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The 4-step decorating trick that works every time, according to Kate Watson-Smyth

Lisa Walden
·3-min read
Photo credit: Rekha Damhar
Photo credit: Rekha Damhar

From House Beautiful

Kate Watson-Smyth, the author behind multi-award-winning blog, Mad About The House, has revealed the simple four-step decorating trick that she lives by.

'Something that I do in my home is something old, something new, something black, something gold. That works for every single room in the house,' Kate tells House Beautiful UK.

Whether you're starting a room from scratch or looking to instantly update it with accessories, this clever method can be adopted by all. 'There's always something new you can add in. Something old is something that has been gifted that will bring character — perhaps it's vintage from a grandparent,' adds Kate, who founded her homes and interiors blog back in 2012.

'With something black, it doesn't have to be completely black — it's something dark that anchors the space. For something gold, choose something metallic — mirrors, for example, will bounce the light around.'

When redecorating a space, many of us paint our ceilings, doors, and radiators all the same dazzling, bright white. It's a neutral safe shade that goes with everything, but should we be giving these areas the same thought and detail as we give our walls?

'I always come back to the wardrobe analogy with painting ceilings: you spend a lot of time researching paint colours for your walls but then you just slap on a white ceiling,' says Kate. 'When you look in your wardrobe, you don't wear a white shirt with every pair of trousers or skirt. You try to pick out a complementary colour. It really is the same thing with your house.'

If you want your home to feel cosier and more intimate, painting your ceiling a softer hue will immediately reinvent your room. Despite having a scene-stealing gold ceiling in her study, Kate suggests that if you don't know where to start, a pale colour is one of the best options for the fifth wall as 'it's much warmer'.

Photo credit: Rekha Damhar
Photo credit: Rekha Damhar

Kate also suggests: 'Look towards soft ivory cream colours for the ceiling. I've got a gold ceiling in my study with pale pink walls and obviously that's quite punchy, but pick out the colours you've put in the room.'

What about dark colours? While these deep, dramatic hues are having a moment on Instagram, dark ceilings can make a room seem much smaller, so Kate tells us to be careful with these — and opt for darker walls instead.

Another painting trick that Kate shares with us is not to be afraid of matching the skirting boards to the rest of the room: 'Paint your woodwork to match your walls as this will make the space feel calmer and restful. When you outline it all in white, your space is drawn to the edges. If your skirting boards match the walls, your walls will look longer.'

Right, time to get decorating...

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