Monday Inspiration: Beautiful Rooms

Morning to you all and I hope you are all ok after the battering from Storm Dennis over the weekend. We discovered a leak in the top bathroom which is coming down into our bedroom below but I’m not sure I can blame Dennis for it in all honesty. Fence panels and roof tiles are all otherwise intact and I hope yours are too. In other news today will be brief; it’s my birthday. I intend to lie around all day with a book and go out for dinner in the evening.

image via @dominomag and @cb2
image via @dominomag and @cb2

But before I do that a few images which have caught my eye this week. And the first three appear to all be fireplaces. Perhaps a subliminal nod to the extreme weather we’ve been having. Oh to have a pink marble fireplace in the sitting room. It needs no further adornment other than a matching vase of pink roses although the legs of the day bed echo the colours as well. And the shapes all seem to be mirrored in the geometric picture on the wall. I find this an immensely calming scene and rather wish I could be lying here to read said book: Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks, if you were wondering.

white marble fireplace via @house.blanche
white marble fireplace via @house.blanche

Mind you I’d take this scenario too. An ornate fireplace to be sure but a much more likely colour. Mine is painted chocolate brown to match the walls as it’s no thing of beauty but if I had a stone surround I would be celebrating it. A large mirror over the mantel is a classic design choice but I also love the picture propped up at the side on a stack of papers or magazines.

I’m increasingly of the opinion that a piece of art hung off centre, or in a slightly unexpected place is to be encouraged. It will have so much more impact and also solves the problem of a something being to small for a space as, by hanging it to one side, or in an unusual spot it will look, incoming mantra, as if you meant it.

I was at a friend’s house the other day and they have just finished decorating their living room. A fabulous large picture was hanging on one wall. It looked as it if was waiting for a piece of furniture to go underneath it. It wasn’t. We all agreed that it needed to be hung much lower in that case. Essentially in the middle of the wall which might at first appear low but does make the picture the point of the wall.

interior design by frank and faber shot by paul craig
interior design by frank and faber shot by paul craig

One more fireplace and this time we’ve gone over to the dark side and you can see how the fireplace stands out. Also note how a more unusual round mirror looks great. We’ve become used to see large rectangle mirrors over fireplaces and round ones feel unusual but actually they can work really well in counterpoint to all the rectangle shapes made by the surround. And in this particular case the round curve of the mirror mirrors (as it were) the shape of the fireplace itself. Bit of Red Thread theory for you there.

mural wall by
mural wall by

Another large round mirror, this time over a row of storage cupboards and set against a fabulous floral mural. The colours aren’t too vibrant so while the design is fairly wild it is all toned down by the block of dark colour and the matching painted door (not to mention the frame of the mirror). If you are fall in love with a dramatic pattern but are nervous of how to bring it into your own home then just remember you can knock it all back by sticking to one other plain colour elsewhere – and don’t make it white.

Or stick to a dramatic pattern in a black and white pattern like this from Rita Konig’s rental home below and just add a soft pink as she has done. I adore this bedroom colour scheme and don’t forget – if you keep the pattern behind the bed you won’t see it when you are lying down so it won’t be too energising. She has also matched the curtains to the wallpaper which is a look that fell out of fashion (apart from for the English country home set) but, along with the new mood of maximalism, I think we will be seeing this more and more. And, as I said, in a simple two tone colour scheme it’s not too scary.

bedroom at rita konig house
bedroom at rita konig’s house

Right I’m off. My book is calling. Have a lovely day everyone.


Tags : beautiful roomsmarble fireplacemonday inspirationornate fireplaceovermantel mirror
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. Kate I must confess I’m mad about you and your style! Love love love everything that I see from your amazing talent in design!!! Thank you so very much for inspiring us all!!! Can I see any of your work when I come to London in May? Xoxo, Barbara in Seattle

  2. Happy Birthday, Kate. I hope you had a wonderful day and are currently enjoying a delicious meal out.
    Let us know what you think of Paris Echo. It’s on my list of things to read…

  3. Tanti auguri Kate!
    The usual link to read the Blog on the web page was skew-whiff this morning…Prosecco for breakfast perhaps?
    Have a fabulous day!

  4. Happy Birthday, Kate. Thank you for your wonderful blog, a great regular un-birthday present for us all! Enjoy Paris Echoes. It’s an excellent read!

  5. Happy birthday Kate, have a wonderful relaxing day reading your book lounging on that gorgeous pink chaise longue. It’s a good book, enjoy!

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