10 Beautiful Rooms

Morning, morning and welcome to a Christmas-free zone this week. It wasn’t a deliberate choice so much as feeling that I’m seeing trees and sparkles wherever I look at the moment and I thought it might be nice to have a little respite from that. Also the recognition that not everyone celebrates it, and finally, my own reasons – we have a January themed shoot in the house on Friday so there are no decorations up here yet.

image by @livingbylo
pared back neutrals by @livingbylo

So since my real house is a Christmas free zone the virtual one might as well be too. And besides, these spaces are so restful I thought they might provide a bit of a refuge for those of you who are just feeling a bit fractious and stressed by the whole thing.

I just adore this calm room by @livingbylo although when you’ve got ceilings that high, plasterwork that pretty and huge windows you don’t really need to do anything else. But the ochre sofa warms up what could be a cavernous white space and the brass and pink round off the space beautifully, while the two dark chairs anchor the whole space, which is largely furnished from westelm if you wanted to shop any of it.

inky dark walls by @atelier.ellis
inky dark walls by @atelier.ellis

And just when I think I love a pale space I see a room like this by Cassandra Ellis in inky black with that warm red leather chair and suddenly that’s all I want. Although once again, if you were lucky enough to live in a house like this one below belonging to Collette, of @thevintagetraderuk, there is enough going on architecturally to allow you to keep the decor very simple.

windows by @thevintagetraderuk
windows by @thevintagetraderuk

This is another shot of her house and it’s clearly full of amazing features and interesting corners. I have always wanted a window seat and never had a house where it would work but I do have alcoves – albeit not like this – and perhaps, instead of filling them with shelves and storage, it might be good to create a seating area, which could also have storage in the base of it.

by @thevintagetraderuk
by @thevintagetraderuk

Talking, loosely, of features, windows can look even better when you paint them dark, or at least in a contrasting colour to the walls. If you don’t want to go dark on the walls but still want to add definition then consider making a feature of the woodwork. And black and white and forest green is always a wonderful combination.

I know that Pantone has chosen coral as its colour of the year for 2019 (a deeper, richer version of the blush pink that has been around for a while so don’t worry if you’ve got lots of that, it will still work) but my money’s on this rich dark green being the colour that actually takes off next year.

black windows for alexanderwhitesthlm
black windows for @alexanderwhitesthlm

Here’s another version of it in the home of photographer and food stylist Carole Poirot and the windows really work hard in this space as painting them like this turns them from something invisible that holds the view outside to a proper frame for both outside and in.

dark window frames by @carole.poirot via @greenandmustard
dark window frames by @carole.poirot via @greenandmustard 

Sticking with the same palette and Kate Learmonth has been beavering away painting her ceiling with these dramatic shapes that echo the rugs on the floor. Want another prediction? 2019 will be the year of the ceiling. The trend forecasters said it would be this year, but it takes a little longer to filter through and we’re really beginning to see it on instagram (real people’s homes) now so my guess is that it is really coming.

monochrome by @the.kate.edit
monochrome by @the.kate.edit

Staying with green and this is Abigail Ahern’s shop. I suspect it’s actually grey but has photographed green in much the same way that my bathroom always looks green on camera. And, in fact, Emily Henderson included my formerly grey sitting room in a blog post about green walls being the next big thing recently.

abigail ahern shop
abigail ahern shop

More green in the from of Nicola, @the_girl_with_the_green_sofa and her new bathroom tiles. These Lily pad tiles, which are now insta-famous, have just been released in porcelain, as well as the original encaustic, and you can lay them in different ways to create different patterns.

green lily pad tiles by @ca_pietra at @the_girl_with_the_green_sofa
green lily pad tiles by @ca_pietra_ at @the_girl_with_the_green_sofa

Finally ending on the ochre we came in with, but this time on the walls rather than the sofa. This is the wonderful warm bedroom of Kate Learmonth again and it works so well with the colour continuing up over the ceiling. So the lesson for today is don’t forget the fifth wall people.

Drop in again tomorrow for the next installment in the gift guides – bedroom and bathroom –  aka relaxing and self-indulgent gifts for all.

ochre walls by @the.kate.edit
ochre walls by @the.kate.edit
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. Yea! Love the painted ceilings. Great idea.
    Also agree with you Kate ….Green is coming! As long as it’s a warm Green (with a touch of yellow in there) rather than bluey/green I’ll be on board.
    I’m longing for a big lush green velvet sofa 🙄

  2. The only thing I would change would be moving the busy gallery wall from the bedroom to the living room, simply can’t imagine myself relaxing next to such bold prints, beautiful as they are. Otherwise lots of great ideas.

  3. Sally take a photo of your windows and I hope you will see how painting just the frame dark will not work very well.

    You can paint UPVC so check YouTube and the web. There will be a paint for your UPVC sash windows.

  4. I’m very tempted to paint our living room window frames dark, but the actual sash windows are white UPVC…. would that look odd with white windows/black frame??

  5. Some totally stunning rooms, Kate! i love the dark green in our bathroom a little bit more seeing some of these schemes! 🙂 found some new accounts to follow too, so thank you! x

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