporary look we have framed them in Perspex.

Add pieces of furniture in front of your shelves. To add depth to a space, we sometimes use consoles or tables in front of bookshelves. In the Drawing Room at The Whitby Hotel, we have broken up the uniform look of the bookshelves by adding these beautiful unicorn consoles, each grounded with a strong obelisk sculpture and our chatting ladies by artist Mimi de Biarritz.

Factor art into the composition. This painting by Roger Cecil was placed above a set of two benches by Ashley Cartwright. All of these pieces are so powerful that little more was required to create a strong focal point in this corridor at The Soho Hotel.

A display does not have to be busy to be powerful. Sometimes just one element is enough. We love how romantic and strong this horse figure looks standing on top of the antique wooden table. The curves of the table give dynamism and strength to the composition.

Go seasonal. Allow yourself to make changes over the seasons. As spring gives way to summer and autumn melts in winter, bring something from the outside in. For example, add bushes in the spring, mauve leaves in the autumn and bright flowers in the summer. The introduction of seasonal elements is a simple yet sophisticated way to make a space look refreshed and renewed from time to time.

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