Interior Stylist Interview: Sarah Akwisombe
Learn how to inject personality and style into your home that with leave your décor far from boring and beige,
here's Sarah's top tips!
How did you originally fall into interior styling and when did you discover it as your passion?
I left my full time job in July last year. The blog was doing really well and I had been enjoying styling and shooting my own images so I thought it might be something I could get into. I had some great contacts, one of whom is a shoot producer for Burberry and she introduced me to a few still life stylists and one asked me to assist on a couple of jobs. It all took off from there really! Being on set and seeing how they worked spurred me on to try more things at home and branch out as a stylist.
How would you describe your interior style and where do you get your inspiration?
Statement, graphic, bold. It's not for the shy, retiring types! I am really inspired by contemporary art and city fashion, especially subcultures. Art house movies. Old things like antiques or vintage pieces. I'm a big hip hop fan and have always had one 'ear to the street' in terms of culture, if I can say that without it sounding completely cringe!
You seem to be on a one woman mission to help people inject personality into their homes. Why do you think that this is so important?
There's nothing more saddening to me than seeing a wash of beige and people playing it safe. We only live life once and I feel that so many people just live it completely to impress others. We all do, of course, to some extent, but there's so much fun to be had in pushing yourself and the boundaries a bit. I've always been a rebel and have always looked for excitement outside of the mainstream.
Which part of your house best reflects your personality and why?
Probably the living room. It's also the most finished! It's very eclectic and ranges from moody and dark on one side to little pops of colour on the other, geometric prints and vintage pieces too. That's me - completely eclectic.
What are the best techniques for injecting personality into your home?
Sit down and make a personal style board. Go through magazines and find words and images that you are drawn to - they don't need to be interiors pictures, just anything. Could be a handbag, some food, architecture. These things will say a lot about your personality and you'll feel an affinity to them (for some reason). It's your job to then find the common thread between all of the things you have pulled and work out why you like them. Once you do this it'll help you so much when it comes to decorating! You need to know your own style and not what the 'trends' are.
How can people do this on a temporary basis (e.g. if they are renting). Can this be done through things such as soft furnishings such as rugs, cushions and throws?
Of course! It's a little harder because you can't be so playful with paint or wallpaper, but neutral walls are a great canvas for adding personality through artwork and furnishings. You can hang artwork now using 3m command strips which peel off without leaving any residue on the walls. An absolute lifesaver for renters! Look at pattern and print as a way to express your style through fabrics and soft furnishings.
Are there any rules which you follow when using patterns within a room?
Ground it with some solid colours or neutrals and use the 80 / 20 principal. 80% of one size pattern and then 20% of a much smaller, or the other way around. Stick within the same colour palette - perhaps pull one of the colours from the pattern for a solid coloured fabric on another piece, like a cushion or curtain to ground it.
Are there any rules you stick by when using colour in a room?
No, I don't do rules!
Are there any times when you should throw the rule book out the window?
ALL THE TIME!
What do you think are the most important factors when creating a house with a warm and welcoming feel?
Definitely to think about your lighting. Have lots of sources of light in each room so that you can change it according to mood. Think lamps, overhead lights, wall lights, floor lamps, candles. The more the better! Also mix up your textures and have some contrast. Rough with shiny, soft and cosy with glass. You get the picture!
Add a pop of personality to your home with one of our patterned rugs like our Aztec AZT04 Rug below, or browse our range of Modern / Contemporary rugs to find something to fit your style!