How to create a beautiful family home by designer Samantha Johnson

Samantha Johnson is an interior designer who espouses the principle that family homes can be great looking. Her approach to design from her interior design company is to take her cues from the architecture of the property, and the people who live there. ACHICA Living caught up with Samantha and asked her to share her expertise…

How do you bring interest to a scheme when you're working in neutral tones?

‘Textures and interesting shapes and patterns are key. In this space your eye is drawn to the walnut twisted lampshade over the centre ottoman. All the individual furniture pieces are different shapes and styles and covered in individual fabrics that all tonally work together and add interest.’

What should we bear in mind when we’re lighting a room?

‘To create a mood, natural daylight can be enhanced by a standard lamp or table lamps, and during the evening this can soften an area with the addition of candles – especially when you want to create a warm, inviting mood. But stronger lighting is also required, such as these downlighters, so that the space can be lit up well if required.’

Any tips for success in mixing patterns on walls and in window treatments?

‘A big entrance hall can take large patterns really successfully and create a huge impact.  In this case we used a Cole & Son wallpaper with a simple repeat pattern, a strong stripe on the stairs, and a textured pale stripe on the windows. By varying the scale of your patterns, you can combine them with confidence.’

What are the best ways to create a link between adjoining rooms?

‘Keep the spaces alike tonally and use a common theme. In this case the wallpaper was taken through from the bedroom into the bathroom. This obviously works if the bathroom is large and has good ventilation so that the wallpaper doesn’t get marked.’

How do you pick a wallpaper pattern that will work on all four walls, not just a feature wall?

‘I think when you look at a space you need to decide if you have a feature wall. This often depends on how you enter the space, and where your eye travels. If this isn’t the case, then a wallpaper needs to be used on all four walls.

‘If you want the wallpaper to be your main feature, then use a bold patterned paper with curtains and soft furnishings that are plain or have a smaller pattern or texture. Alternatively, use a plain textured paper or subtler stripes so that it creates interest, but isn’t overpowering.’

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Sarah Warwick, Guest Editor

View all posts by Sarah Warwick, Guest Editor