10 Beautiful Rooms

styling by Linda Ahman photo by Jonas Gustavsson
styling by Linda Åhman photo by Jonas Gustavsson


And how is everyone feeling? Recovered? Ready to foreswear the booze, the sugar, the carbs and the bread for ever more? Or, gearing up for a little snifter later as it’s still the holidays for another day or two? I know which camp I fall into…

Also I never make new year’s resolutions but if I did it would be simply this: Everything in Moderation. I’m basically halfway there already. I do everything it’s just moderation I struggle with. Still new year, new you and all that.

styling by Linda Ahman photo by Jonas Gustavsson
styling by Linda Åhman photo by Jonas Gustavsson

Or not. Grey paint isn’t going anywhere and if you read my interiors trends post the other day, you will see that in fact dark grey makes a brilliant backdrop for all of them – in short – jewel tones, metallics, pastels and luxe. So, we’ll just carry on right as we were.

styling by Linda Ahman photo by Jonas Gustavsson
styling by Linda Åhman photo by Jonas Gustavsson

Only this time we’ll call it timeless classics. Or something similar. Anyway, these rooms will speak for themselves, I want to ask you something. For those of you who subscribe ( and if you don’t then hey – consider it!) I’m thinking of changing the standard email notification you get to something a little more newslettery. Would you like that?

dark grey walls by martina gemmola
dark grey walls photo by martina gemmola

Do you like getting five emails a week or do you bunch them up into one weekly set – a bit like a magazine? And, while we’re on the subject – are there things you would like to see more of? Or particular subjects you would like covered?

mid grey walls and wooden floors by kronfoto
mid grey walls and wooden floors by @kronfoto

I often find that the downtime between Christmas and New Year is when a lot of productive thinking gets done ( I won’t hear a word against that lunchtime sherry…) and this year I thought perhaps I should involve all of you in some of the decisions.

white dining room by martina
white dining room by martina gemmola

It is, after all, your blog so it stands to reason it should cover things that you want to know about. I have some ideas that I am going to roll out over the next few weeks and months and the aesthetic won’t change, but I thought it was time to ask your opinions.

black kitchen cupboards photo by Kronfoto styled by
black kitchen cupboards photo by @Kronfoto styled by

There are, after all, quite a lot of you which means a) you won’t all be happy and b) you won’t all agree, but as the blog is about to be five years old, it seemed like a good idea for us all to sit around and have a think about what we like.

black kitchen cupboards photo by Kronfoto styled by
black kitchen cupboards photo by @Kronfoto styled by

So, if you have a moment or two to spare and you want to add your comments then by all means drop in below and let’s see what comes back. Be nice though or I may have to have a second sherry and that would blow the moderation thing right out of the water and it’s only the second day.

photo by
photo by

And, in the meantime, 2017 let’s do this. In a happy, positive and, above all, kind way. After last year, perhaps the other word of the moment should be kindness. I’ll see you all tomorrow when you can read my exclusive interview with the presenters of The Great Interior Design Challenge. It’s BACK people. Tomorrow night… get ready. Later in the week it’s my monthly ten best – this time we’re look at desk lamps and then time for our Friday fantasy househunting. I’ll see you there XK

dupont corian basin with black shelves and square tiles
dupont corian basin with black shelves and square tiles
Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. I like the daily bites and small portions and there’s very little I’d suggest changing. I’d echo someone else though in a call for more diagnostic commentary – I love the features where you explain why something works or doesn’t. I also really like the practical features: things to think about for a new kitchen, how to plan a good guest bedroom, how to pick carpet (not so trendy but very practical) etc. They’re great because you can mix the practical tips / arrangements with the sublime! I also find the 10 best style features extremely useful. If that meant something had to go, then probably slightly less of the one off products / shop features, but then I appreciate you need a balance. Great blog though and I really enjoy reading it.

  2. I also enjoy the information about products and companies – my favourite part and I find it really useful as well.

  3. Also, I’m totally not bothered by the working with brands / promoting various products – you do seem to choose very well and unlike some bloggers I could mention, you don’t push things you wouldn’t recommend.

    And I love someone else’s idea about guest bloggers like Emily Henderson does and about the stylish holiday homes. Scouting AirBNB etc for amazing places to stay is always awesome.

  4. I haven’t signed up to your emails because I check here every day. LOVE your writing style and aesthetic. Please don’t change 10 beautiful rooms… I really look forward to that on a Monday morning! Also I love seeing products you recommend as there are no other UK design blogs that I follow and it’s so nice to see products I can actually buy. Your tips are achievable and the products you showcase are affordable and I really appreciate that. All in all I love your blog and hope you don’t change too much 🙂 All the best from Yorkshire!

