Well. At the start of “all this” as it seems now to be known, I promised you a calm space to escape and, judging by your many comments and messages, that is what you have found here. On Friday, as I finished reading my lockdown story on Instagram (Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan for anyone whose kids need a break/needs a break from their kids) I said to The Mad Husband that I would perhaps do a short post today. Perhaps one beautiful room, since it was a bank holiday and many people wouldn’t visit as they would be doing other things with their families… pause for the inevitable every day’s a bank holiday at the moment comments. Then, well, The News happened. And, well, I figured that I needed the escapism as much as anyone so here are some spaces. There’s no theme other than I find them calming and relaxing. I hope you do too.

kitchen by considered things
kitchen by @consideredthings

I have no particular words of comfort to offer you as we enter the 10th week of lockdown, but I do know that, for me at least, losing myself in beautiful spaces helps me to relax and breathe, and the more I look the slower my breathing until my mind empties of the rage and my brain starts to plot how I might bring elements of the picture into my own rooms.

cupboards and goods green kitchen with tongue and groove and green cupboards
cupboards and goods green kitchen with tongue and groove and green cupboards

This then, is my therapy, in the same way that others among you might turn to gardening or books or cooking. Although don’t get me wrong, I’m fully versed in the reason why the word Retail is often followed by Therapy as well.

And looking at these kitchens I am reminded of a text from a friend this weekend who is planning to paint her kitchen cupboards. She wants a deep grey/ navy like the top picture from Considered Things (that feed is a delight do follow if you do instagram) and three years ago that was the colour of my kitchen. It’s now chocolate brown but I am also drawn to this deep dark green and simple panelled walls.

painted circles by livingawilderlife
painted circles by @livingawilderlife

And talking of the power of paint there is this which I just love. It’s so simple, could be done with a tester pot or some leftovers (and quite lot of frog tape). One of the questions that I am so often asked is how to bring character to modern spaces and new builds and the answer, for me, is that paint is the cheapest and most affordable thing you can do. And you don’t have to paint all four walls from floor to ceiling in the same colour. Why not add some shapes or some stripes to both zone an area or just add some interest?  If you can’t find a wallpaper you like, or don’t want to hang paper then think about painting some designs instead. This olive green is so perfect in this natural colour scheme and the pink enhances, and deepens, the leather sofa and wooden table. It’s a simple thing that works so well. It can also work if you don’t have lots of pictures to hang on your walls. Or if you live in a rented house and aren’t allowed to bang holes in the walls – this you can paint over and it will be as if it never was.

pink bathroom cupboards by Lisa Dawson
pink bathroom cupboards by Lisa Dawson 

And while I said there was no theme, one invariably creeps in and it’s this soft calming pink seen here in this bathroom belonging to Lisa Dawson. Just feast your eyes on all that storage and remember that we always need more storage than we think in a bathroom.

Or, looking forward to times when we may go on holiday and stay in hotels, such as the Henrietta, also pink, also marble, also with a black and white floor, but with soft pink walls instead of cupboards. Pink is a universally flattering shade for a bathroom whatever the colour of your skin because of the gentle light it reflects back.

pink bathroom at the henrietta hotel
pink bathroom at the henrietta hotel

And I leave you with this gorgeous picture by photographer Nadine Armstrong and the words of Barack Obama in 2016 when he said: “No matter what happens the sun will rise in the morning” and so, of course, will the moon at night.

image by nadine armstrong
the moon will rise again image by Nadine Armstrong

And a final point for anyone wondering about colour combinations – if it’s not in your wardrobe then look outside. Nature holds the answers.


calming spaces, living room with neutral wooden frame armchairs with geometric designs painted on the wall in taupe and grey.

Tags : calming colourscalming interiorscalming spacesgeometric patterned wallnatural texturespainted circlespink bathroom cabinet
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. Really interesting with the shapes painted on the wall. I am also considering to have some similar fun going on on my walls, either in the entrance or in the seating corner of the dining open space. And what a beautiful picture of the nature! It truly does provide all the color combinations that go perfectly together 😊

  2. I always enjoyed some nice, nude colours the most. In fact, most of my home is designed in creams. Thank you for sharing, that was a great read for me! I also love your photos! They always look so nice x

  3. Thanks so much Kate. Especially thanks for not being afraid to make it more about our own rather than just home interiors. The word inspirational gets thrown around a lot these days but your style, your eye and your sincerity make you more than deserving of it. Loved, loved, loved your tweet today too. Please stay safe, we all need you.

  4. Thank you for the inspirational, calming post!

    Would you know where one could get information on courses on colour and paints that could lead to a career in the paint industry? Would very much appreciate your feedback.

  5. Hello from Dublin …I love love love these posts .
    I am a huge fan .
    When the time is right …………..please come back to Dublin and inspire us all .
    Enjoy the sunny BH .

  6. Hi Kate,
    Thank you for those lovely, calming images. Your blog always provides inspiration for introducing more beauty into our own homes. When we will get round to adding that beauty is another matter. I’m sure that with apparently, acres of time spreading before many of us at the start of “all this”, we envisaged getting so many jobs done. How is it then that we still haven’t ticked off a single thing from our “to do” lists? Life, even in lockdown, seems to have an agenda of it’s own! Today, let’s all enjoy Bank Holiday sunshine. Keep up the good work Kate. Your blog is daily sunshine!

  7. I absolutely love your posts – admire your dedication to post five days a week too. Thankyou, thankyou 😘

  8. Oh thank you Kate! I love your blog so much – when I wake and the first thoughts that creep into my mind are the troubled ones from the night before – I log onto my phone and ping! There’s a lovely little bit of interiors escapism from Mad.. It truly resets the mind and soul for the day ahead.
    Oh how I wish we could go back to 2016 now, only four years but a million worlds ago it seems, a time before Trump, Boris, Brexit and now this terrible virus that keep us and our dreams locked away.
    My son was but a year old when Barack quoted that phrase, and now at four and a half I never dreamt he would be banished from his education and his friends, waiting, just waiting until ‘this’ is all over.
    So much time, every day the same, projects progressing, one step forward, two back.
    Neither of us working, no jobs for freelancers, homeschool the only work we do now, day after day.
    Oh to ‘sort the house out’ – thought I’d have it all done by now, but this curious inertia that comes with lockdown paralyses the soul.
    Bank holiday Monday. Hot. Another ‘family’ day without family.
    Lockdown. When will ‘all this’ be over.

    1. Oh you couldn’t have expressed how I feel any better than this, thank you. My saving grace is looking to nature When I walk my dog and the quiet that seems to almost hug one at the moment 🙏

  9. Thank you for the distraction! Always enjoy reading your posts and looking at the lovely pics. Waiting for my green paint samples to turn up – then that will be even more distraction with some mindless painting.

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