Select Page

Curious About How To Collate Curate Create

Words: Polly
Photos: Curious Coco / Instagram

“Steer clear of stereotypical, generic, showhome type art and accessories that will render your home souless” 

Excited and ready to decorate with swatches galore and ideas in abundance to create the home of your dreams? All you have to do now is settle on your final choices and bring it to fruition. Suddenly you’re not so sure about that cinnamon swirl fabric or latte mochalottadoodah loose cover sofa.

Maybe it will date, perhaps it’s not really you? You’re confidence and enthusiasm wane in equal measure, so it’s back to the swatches and you’re as confused as a kid in a candy shop.

You’re not alone. Good design outcomes take flair, considered decisions and time. 60 Minute Makeover type shows make it look quick and easy but they don’t show the full process and how complex combining materials, colours and styles really is. If you want a result that won’t disappoint you’re going to need to commit some serious time to research and making decisions – lots of them.

My ‘Collate, Curate, Create’ guide is designed to help, but if you really don’t have the time, interest or patience, then it is worth hiring a good interior designer who will inspire, save time and likely help save you money by avoiding costly mistakes.


Inspiration is everywhere so get a cuppa, get comfy and get hunting for the right style for you. Pinterest, Houzz, Instagram, Rightmove, show homes, design awards, magazines, design blogs, travel, nature, hip hotels, restaurants, fashion, music, art, architecture, all serve as design influences. Perhaps you’ve seen the Hockney exhibition at the Tate. Did it make you feel uplifted, inspired, invigorated? Could it be the colour palette for you? Perhaps you enjoy a coffee and papers in an indie cafe – why do you feel comfortable, is it the colour, the furniture, lighting, the music? More than likely it’s the combination. If you’re really stuck could the architectural style influence the interior? Is it Georgian, 20’s, a 50’s semi, or a converted barn? Reflecting the surrounding area can work brilliantly too. Think old factory buildings becoming industrial cool or a home near woods using natural materials as the main feature. Really focus on and distil these elements to unlock and then replicate those that work for you.


As humans we are multifaceted so it’s perfectly natural to find numerous styles attractive simultaneously. This is where curating comes in. Editing can be a toughie but it is essential if you really want to get the most from your home. Here’s the thing, you probably have more ideas than rooms making it unlikely that everything you’ve collected will make the final cut.


So, start by sorting your ideas per room, then into specific styles (e.g. rustic, spa, industrial, colonial, townhouse, Scandi, Moroccan, New England etc). Some clear strands should be starting to emerge so keep reducing your ideas to your ultimate favourites. Set the remainder aside for another time or future home. If no clear styles emerged you’re eclectic or maximalist, so just decorate! Commit the final edit to a moodboard, or scrapbook which is easier to transport when shopping for finishes. This is your design blueprint – keep referring to it and you’ll avoid design wobbles and stay on track until completion.


Essential for a coherent, harmonious feel are flow and base.  The simplest way is with a neutral base colour for the walls (wallpaper and/or paint), using lighter and darker variations of this colour per room, remembering to use warmer tones in north facing spaces. This repetition will create an echo, linking each space with subtle individuality and make working with accent colours and patterns a doddle. There are some great surface options out there from modern murals to amazing wallpapers and metallic finishes that function as works of art, so don’t contain your creativity, let it loose and don’t be afraid to try dark colours.

Build upon your foundation with fixtures and fittings in complementary colour(s); two, three or five will be enough to add depth and sophistication. An online colourwheel will show colours guaranteed to work together, or stick with those neutral tints and shades already used to create that flow. Include dark versus light contrasts to lift the whole scheme and patterns via soft furnishings and accessories like cushions and rugs. Practical aspects will influence choices – common sense stuff like using easy clean or darker fabrics and non-slip surfaces for areas with young kids or pets.

Steer clear of stereotypical, generic, showhome type art and accessories that will render your home soulless. Combine freestanding photos, pictures, vases, books, baskets, art and other accessories, huddled in odd numbers and varying heights to create interest and texture. Choose artwork that has meaning or expresses your personality. Steer clear of stereotyped, generic, showhome type art and accessories that will render your home soulless. Seek out quirky or personal items items for an interesting and creatively cool home. Finally, always include two to three layers of lighting (functional, task, ambient) to create drama and atmosphere at the flick of a switch.

Ta dah – your home should now be a narrative of your style.

Pin It on Pinterest