  5. I get a weekly email from you and that’s how I like it. I haven’t time to read a little daily; I tackle the week’s posts in one go and that’s it, done. As someone who deals with change all the time, persuading others to do it, I know that the biggest issue is that people don’t know what they haven’t got until they get it. Until you’ve implemented your changes, we won’t know whether we like them more than what we are getting now. And of course there’s the transition phase during which many don’t like the new but soon get used to it and realise it is better than the old. So I say do as you want to. I love your style; I love the fact that some posts (recently, certainly) turn out to be just a photo; others are snappy comments under photos; and some are longer think pieces. I’ve picked up tips from them all. Most of all I love your forthright views – such as feature walls are so ova [I never liked them] – so my main message is keep on being Kate. As for being more newslettery, I’ll have to see what I think. I’m so used to the current weekly list with links I have no idea what I’ll think when it’s something else (and I’ve given it adjustment time).

  6. I love the current format. Daily small bites of info. I am a voyeur at heart and love traipsing through somebody else’s home…especially ones that are WAY beyond my means. A girl can dream right!? Keep sending your tips and formulas for an elegant room a la Kate. So few blogs are well written. I appreciate your writing skill, style and cheeky humour. Stay true to who you are. You is why I am still here.

  7. I enjoy your blog just the way it is! Your musings and photography are a great way to start the day – and I never want to get in the way of someone else’s creative process. All the best for 2017 and carry on…

  8. Kate, I love your blog just the way it is, and it has become a daily ritual for me with my morning coffee. If for any reason I cant make a morning viewing, I’m straight in when I’m unwinding for the day. I think you have a great variety of content, delivered in a quick, succinct, easy to read and fabulously witty manner. Regular features are fab too and pictures always offering oodles of inspiration. Agree with some of the other comments that it might be nice to see a few more ‘normal’ homes and perhaps a little less product endorsement, but they really are teeny tiny niggles. Finally, reading your daily musings and lust for all things lovely makes me feel a little less guilty about my own insatiable and often woefully shallow desires!! Happy New a Year, keep up the good work 🙂

  9. I’m a relative newcomer to your blog and am thoroughly enjoying the current format, but that isn’t to say that I wouldn’t be equally happy if it had a revamp. Like most other readers I do look forward to the daily emails, it’s good to have something to read that isn’t solely designed to make you spend money you don’t have or convince you that we are all going to hell in a handcart – or is that just my inbox?
    I am obviously a very superficial person as I never tire of pretty pictures of luscious interiors and products, so as long as you keep them coming I will remain a fan. My excuse is I have a business ‘upcycling’ furniture and selling home accessories so I’m always looking for inspiration and checking trends, although in reality those pundits who think it generally takes a couple of years for the trickle down effect should visit a few rural market towns, it can take decades if it happens at all!

  10. Hello Kate,
    Happy New Year! I absolutely love your posts as they are – bite-sized but regular. I follow a couple of other interiors bloggers (although you are so, so, sooooo much more!) and I never get round to reading most of their posts because TOO LONG, TOO MUCH INFO. That’s my lot for what it’s worth. Oh and a regular top five or top ten edit of anything and everything would be amazing. Thank you for asking us! Xx

  11. Kate, hello from San Francisco. I really enjoy your blog as is. The bits are better for me, rather than magazine style. I love seeing trends and inspirations – you provide both. That said, you should do what excites you. If you build it, we will come!

  12. Whatever you choose to do is fine by me. So often when the world has been truly ghastly you have, with your writing, echoed precisely my own thoughts and opinions and lifted my day with your blog. I am totally in tune with you and yet I am a Grandma!! May you remain as successful in 2017 because you deserve to be so Kate.

  13. Happy New Year and Happy Almost Five Year Blog Anniversary, Kate! I agree with the others, the daily emails are a real treat…that is if you’re up for them yourself. Cheers, Ardith

  14. First of all M.A.T.H. is my go to site for all things interiors, so I always look forward to 7 am – morning tea and time to read the blog. You asked for feedback….
    1. I like the idea of less regular, maybe a weekly magazine edition. As I find it tricky to really get thru all the info each day and then I don’t have the time to return and read it later.
    2. The 10 best …. is great, saves me a lot of time searching the sea of web sites.
    3. Please don’t lose the Friday – house finder and Monday 10 Beautiful Rooms – they are inspirational.
    4. I would like to see more real homes and a bit less of what the fabulous designers have created, plus price points can be a bit of a challenge. Maybe they spur me onto find alternatives in my desired price range.
    5. I could do without some of the marketing – I suspect you are inundated with companies and designers asking you to endorse, feature, mention or bless their products. Personally, I do not think all of the products seem to fit with the blog.
    6. A feature writer session would be great. I follow only 1 other interiors blog Emily Henderson and she regularly hands over to someone else for a day or two and takes a break. It just keeps it fresh.
    7. A feature on holiday homes – our tastes have changed and we want to live and vacation in stylish homes. For those that may be lucky enough to have a 2nd home, it would be great to have some guidance on interiors.
    8. I use the blog as a reference point but it can be difficult to find past items/articles. Not sure how difficult it to would be to have a improved search facility on the site.
    9. Finally the educational sessions have been great – I found the lighting session, buying a sofa and how to position rugs, all really helpful as at the time I was in processing of refreshing some rooms in our home.

    Thanks for asking for feedback and please accept my comments positively.

