My Top Ten Interior Design Tips #7


dotty carpet by alternative flooring image by
dotty carpet by alternative flooring image by

It’s vitally important to bring some fun into your home. A little bit of wit goes a long way and I’m a firm believer in doing something out of the ordinary that is just for you. I adore this spotty stair runner that I have in my hall. It’s the first thing you see when you come into the house and it cheers me up every time. Stripes is boring, spots is more fun.

At the top of the stairs is the bookshelf wallpaper by Young & Battagia. You can’t tell in this picture but we added skirting board to the bottom of the flat fire door and papered the door and the wall around it to create this trompe l’oeil effect. You can see the light strip where the door opens if you look carefully. That’s always a great trick if someone is standing in the hall and suddenly that door opens. It’s amazing how many people think it’s either a bookshelf (out of the corner of their eye) or just a wall of wallpaper. First time visitors never think it’s a door.

That’s what I’m talking about. Do something unexpected. Have fun. Don’t be afraid to do it because you’re afraid you’ll go off it. That way lies magnolia walls and neutral carpets. And the long slow death of your soul.

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. Love the wallpaper trick! A bit of the unexpected goes a long way.
    Have to disagree on the “stripes is boring”. There are stripes and there are stripes…
    I have a Roger Oates runner up our stairs in Chatham multi which is glorious and completely lifts our rather dark hall. Everyone comments on it.

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