Secrets to Steal from an Interior Stylist’s Chic Home

Blogger and freelance stylist Ruth Matthews shares her beautifully designed London home with her husband Dan and son Ted. Each room is filled with an array of vintage and modern furniture, textured woods, clever art, energetic patterns and bold color. But it’s how she’s deftly arranged her home — each room and the vignettes within — that deserves extra attention. Ruth says she has “an eye that lives for color, pattern and patina,” and her home is full of smart styling ideas to steal.

Embrace the dark side…

The Farrow & Ball Downpipe-painted walls in her study are the perfect example of how Ruth used dark wall paint colors to add drama to certain rooms of the house.

…and paint it all

Along with embracing dark wall paint colors, she also modernized some of the room by adding color to nearly every architecture feature (like fireplaces and radiator surrounds). This unexpected treatment instantly adds interest to a space. And it lets the rest of her eclectic furnishings shine.

Don’t be afraid to play with pattern

In the entryway, a black and white small-scale vintage tile floor is a powerful dose of pattern right up front. But Ruth kicks it up a notch by adding just a splash of Cole & Son Palm Jungle print wallpaper, but in a large-scale pattern. Here she wisely keeps the two patterns from clashing too much by only adding wallpaper to the inside of a wall molding panel. You could get the same look by framing a sample of wallpaper.

Make sure rooms are well-rounded

There is a certain accessory you see repeated throughout Ruth’s home: round mirrors and other round accessories. From a round mirror in the hall to the round one in the bathroom to a round brass shelf and more, the circular elements soften hard edges and add sophistication to each space.

Counteract dark walls and small spaces with airy furniture

To make sure her home doesn’t feel cluttered and heavy, Ruth used several tricks to make rooms feel more airy, even with dark wall paint colors. In the main living room, she chose a “leggy” sofa; the tall legs allow light from the window to flow under, giving an appearance of lightness. She also wisely chose to mount a solid wood cabinet on the wall, making it feel visually lighter than if it were on the ground.

Give vintage furniture a modern pick-me-up

Ruth gave a vintage table an unexpected makeover, not only reviving the particular piece, but also adding fun and lightheartedness to the entire room. This old wooden desk got an easy but potent makeover thanks to the geometric sticker she applied to the top.

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