Monday Inspiration: New Season

And we’re back. Happy September everyone. Are you ready? I’m sure the parents among you are desperate for term to start again. It’s bittersweet for us this year as the 18yo will be off to university in a couple of weeks which is both a proud and a tearful moment. For everyone else ( and us too) there is that shiny new pencil case feeling in the air and I’ve found eight cracking rooms to show you which will hopefully inspire you with new ideas and/or just give you something fresh to look at.

yellow bath by catchpole and rye
yellow bath by catchpole and rye

First up a splash of cheery yellow. This is an odd one for me. There is no yellow in my house. It’s not a colour I like. Or do I? I don’t like the custard’primrose version but this warm egg yolk yellow is rather appealing done in the right way and while I probably wouldn’t choose this colour for a bath I love looking at this picture. So I’m including it here as a cheery autumnal note. And I’m going to ask – would you?

yellow colour blocking by farrow and ball
yellow colour blocking by farrow & ball

Or what about using some yellow paint? I have spoken both on the podcast and on these pages about the new trend for colour blocking and here it is done in a different way to showcase a gallery wall, or a set of prints as seen above. It’s a great way to use up some leftover paint (more on that tomorrow) and I think it really adds impact. Here in The Mad House, we have tended to create gallery walls in a more random pattern so it wouldn’t necessarily work with for us,  but if you have a grid format or a set that you want to really stand out it’s a really cool idea. What do you think?

colour blocking pink by frenchforpineapple
colour blocking pink by @frenchforpineapple

Sticking with paint effects and this pretty scallop edging takes the half painted wall to a whole new level. Yes I’m sure it’s a fiddly nightmare to do but doesn’t it look wonderful. Another trend that I have spoken about at length is the return of Art Deco shapes – lots of fans and curves – and this is a great way to buy into that trend inexpensively.

I completely understand why you might worry about going off an expensive curved sofa or rounded wardrobe but this way involves only time and paint and it’s easy to move on from if you do get bored or just want to level it off again.

scalloped wall painting by @brepurposed
scalloped wall painting by @brepurposed

And here’s another riff on the same idea done with hexagonal tiles, which are also having a moment, but you don’t often see them finished off like this. Not only does it look pretty but it’s a good way to either use up everything you have bought or disguise the fact that you may not have bought quite enough. Both of which have happened to us. In one case I used the leftovers on a bedroom fireplace hearth and in the other, they just sit in the cellar waiting for a small project to happen. I was thinking about tiling a table for the garden at one point.

Back to the picture and not forgetting that pretty niche in a contrasting colour which looks amazing. I have suggested a double shower to clients before – it’s practical if you have small kids who don’t mind showering together while there are all sorts of reasons why grown ups might like it too – saving time in the morning being one of them.

scalloped tile edging via @piperandpoet
scalloped tile edging via @piperandpoet

Staying in the bathroom, but moving towards a more neutral palette, this is the bathroom of cookery writer and supper club host Laura Jackson. I’m thrilled to tell you that Sophie Robinson and I will be interviewing her for the podcast soon and her gorgeous home has just been featured in House & Garden so we will bring you all the pictures and the full house tour as soon as that episode airs (in just under three weeks’ time).

Note, while we’re looking the classic metro tiles laid horizontally here. Tiles can cost anything from a few pence each to lots of pounds, but never forget that you can take a traditional shape and lay it in in an unusual way or buy different colours and create expensive-looking patterns. Here the rows have been interspersed with edging tiles to add a little more decorative oomph to the overall look.

freestanding bath and vertical metro tiles by laura jackson
freestanding bath and vertical metro tiles by laura jackson 

Continuing the neutral theme with this glorious room by Cassandra Ellis of Atelier Ellis, whose collection of “quiet and calm” paints that provide a backdrop for your home keeps growing and now comprises 38 colours. This is warm white. All the colours work together and are inspired by natural, memories and fragments of things she has found and loved. I’m going to hazard a guess that the room behind is painted in Seafoam, which is a gorgeous green blue colour.

warm white paint by atelier ellis
warm white paint by atelier ellis

Finally what about this kitchen by Sally Denning? This was definitely a labour of reclaimed love. Once a dance floor, each plank had to be stripped and cleaned and sanded and then backed to make it strong enough to work as a door. Black kickboards and handles finished the look. I love it. Just not sure The Mad Husband would have the patience, as Sally’s did, to sand it all three times.

reclaimed kitchen from floor boards by sally denning
reclaimed kitchen from floor boards by sally denning @blackshorestyle

And there we have it. I hope you like this selection of rooms as much as I do. Come back tomorrow to find out how to revamp your home without spending any money. It’s my version of Second Hand September.

Tags : bathroom ideasinterior designinterior inspirationmonday inspirationyellow paint
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 the idea of colour blocking behind a gallery wall, and that yellow behind the shark is fabulous. I suppose it’s a “reduction” of the feature wall – an area of accent colour without the scary prospect of painting the whole room. Which appeals!
    Good luck with the uni departure – me too.

  2. Re colour blocking photo @frenchforpineapple above
    I keep seeing this table & chairs making a reappearance in my life 🙈 my mother bought similar 50 yrs ago when I was a child ! They seemed so modern . It’s true what they say fashion ( in all things) comes round in cycles.. not always quite the same. Good to have you back

  3. Great to have you back, Kate! Hope you had a good summer. My eldest is starting high school this week so I am equally nervous and excited. It’s going to require a room redecoration and I am looking forward to trying to create a more sophisticated room suitable for a teenager/young man. Finding inspiration for teenage boys rooms which aren’t heavily themed is quite difficult.

    Love the metro and edging tiles in that bathroom – feel like I’ve seen it somewhere before. I wish I had done similar in my own bathroom. It is very dull but only done around four years ago so I try to think of ways to improve it without any big changes. I think paint will have to do the job. I’ve already painted it twice since it was done but can’t get the colour right 😳

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