Katharine Pooley reveals her top interior design tips

When she's not mountaineering in her spare time, designer Katharine Pooley creates beautiful interior schemes around the world. Here she shares some of her design secrets and tips... 

What’s your interior design philosophy?

'I believe versatility is key. It's important to work with and reflect the individual client and environment of each project. That said, I do have strong opinions of what is tasteful and interesting in an interior and aim to capture classical contemporary living without sacrificing comfort, coherence or style. Personally, I aim to convey a feeling of quintessential British understated luxury and classic elegance, whilst also marrying the influences from my favourite places from my travels and time living abroad.'

The living room above is quite compact, but feels spacious and uncluttered. What's your best advice for decorating a small room? 

'The key is storage to keep your clutter out of sight. In this room we had a full wall of bookcasing and hidden cupboard storage allowing the rest of the area a cleaner look. In a smaller environment, the balance of detail and space becomes especially important as the room should feel personal and inviting without being too overly furnished. I like well-chosen antique pieces mixed in with simple glazed linens and cotton velvets. Glass accessories and well-placed mirrors help to move natural light through the space and pick out particular items with interesting detail.'

We love the striking black and white scheme in this living room (above). Can you tell us about why you chose it, and the effect you wanted to create?

‘The client’s modern art collection had to be supported by the space. In the living room this was achieved with an elegant and pared-back monochrome scheme with particular importance attached to sculptural furniture shapes and geometric fabric textures. The effect we hoped to create was one in which each item was of interest in its own right while complementing the beautiful but stark architectural styling.’

What’s the best way to use colour in a child’s bedroom without going gaudy? We're very taken with this one!
'A child's room should always be personal and specific to the child in question, yet enable them some growing room for the years to come when preferences can change. Keeping bright colours to upholstery and curtains on a neutral backdrop keeps the interior fresh and fun rather than overwhelming and unliveable.'

We’ve fallen for this pretty girl’s bedroom. What are the keys to its success as a scheme?

'Muted pastel tones in suedes, linens and silks create a soft and inviting space. There's a hand-carved detail to the headboard and hand-painted and embroidered silk wallpaper on the walls, which add some sophisticated and grown-up detailing. The secret to this design is not to put less effort into the detail of a children’s rooms but to ensure all textures are suitably organic and natural rather than opulent – this gives a girly rather than gaudy interior that will wear well with time.'

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Sarah Warwick, Guest Editor

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