The A-Z of Interior Design - G is for Geometric

Geometric or graphic designs, especially in wallpaper, is one of the main 2014 interior design trends.  Strong, often colourful shapes, are striking and link to the vintage theme which has grown so much in popularity in recent years.

This opulent paper is £151 per roll but you don't necessarily need to use it on large expanses to create a stunning effect.  Geometric circle design in turquoise aqua brown and white on silver foil...
Moorish Circles Wallpaper at Fabrics and Papers 
I can see origami art as a growing trend this year too and here it is expertly crafted into this geometric heart...
Photo & design: Olander & Palm
Period features of the 1920s are combined with geometric lines and glamorous contrasting finishes to create a contemporary, stylish hallway...
Photo: Cole & Son
Osborne & Little's beautiful textured effect Tessella wallpaper looks opulent and luxurious...
Photo: Osborne & Little
Osborne & Little's  tile design wallpaper with a stepped profile
Geometric balcony 
Stunning geometric stair divide lets in streams and twinkles of light...


Rug by Osborne & Little with a blend of 1920s and contemporary style
Below, Osborne & Little's beautiful 'Quill' wallpaper featuring stylised feathers in geometric patterns...


A hint of nursery and a strong dose of geometry in this eclectic dining room...
Photo: rachel whiting

The A-Z of Interior Design - F is for Focal Point

for focal point

Every room should have at least one focal point. A main focal point is the one thing that draws the eye immediately upon entering a room. Hopefully this will be something tasteful and stylish – not a humungous heap of crumpled laundry thrown over a clothes airer! If there is not an obvious focal point, such as a fireplace within the room, then an oversized piece of art, a large artefact, or even a beautiful pair of curtains framing a window – preferably with a stunning view beyond - work well. The focal point should never be the television! Architectural features can become amazing focal points but they can also be created with texture, lighting fixtures and other accessories.

The black paint and symmetrical furniture arrangement in this room draw your eye immediately to the fireplace wall.  Multiple focal points include the creative coffee table display…


There are two strong focal points in this room (below) - tall windows either side of the small artwork mark the centre where the eye is encouraged to rest. This is accentuated by the furniture arrangement.  Additionally, the chimney breast wall with the fireplace and mirror above create an obvious focal point...


When deciding on the main focal point for a room consider that it will set the tone and mood for that space.

Art - Position art centrally in a symmetrical or asymmetrical layout. Art can become the main colour influence in a room and, if selected wisely, will instantly draw the eye to it. Make sure art doesn’t clash with its surroundings and that the backdrop wall does not compete with it. Use a series of prints or artworks or one bold, large piece to act as a feature.


 Even behind the armchairs (below) the round black-framed mirror draws the eye towards it…


Colour can be used to draw attention to certain elements within an interior design. Architectural elements, alcoves, walls, doors or fireplaces can be painted in a strong colour to draw the eye to them and this trick can also be applied to items of furniture or rugs.

Texture and pattern can create striking focal points. Use these on walls to give a space depth, style and character and show off the areas to be highlighted. Contrast textures to achieve the maximum effect. For example, a smooth, shiny surface beside a heavily textured stone wall.

Don’t forget lighting - crucial to add drama to an interior design and to highlight ornaments, walls, or different zones. Lighting is fantastic at changing mood and a focal point created in the evening can be completely different during the day. This flexibility means the interior design can remain dynamic and interesting.
Photo: europaconcorsi

The A-Z of Design - E for Eames

E for Eames

Film-set architect, Charles Eames (1907-1978) and his wife Ray (1912-1988) designed some of the most iconic, innovative and influential pieces of 20th century furniture. The legendary duo also designed buildings, films, exhibitions, children’s toys and puzzles.

In 1941 the newlyweds moved into a modest, rented apartment in Los Angeles and turned their spare bedroom into a workshop. Here they installed a home-made machine which they used to mould plywood and created a prototype, curved leg splint. The US Navy eventually ordered 5,000 of these, which enabled the Eames’ business to progress and relocate to a workshop. Their love of design and technical ingenuity came to life in their fibreglass, plastic, aluminium and leather creations. Eames’ furniture was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York throughout the 1950s. 

Charles and Ray in their workshop.  Photo: theartshelf.com
The Eames Lounge Chair became an icon in subsequent decades giving offices worldwide a sleek look. Charles wanted this chair to combine pure comfort with quality materials and workmanship and convey the impression of a soft, well-used baseball glove which one could sink into...


The Eames' house, Pacific Palisades, California
Image © designboom
Above: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) moved all of the objects from the Eames' living room to an exhibit California Design, 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way from their 1949 Case Study house.


Above: The Vitra DSR chair by Charles and Ray Eames - based on the original 1950s design which was the first industrially manufactured plastic chair. Environmentally-aware Vitra discontinued production in 1993, as fibreglass cannot be recycled, but due to technological advances they now produce the same shape chair made with polypropylene instead.
Dedicated to their craft, Charles and Ray Eames worked hard daily from nine in the morning to ten at night and devoted their lives to design. They employed a full-time cook which left them them free to get on with their work. When Charles died in 1978, Ray continued with their unfinished projects and spent the remainder of her working life talking and writing about their work and ideas. Ray died exactly ten years to the day after Charles on 21 August 1988. The documentary “Eames: The Architect and the Painter” offers a closer glimpse into their life.
Ray and Charles Eames - Photo courtesy of the Design Museum
Mid-century Modern Design began in the 1930s, developed through the forties and was refined in the fifties - it is characterised by mass produced shapely, ergonomic furniture which blends in well with design from later periods. Other designers of the time include Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen and Eero Saarinen.
The Eames' house - close up

The A-Z of Interior Design - D

D for display

What makes a styled interior design stand out is having the courage and a strong visual idea which is then followed through.  The art of display or home styling is what makes a home individual with a strong sense of identity.  It is all about adding the finishing touches.  This doesn't necessarily mean cluttering the space with artefacts and personal possessions - often the most stylish interior is one where less is more.

The Edwardians and Victorians loved to display their china and most treasured possessions in glass-fronted cabinets. Today’s homes have evolved into a bigger picture where whole rooms are styled and visual impact is created. The art of display, once put into practice, can achieve dramatic results. Stylists’ tricks - such as the use of scale, colour, texture or symmetry, can transform a home into a contemporary, sophisticated and striking space.

The simplest items, cleverly presented, can create the most impact...

Don’t just think about the obvious places for styling your home such as mantelpieces or beds. Arrange groups of similar objects together on a console table, or mix and match different objects to show them to their best advantage. Picture frames containing art or family photos can be arranged on walls to create attractive displays.

Consider your possessions - their form, shape, texture and colour and try to look at them through fresh eyes. Try to create areas of interest around your home to make each view interesting and dynamic. With a little imagination and an eye focused on the detail a home can be regenerated and become individual and captivating.
Photo: Ralph Lauren Home

Group treasured possessions, complementary shapes or collections together to create interesting displays...

The bed is an obvious place to display cushions, throws and bedspreads for an interesting effect.

Here a plain backdrop combines with wall-to-wall shelves which are displayed in an orderly manner and the coffee table creates another focal point…

All the details count towards the grand scheme - consider how to show off the aesthetic qualities of every object and think about each area of the room…