The magic of mixing materials

A good quality mix of mediums is the basis of my interiors, writes Dr Vanessa Brady OBE International Interior Designer, SBID CEO

SBID Award 2018 winner, Resi Apartment under £1M, The Irrawady House by Nevermore
SBID Award 2018 winner, Resi Apartment under £1M, Cuscaden One by Elliot Baratt

A medium is the material, so it is the mix of materials and when you make strong mixes you need fewer items as they will each stand up on their own merit – the more you have, the more confusing it becomes. Be bold, but be bold sparingly with options and you will create a fantastic interior.

I start with materials such as metal, wood, stone and a luxury texture best suited to the project, the venue, location and the people who will use the space. Finally, I add the owners personality such as a material that will compliment the function of the space. It might be leather, velvet, luxury or rustic, but I always try where possible to adopt some materials that reflect the end user’s lifestyle or personal taste.

A common error is to take your space and try to replicate things you have seen elsewhere without taking into account the image you like in your environment and the actual space you have available. The two locations are often entirely different.

SBID Award 2018 winner, Resi over £1M, Contemporary Manor by Regina Sturrock Design Inc.

Do not try to replicate a grand hotel entrance in your new-build, lower-ceiling flat as although your home may be wonderful it will not have the scale or because the proportions, lighting and scale will not compliment it.

Finally, be bold with your complimenting colour options. Don’t just choose cream, grey or beige… Choose a colour to showcase your collections, think of the options on a photo mount and see how bold colours really compliment the multi-coloured mix of pattern and layering your home will have. It really is a little like trying on clothes you wouldn’t look at twice until a shop assistant says try this and when you do, you wonder how you managed all your life without it!

So for your new-look interior think about the items that will be displayed in it, the time of day you will use it, the lighting, the people and the things you will do in it; and then think about how you will move around in it without damaging yourself or your precious belongings. Do not keep things because they were expensive even though you dislike it. If you don’t see it daily, you really will feel happier. And don’t forget to move your furniture around. Sometimes simply turning things at a slight angle will be enough to give your home that extra and missing twist. It is that flair that takes it from average to wow!

Dr Vanessa Brady OBE
International Interior Designer, SBID CEO