How to pull off statement features

Welcome to a fun and fabulous month of blog posts. We’re launching January with my very own AA design-ometer. All month we’ll be going through makeover tips to make uninspiring rooms an incredible space to hang out in! Statement features are the first big way to boost your room’s style score. Follow all the design-ometer makeover posts here.

Have you noticed how these blog posts have gotten longer this year. Is that a bad thing? If you think I am rattling on too much (and I do when I am enthused), shout and I’ll cut them down. Today I’m focusing on statement features, something I am pretty obsessed with yet it seems to scare so many people. For me its one of the biggest game changing tricks around. Here is how to pull them off…

Lighting, overdose on it

This is one of my favorite ways of adding major oomph to a room. We’ll have a whole blog post on lighting later, but seeing as you need to have it in a room, why not make a feature out of it and find pieces that you really love? I have chandeliers in almost every room in my pad, I love the glamour and extravagance. They also draw your eyes upwards and can help you play with scale in a room. If you can grab an incredible flea market or vintage piece, you’ve hit the jackpot.

Great lighting doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg though; you just need to think outside the box a bit to upgrade something quite simple to something really cool. If you find a great lamp base how about supersizing the shade to make it look extraordinary. Or make an ordinary floor lamp sing by plonking it on top of a side table or console that’s actually too small for it. Plus each new light source is an extra score on your design-ometer scale, so win-win!

Have fun with walls

These are a great big blank canvas for you. The poor feature wall gets a really bad rap, but I think they can be a great part of a scheme as long as they are tied into the rest of the room. The trick is not to go too far out of the room’s colour scheme. I tend to play with texture more than colour these days could be an age thing but I’ve long since ditched the neons and gone a lot more down a muted route and I have to say I am loving it. There are also loads of tricks you can pull off with paint, like lacquering a wall or ceiling in the same colour as the rest of the room, or even a Kelly Wearstler style graffiti mural.

Artwork and accessories

Perhaps a no-brainer, but any awesome artwork or accessory will automatically attract the eye, whether this is a massive oil painting, a gallery wall, a wall hanging or even just a great shelving display.

Rugs can do the same for your floors as artwork can do for your walls. We tend to use rugs as neutral backdrops, or plonk down larger rugs to anchor a whole space, but you can go the other route and make a statement with pops of colour or cool pattern.

Statement furniture

Look around your room and figure out which pieces of furniture are doing all the heavy lifting, design-wise. If too many of your pieces are boring neutrals or there’s an excess of flat pack (nothing wrong with a bit of IKEA, but it can’t be the whole room!) consider upgrading. Or if you have a fab piece that you already love reposition it in your room so it’s a feature in it’s own right.

“Shopping your home” is also a great idea. I really rarely get rid of anything, so favorite pieces in my pad swap places all the time to get a new lease of life, including moving from the top floor all the way down to the bottom – and then back again if it doesn’t work! Makes me very unpopular, but hey ho.

Architectural details

Thanks to commenters yesterday who pointed out that I might have been a big hard on my bathroom, and should have given it an extra point on the design-ometer for the fireplace. Definitely still learning from you guys!

So if you’re lucky enough to live in a house with gorgeous architectural details that the eye is naturally drawn to. Don’t fight against this but leverage it and play them up to be one of your statement features! It might be a beautiful fireplace, which you can emphasize with a big mirror or art piece above it, vignettes on the mantel or even in the fireplace itself if it’s not functional.

Or maybe the best feature of your room is actually a fabulous view, in which case maximize that. But if you don’t have any architectural features fear not your eye won’t even notice it with other statement pieces in the room.

And how to tone it down…

I’ve given 3 points up for grabs here because unlike lamps (which you can never have enough of!) there’s definitely such a thing as too many statement features. At least I think so. You have to restrain it otherwise rooms can appear a bit bonkers. Great if that is the vibe you are going for but for me I want glam, sophisticated with a hint of an edge. I guess it’s rather like a good spice in a recipe it adds oodles of depth but too much and it’ll just be a hot mess! If every piece screams at you the whole room starts to feel a little crazy. You need beautiful neutrals and pieces that will whisper softly as well.

Arranging statement features

I hate too many stuffy interior decorating rules so there’s no right or wrong way of playing with statement features per se. I would say don’t cluster them all in one part of the room though. The idea is that when you enter a room you’re totally wowed and don’t know where to look – your eyes should flick around all over so you take in the entire space. If you can read it in a second, the room just feels too flat. Don’t forget to mix up the heights too, because you don’t want everything to sit at the same level. Voila, nailed, I’m off for a swim!




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