The Interior Upgrades To Truly Transform A Space

Layered elegance: Olivia Stutz

Whether it’s commissioning vast standout pieces or layering smaller finishing touches, all interior experts have their own perspective on the elements that truly make a space sing. Here, four designers share their go-to uplifts to transform a room. By KATIE BERRINGTON

Tone-setting art provides a focal point for Courtney McLeod, while Olivia Stutz recommends commissioning bespoke furniture for instant impact

Curated book collections

“I love to use books to add texture and color to an interior,” says Nicole Hollis. “Curating a ‘library’ for a client – especially one comprising art books, where I and many of my clients find so much inspiration – is a personal joy, and I always make sure that the collection reflects their personal interests and passions.”

Tone-setting art

“Art elevates any room,” continues Hollis. “I start with fine art when designing a space, as a painting can immediately set the tone. Whether it be avant garde, classical or modern, art has a special ability to add wow factor to any room.”

Indeed, well-chosen artworks can define an open-plan space with immediate effect, says Courtney McLeod of Right Meets Left Interior Design. “We recently used an overscale artwork by Luciana Levinton, sourced via the Artemisa Gallery in New York, to help define the dining area of an open space.”

Colorful statements

“My favorite tip for uplifting your living room is to punctuate it with statement pops of color via either furniture or upholstery,” advises Na Li, co-founder of Holloway Li. “A bold-yellow chair paired with a more neutral sofa, or even a vibrant cushion or throw, can instantly alter the mood of a space.”

On a larger scale, color and pattern can also be compellingly added with wallpaper “to set the palette for a room”, suggests McLeod, sharing an example of a NoHo loft, in which she enhanced the space using a contemporary take on chinoiserie wallpaper.

Channel Na Li’s signature aesthetic, with a plethora of plants and statement pops of color

Floral embellishments

“The easiest way to uplift a home is to introduce an abundance of free-flowing planting, as if the outdoors has grown into your space,” says Li. “Adding flora is a great way to inject color into rooms with a pared-back palette.” Opting for varieties that are low maintenance if you’re away frequently – or are a first-time plant parent – might also be wise, she adds.

Hollis agrees on the aesthetic advantages of interior planting: “Layering is important in finishing a space, and having florals or plants in a room can add a needed layer of color. They also have a sculptural quality I love.”

Consider the objects used to display blooms and branches, too, to ensure they draw the eye. “I feel it is non-negotiable to have beautiful vessels with flowers and branches in them displayed throughout your home,” says design-studio owner Olivia Stutz. “You are bringing living things into the home; it breathes new life into the space. It’s also a great way to fill out a space that originally looked a bit bare.”

Directional lighting

The impact of lighting on both our wellbeing and the visual of a room shouldn’t be underestimated. “In the summer, with longer, light-filled evenings and mornings, it can be more difficult to adjust our sleeping patterns. I recommend tilting bedroom lighting downwards to help create a less harsh environment, and to cocoon you whilst readying yourself for bed or waking up in the morning,” says Li. “Subtle lights positioned either side of the bed, tilted downwards, are a more soothing way to light a room compared to conventional ceiling lights.”

Customized pieces

For the major furnishings, maximum impact comes from commissioning a bespoke piece to truly suit the space. “Customized pieces [create] a unique space to call your own,” says Stutz, citing a recent project that included customized, built-in plastered bookshelves in the primary bedroom to provide functionality and symmetry. There was also a custom-made sofa in the living room, “specified to the client’s taste, as the arms were designed with a very specific slope to them. These touches really do enhance the space,” she adds.

Intentional styling

While statement furniture and vivid color palettes draw the most focus, the carefully considered styling of final touches can make a world of difference to the overall ambience of a room. “I spend a lot of time focusing on the details and finish of the project,” shares Stutz. “The final steps, [in terms of] decor, are just as crucial as the initial sourcing of furniture.”

Whether curating bold furnishings (Na Li), bookcases (Nicole Hollis) or sculptural floral displays (Olivia Stutz), the experts agree that well-thought out finishing touches are key