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Why ‘happy’ is haute couture for homes

Forget trends, according to Meg Springgay of The Hive Interior Design Studio, dopamine decor is the key to stylish and sustainable home design.

Gucci Decor Octopus Wallpaper and BLUE Velvet scallop chiars
Image: Gucci Decor / Instagram

Fashion designers have long been extending their Mr Tickle arms beyond our wardrobes and into every corner of our homes. Everyone from Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Missoni to H&M, Zara and French Connection (to name a few) have ventured into the creative waters of interiors, giving fashion fans a way of melting into their homes. 

There’s been a lot of noise to decorate how we dress. But – and it’s a big but – if I decorated my cottage this way, it would be wall to wall black, navy, grey and beige. Neutral. Safe. Boring. Depressing. You see, I love colour, pattern, art and nick knacks in my home. In fact, my wardrobe should have a word with my walls, because it needs to be influenced.

Meg Springgay The Hive Interior Design Studio

According to interior designer Meg Springgay of The Hive Interior Design Studio, we need to make dopamine design choices based on feelings. Trends begone. Meg is an expat New Yorker who has worked in fashion producing jaw-dropping runway shows for Burberry, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy. Now she applies those creative skills to create beautiful homes that her clients love longer than a season. 

Image: Yoshihiro Makino for Architectural Digest (March Edition) / Instagram

Essentially, there is a new interiors narrative. Forget the colours of the year, focus on what makes you feel good. Gwyneth Paltrow took this approach when building her Californian home with New York design studio Roman and Williams (above). They brought her loves to life, including positioning her mansion entirely around the view from her bath. We’re not suggesting you go to Gwynnie extremes, but we can think about the things you like to do and the what makes your heart skip a beat.

So before we look at how to make our homes happy, uplifting spaces, we need to discover what we love. Here are Meg’s top tips to help you find your mood-boosting happy place.

GET IN THE MOOD

THE HIVE DESIGNS MOODBOARD

The only way to find out what brings you joy is through research. Deep dive into Pinterest, Instagram and magazines and save images YOU love. They don’t have to be interior pictures, they can be fashion shoots, travel pictures, art… anything. From those images, you’ll be able to edit down the ones that bring you joy – colour, patterns, textures, styles, anything goes. Pinterest is brilliant for this because of the sheer volume of searchable content that can be pinned into specific moodboards. 

Then pull together paint samples, wallpapers, fabrics, flooring and to start layering a harmonious scheme. Don’t start painting walls without knowing how the whole space will look and feel. Don’t be afraid to get an interior designer involved. Their encyclopaedic knowledge of what’s available, how to achieve a cohesive look and design tricks will save you time and money. 

HEART OF THE HOME

The Hive Designs Ca Pietra Tiles(1)

I like to start with the kitchen. It’s the heart of the home, gets the most use and requires the most decisions. Think about how you live: do you love cooking entertaining, partying? Do you WFH or need a space for kids to do homework? Are you drawn towards contemporary or traditional styles? It all sets the tone for the rest of the house. Work from the ground up. Consider the flooring, cabinets, walls, worktops, practicalities and lighting. Kitchens require more lighting than you think. Pendants over an island, wall lights, picture lights over tall cabinets. Pop them all on a dimmer for maximum flexibility.

INVESTMENT PIECES

Loaf mustard velvet sofa
Image: Loaf

Let’s talk investments. If there is one thing to sink your money into, it is your sofa. You just can’t put a price on comfort. Set aside a good chunk of budget and always, ALWAYS visit showrooms to try before you buy. I like to take clients on shopping trips. I pre-select styles for their room but they need to sit, see and feel them all in the flesh. You can be seduced by stylish sofas online, but the last thing you want is to be stuck with something uncomfortable.

ACCESSORISE ALL AREAS

Lighting The HIve Interior Design Studio

Often overlooked, but good lighting is vital. You also need more than you think. We spend a lot of time on pendants, chandeliers and wall lights, but table lamps and floor lights help layer light, add design details and can make a statement. Good, affordable lights are hard to find in the UK. The US seems to have more variety and some brands supply to the UK. But it can take a while to find what you want. Persevere. Get the style, scale, or location wrong, it’ll bug you forever and is an expensive mistake to fix. 

Invest in good light switches and sockets too. Basic white plastic doesn’t bring much joy, but tactile metal hardware like nickel, brass or matt black work like the details on a designer bag. It’s those details that give a room polish.

VINTAGE FINDS

The Hive Designs Vintage Emporium

Just like fast fashion is a no no, your furniture and decor need to have a bit of longevity. Once you’ve nailed the design, shopping your home first is the sustainable option that will save you a bit of money. You might have the perfect side table, piece of art or collectable hiding in another room or gathering dust in the attic. If you want to add character and personality, keep your eyes peeled for vintage, collectables and antique pieces in auctions, emporiums and charity shops. Sustainability works both ways. When getting rid of unwanted items, sell them on Facebook Marketplace or similar sites. You’re not adding unnecessary stuff to landfill and you might make a bit of money that you can put back into your project. Win win.

STATEMENT STYLE

The Hive design Molly Mahon print

You’ve decided to redesign your rooms. How do you decorate your house so it doesn’t become a hot mess or a joyless one colour space? Well, designers have a toolkit of tricks they use to create home decor harmony. It may be a colour, texture or pattern that consistently pops up. It could be the use of a wood, or hardware. It’s not easy to get right, which is why working with an interior designer to get a look you love is worth the investment. No ugly rooms that need to be hidden away. No weekends spent painting walls and or researching fabrics. You tell us what you want to achieve, what you love and we bring the whole thing to life. I love working with clients on top to bottom designs. It’s a bespoke, personal service and brings so much joy. You set the budget and we create the home of your dreams. 

The Hive Interior Design Studio will create a bespoke design package tailored to your needs and budget. The services range from: full design service, styling and staging and e-design.

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