  15. Since you’re asking… don’t change a thing! I’d rather have a daily email. Another blogger that I followed for quite a while switched from daily to weekly and her emails became too long to bother with. Sounds superficial but we have to look at blogs for what they are. Entertainment. And yours is fun and full of personality. Stay true to yourself!

  16. I thoroughly enjoy your blog and have done since you started. I’d like more real people’s houses, stuff that we can actually do with our Victorian terraces, new build houses and tiny flats. Things that work in real houses rather than the glamorous huge houses featured by professional photo shoots. (Not denying I still like these as well). And I really like the idea of domestic commentary.

  17. Happy New Year!!! Personally I like the format the way it is. I look forward to reading your blog with my morning mug of tea! Would still read with the new format though. I have found the info you provided re getting lighting right and amount of space needed for walk in dressing room really useful as this isn’t something I would usually give much thought to but now realise how important this is. I have a big house to complete renovate so would find perhaps more indepth features on specific rooms really helpful x

  18. Hi Kate. I really look forward to your daily blog instalments, especially the examples of beautiful rooms. I’m currently decorating with mid French Grey (Little Green) and Downpipe, so it’s inspiring to see the darker, moodier rooms. I’m very happy with the format as it is, but I guess if you experiment with a newsletter type format, you’ll receive feedback accordingly. Happy New Year!

  19. Happy New Year Kate. I’m very happy with the current format, it displays well on the screen. The interface is easy to navigate (I like to scroll through, rather than click on, images). I also like the larger images and the smaller daily bite’s, which might be lost in a newsletter format. Thanks Pauline

  20. Happy New Year! I very much enjoy your daily emails with my cup of tea in the morning! Keep them coming x

  21. Hello Kate and happiness, peace & joy for the year ahead (along with correct trend predictions, daily sherry and massive success …) Thank you for your fab blog which I love reading and has given me SO many ideas, I really appreciate your generosity in sharing your ideas and knowledge. Personally I like the daily format too – I read it when I need a break from work and see it as a treat, a bit of “me time”. I like the mix of the fantasy houses (I can see my fantasy self living in a lot of them) and your trend, furniture & decorating info. Thanks again, Christine

  22. Love it as it is – small but perfectly formed…but I am resistant to change too! Thanks for your design input – always enjoy your writing style. Best wishes for 2017!

  23. Hello from Canada! I love the blog, an extra element is an analysis of how the design works to fulfill a home’s functions. x

  24. Happy New Year to you too! I love having the blog to read each day as a lunchtime treat at work. The pictures you feature are fabulous and have inspired me to use more colour on our walls (radiators and skirting still a step too far though). What would I like to see more of? Big rooms! Its hard to know where to start with Glasgow tenement rooms. And how to deal with basement light – north facing a 10ft deep well/outdoor space rather than bifold doors to the garden!! No idea what colour to do in sitting room as the lack of direct sun rather kills everything! Thanks and keep up the good work!

  25. I like your blog as it comes now, it’s just the right amount of info and pictures to dip into, but then again I’m from the school of ‘we don’t like change do we Deidre?’
    I am willing to read it in a new format as I’m sure we would still be able to give the feedback.
    I have learned so much about interiors, design, colours, light and shade since I have been reading your blog that my home is now a better place. Also I have seen lots of items that I can’t afford but my life is better for seeing them. Lol.
    New carpet coming in a week!!!! Trepidation, have we chosen well.

  26. Love your 10 beautiful rooms day. More diagnostic commentary would be welcome…why things work/don’t work, spatial arrangements, colours, materials, juxtapositions etc.
    I go to your blog every day with my morning coffee…keep up the great work. Thanks.

  27. I would be interested in seeing how a weekly newsletter would look, but my instinct is that smaller daily bites would be better.

  28. I agree with Lucy and Gill. I look forward to opening your daily posting. It’s light relief from all ‘need to be dealt with’ post!
    Would love to see more designs set in mid /late-Century houses as just downsized from a Georgian one. Home aloners!

  29. Happy New Year Kate! IMHO, your daily emails are just the perfect size for a design shot each day, so my vote is for sticking with them!

    Lucy X

  30. I like getting regular updates and the thought of you
    Rolling it up to a weekly newsletter doesn’t fill me with joy. I love 10 beautiful rooms and fantasy houses
    And your piece about green was great. It does feel
    Though that there’s a relentless move towards blue
    And green and pastels. Because you clearly made us
    Love grey doesn’t mean you can’t make us love
    Blue or any other for that matter. Your talent is
    Your eye and the way any colour is used to best effect
    In our homes.

  31. Happy New Year Kate! Personally I like the daily Emails, it’s nice to wake to them each morning and get my interiors fix. But that’s just me, not good at waiting x

  32. I like small frequent portions. Enlivens my day. Perks up my inbox. So a less frequent bunched up collection is not so good for me. As for newsletter style, I’m neutral. Your current approach is great as far as I’m concerned but if you wanted to change it I’d probably enjoy it just as much. However I think a daily newsletter might be hard to achieve? So if newsletter goes along with weekly email rather than the current frequent approach then I’m against it…

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