Smalls: Our Styling Handbook

How To

We bring you our styling handbook for what we call Smalls: These are the things you might miss when completing a scheme, but never should. They are those trinkets and treasures you might pick up one afternoon as you pass a charity shop, or an heirloom passed down within your family for generations. As it says on the tin, Smalls are… small...

We work to make sure our spaces are layered, well styled and a true reflection of all the colours of life. When finishing a space and rounding things off with the final stages of styling, we turn to what we have fondly nicknamed our ‘Smalls’.

Smalls are the thing you might miss but never should. They are those trinkets and treasures you might pick up one afternoon as you pass a charity shop, or an heirloom passed down within your family for generations. As it says on the tin, Smalls are… small!

This is our styling handbook for one of our favourite parts of the design process.

If you wonder why a coffee table doesn’t feel quite right, why a shelf doesn’t feel abundant, or why a corner feels lost, perhaps it’s time to start rearranging your Smalls at home. Or else, snap up some of our recommended finds and favourites.

Smalls are often the simplest of things but can make an immediate impact when introduced to a space. This scene in the corner of my home kitchen is so striking with its bright and playful curtains, colourful artworks and sculptural furniture pieces. One might miss the miniature woven fruit basket and tiny brass lamp. They are quite nondescript pieces alone but work together to complete the entire scene, making it feel full and alive. Most importantly they don’t distract from the wider scheme which is always the first responsibility of a Small.

Boxes make great Smalls. Those with an aged wooden patina have a more ornate and interesting pattern which never fail to complete an entrance way or coffee table. Plus, they make useful places to hide keys, coins and the junk that so often appears in these central parts of the home. It’s quite fun to open up one of these boxes every so often to discover the abandoned scraps within – in my case, it’s usually a boiled sweet or a to-do list once lost!

This side table is the dinkiest little thing, but nevertheless it packs a punch. It lays claim over the abundant space beside the armchair where there isn’t as much room for a larger side table. Whilst it’s the perfect spot to place a drink, the colourful design catches your eye. A prime example that small can be mighty when it comes to interiors!

We recently found these beautiful 20th century Chip Boxes from Tat London. Their online shop is a great place for growing your special collection of Smalls.

Making our own miniature mannequins was another fun project. Resembling our signature Firmdale mannequins, they are a charming way to complete a side table or fireplace mantle.

Smalls don’t always have to be practical but rather a bit of fun. Making our very own Smalls is one of the many things we get up to in our Design Studio. In Ham Yard Hotel’s Drawing Room is a Swedish marriage bureau. We love this piece so much that we thought it would be ideal to miniaturise. Filled to the brim with Kit Kemp treasures, they make for a great sculptural piece to land on a kitchen worktop or desk. Find these exclusively at Shop Kit Kemp.

Filling a fireplace mantle with Smalls is always a must. Mantlepieces make a great spot to arrange collections and show off your trinkets.

Sculptural items that create powerful silhouettes are also a great choice for Smalls. We love items that make you look twice. This wrought iron sculptural candle stick stands proud and adds character to the space. Paired with a small bunch of flowers, it’s as if these Smalls are having a conversation between themselves!

Art pieces are incredibly special Smalls and we are lucky enough to have some incredible collections of work including a miniature Tony Cragg sculpture and one of Eileen Cooper’s bronze works. Whist they fill a space spectacularly and are special pieces to own, Smalls don’t have to be expensive. As long as they are personal and work well with the space, your Smalls are doing their job well.

Vases and vessels make for great Smalls. Depending on the space you’re working with, have a think about the type of pieces that are required. Sometimes a sweet and ornate little antique jug might just be the ticket, otherwise a group of simple vessels grouped together can be just as effective. We recently discovered these slipware bottles by Dylan Bowen at The New Craftsmen. A group of these would make a wonderful collection of Smalls.

Small homes for small friends are another favourite of ours. We often dot Cat Castles around our hotels. They are a fun talking point and a generous napping spot for furry friends.

We hope you start to appreciate and repurpose your own Smalls at home as they are powerful, playful and should never be overlooked. We would love to see your Smalls so tag us at #DesignThreads and show off your collections.