Monday Inspiration: Beautiful Rooms

I’m going to wish you all a Happy Monday even if you feel it isn’t because you know – fake it till you make it and all that. And then we are going to wander through some lovely spaces, breathing deeply and drinking in the inspiration. And then we can have a cup of coffee and head back on out there. Think of this as your restorative cupboard – a place you can slip into where everything is calm and lovely and you can shut the door on “all this” for just few minutes, and perhaps a few minutes more. Here there is nothing but a beautiful room and if you don’t like the first one you can move onto the second.

interior design by Rukmini Patel for @Home_at_number_ nineteen
interior design by Rukmini Patel for @home_at_number_ nineteen

So let’s start with this pretty nursery designed by Rukmini Patel for @home_at_number_nineteen where the brief was a room that could grow with a child and this would certainly work. The walls are painted in Dimity, by Farrow & Ball, a soft red-based neutral that is warm and understated. You can wash it all over the ceiling and woodwork or pair it with a stronger pink to bring out the undertones. Here it is kept neutral and proof, if proof were needed, black and white stripes always work.

These ready made curtains are from anthropologie and there are lots of gorgeous patterns and fabrics. Remember you can fix two curtains to each side for a large window, add your own pom pom trim and change the lining if the curtain you like doesn’t have what you need. This will be cheaper than having completely bespoke, but still allows a level of customisation. And remember that this may be a nursery (for now) but it’s a classic colour scheme that would work as an office, spare room or adult bedroom so don’t look at the cot and dismiss it out of hand.

the office of designer rose uniacke
the office of designer rose uniacke

Once more with the curtains for the joy that a yellow curtain can bring. Yes I know the ceiling height is immense and the plasterwork incredible, but that doesn’t mean the same principle of a bit of sunshine at a smaller window wouldn’t still bring the joy. This was once the ballroom at Rose’s house (!) but in the absence of your own ballroom to dress then pick a window – a bedroom or office would be great – and see how much difference a great window dressing will make to an otherwise plain room.

magic triangle yellow encaustic tiles from ottotiles
magic triangle yellow encaustic tiles from ottotiles

Uniting the first two images with a mix of yellow and stripes and these encaustic magic triangle cement tiles from Otto Tiles. You can lay them in different patterns and, in addition to these wide stripes the company also has some narrow ones in a range of dusty colours.

I continue to love this company for their bold, colourful and simple designs. This is Moonlight Shadow and while it looks intense and dramatic with the deep green walls, you could just as easily pair them with a soft creamy white for something less full on. These encaustic tiles, which Otto are so good at, are a great way to bring the traditional patterned tiles seen in Victorian houses (often Minton) up to date, so you are nodding to the patterns of the past but using a completely modern design.

moonlight shadow tiles by ottotiles
moonlight shadow tiles by ottotiles

Staying with green – we’re going with basic colours of summer here (as the snow and wind batter the UK shores) and this half-painted wall by interior design company indie & co. Lots to take away from this; firstly you don’t need a dado rail to divide a wall – you can do it perfectly well on a flat, featureless wall to add colour and personality. Secondly, you can take it from the hall and up the side of the stairs but you can stop where the wall stops at the top – ie- you don’t have to do the entire staircase. The chances are there is a door at the top facing the stairs so you go up to meet it and then stop. if you want you can take the colour a little further round to wrap the landing but look at the architecture of your walls to see where there is a natural stopping point and be guided by that rather than convention.

half painted wall by indie & co
Photo @annastathakiphoto half painted wall by indie & co 

The other point is note how the stairs have been painted to match the lower wall. This is such a cool idea. There is a sort of unspoken idea that we mustn’t paint floors in wild colours but staircases are different and you can – and should-  have fun After all it’s likely to be the first thing you see when you open the front door. If painting the stairs worries you then choose a plain colour – or match the top half of the wall – and pick a carpet or runner to match the lower paint. Also if you do instagram take a look at the sitting room from this project – the ceiling is the same as the green wall colour here which brings the whole scheme together.

via wanderinginteriors @lumikello__’s apartment
@lumikello__’s apartment with its pale blue ceiling

Better finish with some blue as we’ve had sun, grass and trees and now we should have sky and sea. Above is the gorgeous pale blue ceiling of Eva Kaiser’s apartment. It’s a soft blue that makes the perfect contrast with the pale pink walls.

Or you can go for the more intense blue of Helena Agusti’s apartment  in Spain. Of course, like Rose Uniacke’s ballroom, we won’t all have ceilings like this, but you can do this to add character to a modern room too. The green staircase above didn’t have plasterwork but the designers made a decision to paint part of the wall. Do the same with a plain white ceiling and just remember to bring the colour down over the top of the walls to make the ceiling (and therefore the footprint of the room) look bigger. You could also add a contrasting, or deeper, stripe to finish it off instead of having plasterwork. You could use paint if you have a steady hand (and a laser marker or masking tape) or coloured washi tape.

blue ceiling at the barcelona apartment of Helena Agusti
blue ceiling at the barcelona apartment of Helena Agusti

And we’ll finish where we came in but this time with an even darker blue as the it’s the same room taken at dusk. Right when you’re ready you can leave the cupboard of calm or you can stay in here a bit longer – there’s nearly 10 years worth of content to read.

interior design by Rukmini Patel for @Home_at_number_ nineteen
interior design by Rukmini Patel for @home_at_number_ nineteen 
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 love painted staircases – have done mine in Squid Ink and it looks great. I am very attracted by that blue ceiling… am so tempted to do mine but I don’t think I could get up the strength and stamina required to actually do it! Well done Rose Uniake for nabbing the best room in the house for herself! A great lead to follow.

  2. Absolutely love both of the green staircases. The idea of painting the stairs and spindles to match the wall is something I would never have considered but looks incredible

  3. All of the rooms are a treat to see. We know that colour, pattern and texture are essential elements in early infant development. Rukmini has delivered well on these fronts. The horizontal stripe on the curtains with the added touch of the pompoms adds just the right touch of playfulness to this room.

  4. The green hallway and stairs – oh! .so gorgeous. But that’s not my house. Is Rukmini Patel the same lady who cooks everything in a roasting tray? Her books are brilliant and that room is perfection, particularly the curtains.

  5. I so look forward to these posts… They really are restorative! And feel like I’m picking up ideas by osmosis… Thank you.

  6. The muted down nursery scheme is very clever, so unlike the sickly sweet or over colourful projects that one normally sees.
    I love the green staircase & hallway- a brave & successful colour choice.

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