The easy design tricks for a stress-free home – room by room

Upgrading architectural details such as cornices, deep baseboards, and doorway architraves can enhance the room with a classic element. Wallpaper, a rough cardboard ceiling and wainscoting will add warmth and interest.

Soft neutrals and watery undertones have a soothing effect; if you prefer a darker shade, botanical greens will make a room restful and nurturing. In a north-facing bedroom, white walls can seem cold and unwelcoming, so go for a warmer color with more depth.

For a soothing effect, consider painting all surfaces, including the ceiling, a single color. If a room has a high ceiling, painting it and the cornice the same color will make it appear lower; conversely, painting the walls and cornice the same color will make the ceiling appear higher.

If space permits, I place a chest of drawers next to the bed. In this context, symmetry is less important than you might think: a chest of drawers on one side cuts a fine figure with a table on the other. Playing with scale will also make a statement: for example, large lamps by the bed. You also need downlights, decorative lighting such as pendant lights, wall sconces and mini LED lamps for night reading.

When planning a small bedroom, it’s tempting to think you need to have a small double bed. In fact, it’s often best to choose the largest size possible and make it a hotel-style item by adding an oversized headboard in a bold pattern, to add a sense of escape.

The dining room

Eat and have fun

A dining room – or simply a space adjacent to the kitchen that has its own look – can have a warm atmosphere and, when designed to entertain, can become quite magical. You can add drama with paint, wallpaper and fabrics, while curtains and upholstered chairs enhance the mood and have the practical benefit of absorbing sound.

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