Beautiful Rooms: Monday Inspiration

A round up of pictures that have caught my eye over the last week. And one of the things that struck me, after I had decided on the final five, was that three of them are product shots and so I got to thinking… you know the rest but actually if you like SATC you will love this (it really did make me laugh seeing the Samantha character. Here’s another) are companies having to try harder to attract customers during a pandemic or has instagram made us all more aware of the value of beautiful photography?

kitchen by
kitchen by

It’s probably a mix of both but last week I was asked to style a shoot for a company (I’ll let you know when I can) and was told I needed to be quick in my choice of furniture from the prop house (basically a giant warehouse full of sofas, rugs, tables and lamps from all eras in all styles that you can hire for this purpose) because “everyone is shooting at the moment” and pieces are in high demand.

neutral tones and zebra via
neutral tones and zebra via

Which I take as a good sign that businesses are thinking about how they can get going again, or they are feeling they can keep going and are prepared to invest in professional photography and styling once more. This is also good news for some in the creative industries as well as those who work in the interiors sector as there’s no doubt that the emphasis, for the foreseeable future, is going to be on getting the most out of the places we live and really understanding how to make our homes work for us.

sabre runner by house of hackney with axminster carpets
sabre runner by house of hackney with axminster carpets

So the first image is a kitchen styled by Neptune and one of the pieces that has dropped into my inbox recently is the Wycombe folding chair, which, because of the way it folds, is a little more elegant and, dare I say, substantial than the classic folder which means it will be more comfortable. Use not only for extra guests for also at a temporary, or extra, desk.

The second is a house for sale in Sweden (so also selling something) and here I wanted to draw your attention to a disrupter element that isn’t a paint colour but is, of course, the zebra print. I have always preferred the black and white stripes of zebra to the yellow spots of the leopard as I think it goes with more and is easier to mix into any colour scheme. A giant chintzy floral would also work well in this room (perhaps one of the few schemes were the leopard would disappear) but be less unusual.

design by barker design using benjamin moore metallic paint
design by barker design using benjamin moore metallic paint

Above is a lovely idea for decorating a bath using metallic paint which is so simple and effective and also brings out the colour of the brass taps. If you are adding brass elements but can’t replace the chrome elements then bringing the two together with a small tin of metallic paint might be a way to make everything appear more deliberate and considered.

The last two product shots are firstly of the new carpet collaboration between House of Hackney and Axminster and I love this. It’s expensive at £345 per square metre but there are a couple of points to mitigate the cost. Now standard flight is 13 steps and a riser and tread average (note average) 45cm so you will get two stairs per metre which means between six and seven metres for the flight (assuming straight with no turns which need more). But, this will be the first thing you see as you come in so it needs to be something you will love for a long time and remember the old shoe cost per wear analysis. I have had my stair runner for 10 years and I still love it. Secondly you only need to use this pattern on the first flight – you can switch to a co-ordinating plain runner as you go up the house. And if you just want a rug, take a look at this William Morris Goth inspired rug from the same place. See the subtle skull in the middle? I love that sense of traditional with a subversive twist and, if you had a rug it works out cheaper at £2,250 for one measuring 1.83cm by 1.22cm.

london desk lamp in yellow from original btc
london yellow fdesk lamp in from original btc

Finally, in the month that the clocks go back I thought this yellow desk lamp was so cheery against the dark walls. It’s like it would bring you sunshine through the winter. And I sense that this winter we are going to be needing that wherever we can find it.


Tags : beautiful roomsbeautiful spacesfolding dining chairmetallic paint designsmonday inspiration
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. Can you tell me what the flooring is in the photo for Benjamin Moore paint? Tile or vinyl? Company that makes it?
    Thanks so much.

  2. Thank you for all your inspiration. I look forward to it and enjoy it immensely. Any guess as to the dark blue-grey wall color in the last photo (with the yellow desk lamp)? Squid Ink by Paint and Paper Library?? Thank you kindly, Susan

  3. Hi Kate,
    Love your blog, have both your recent books and you continue to inspire me with lots of ideas while we are doing a large renovation of our home. I am looking for sheer curtains for a tall french door, almost exactly like the one in the black and white zebra print armchair picture above (linked to esny). If you were looking for a similar pole and curtain 2.9m, where would you go?
    with thanks
    Sara Mitchell

Comments are closed.