How To Decorate, The Rules of Rug and Interview with Trinny Woodall: Podcast Notes

This week on The Great Indoors podcast Sophie and I discuss how to plan the decor, everything you need to know about choosing and laying rugs and, in a first for the show, we spent 10 minutes in the instagram-famous bathroom of tv presenter, fashion stylist and make-up entrepreneur Trinny Woodall.

 at the hoover building home of Lucy Dachtler image by KWS

We recorded the first part of the episode at Sophie’s house and she has made great strides with the decoration. Her sitting room is now all done with some storage and a set of bright yellow doors to the hall and we spoke about how to find that jumping off point for a colour.

Now I know we have spoken a lot about the red thread recently on here so I won’t repeat all that as you can read it here but Sophie brought up a couple of points that might help with anyone else who is trying to decorate an entire house and it might sound obvious, but she said you must never decorate a room in isolation.

pink and yellow at sophie robinson house

I have written before about the importance of considering the view from one room to another when it comes to hanging pictures or using the architrave of the door as a frame for the sight beyond, but this is only part of it. Sophie has gathered a palette of colours – pale pink, strong pink, cobalt blue and primrose yellow that are all shades she loves and she has used them in different combinations throughout the house. Her hall is blue with strong pink, from there you can see through to the pale pink sitting room where the yellow doors connect the two spaces. She is currently looking to re-upholster her old grey sofa and is looking for a bold chintz that will incorporate all those colours at once.

rug on seagrass at sophie robinson

My colour palette is, as you know, pale pink, chocolate, forest green and gold and there are elements of that in every room in the house. So whether you are planning one room or several start by making a note of colours that you have or you like and see how they fit together. Then you can use one big in one space but keep it to a detail in another. That way the house will be cohesive and all work together.

Next up we spoke about how to choose and lay rugs. Again I have written about that in detail before and you can read that post here. But Sophie raised the issue of underfloor heating and rugs. Basically a thick rug can act as a duvet which means the heat won’t penetrate to the room so if you have this type of heating then try and stick to thin rugs. A word of warning – if the rugs are too thick then this can delaminate an engineered wood floor so take care not to have the temperature too high if you have rugs on top.

rug on seagrass at sophie robinson

Of course the issue with kilims is that they are thin and light and can slide around on a wooden floor. I have laid rugs on carpet underlay which gives them a bit more substance. You can also buy anti slip rug mats from Amazon which is more of of a mesh and perhaps more breathable if you have underfloor heating as it’s not solid.

Rugs are also a great way to bring pattern and colour into a room – especially as you can move them around to another room if you get bored or fancy a change of scene. And don’t forget the old trick of having a piece of carpet hemmed. I visited one of my clients on the completion of her project earlier in the week who had done just that to zone a dining area of an open plan space (it will be on the blog soon so look out for it) and paid around £400 for a large rug as opposed to over £1000 so it’s definitely worth doing. When it came to under her bed – she couldn’t find the rug she wanted in a big enough size so she bought two and put them next to each other. You barely notice the join and it means that she can have the bed fully sitting on the rug rather than having a small piece poking out at the side.

pink and green at the hoover building home of Lucy Dachtler image by KWS
pink and green at the hoover building home of Lucy Dachtler image by KWS

When it comes to rug on carpets Sophie and I agreed that it wasn’t ideal unless you live in a rental property and it’s about covering up something hideous in the best way possible. However, Sophie has opted for seagrass upstairs which, she admitted, isn’t the softest underfoot but means she can lay down her collection of rugs.

Finally, in the first of a new series – every other episode – we went to visit our first guest and for this show we spent 10 minutes in the bathroom with Trinny. She spoke about her interior design tips and tricks which include:

Always use lots of mirror in narrow spaces. She always mirrors her hall walls to make the spaces appear bigger

Always live in a house with an east-facing bathroom as the soft light is the best and most flattering

Always store your make-up in clear Muji boxes which are stackable and allow you to see the contents

You’ll have to listen for the full interview. It’s about half an hour in total.

With thanks as ever to DFS for sponsoring the podcast without which we couldn’t do it.


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. Hi Kate,
    Sorry if I’ve missed it but do you happen to know where the framed botanical prints are from in the first image?

  2. Interesting… we’ve recently moved into a house with an east- (well, east-north-east-) facing bathroom and the light is surprisingly great in there. I had anticipated it being always dark but it gets the most glorious sun in the first half of the day.

  3. Thank you so much for this post. We are planning an extension at the moment and I have been battling on the rugs and underfloor heating combination.
    We like the look of wood, but it is not a great with underfloor as you mentioned, especially with a rug on top and we have a small budget too.
    On the lounge area our Architect suggested to carpet the area on we would lay a rug. We like the concept but not sure how it would look as I haven’t found a way for softening the edges.

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