At home with interiors expert Ellie Tennant

31st May 2016

Looking for interiors inspiration? We caught up with journalist, stylist and author Ellie Tennant to talk all things home, from the latest trends to her decorating secrets.

How did you become an interiors addict?

Playing ‘houses’ or rearranging my dolls’ house was my favourite game as a child and I loved decorating my bedroom as a teenager and student, so perhaps I’ve always been an interiors addict! I studied English Literature at university and then did a post-graduate Journalism diploma and knew I wanted to be a journalist of some sort. My passion for interior design and my love of words naturally merged and I started my career working in-house on magazines such as House Beautiful and Ideal Home as a writer and stylist. I went freelance in 2011 and since then have produced a wide range of features for many top titles as well as writing and styling two books recently – Design Bloggers at Home and Chic Boutiquers at Home.

What’s your home like?

It’s a work in progress! My husband and I have just moved to the country, having been in London for over a decade, so we’ve left a home that we spent five years ‘doing up’ and decorating to start all over again. Luckily, our new house has lots of lovely period features – nice fireplaces and floorboards – so I’m looking forward to putting our stamp on it. So far, we’ve sanded and treated all the floorboards with Danish lye and oil for a ‘Scandi’ look, and that’s about it!

What’s your favourite paint colour?

I love grey. It’s such a useful neutral, which can work in any scheme. A pale grey can look restful and sophisticated when used with white, or dramatic and powerful when used as a background for brighter, bolder colours such as hot pink or gold. My absolute favourite grey is ‘Bone White’ by Fired Earth – it’s very soft, chalky, tranquil and subtle.

What is your ultimate home luxury?

A good bed. We spend so much of our lives asleep and a good night’s rest can have a huge impact on your wellbeing. I think, if you can, it’s worth saving up and buying the best mattress you can afford and treating yourself to some super-soft bed linen, too, with a high thread-count. I have a bit of a thing for fluffy down pillows and luxurious super-king duvets, too. Bed linen-wise, I like crisp white designs best for a simple look, or ticking stripes, which are timelessly-stylish.

How would you describe your signature style?

My personal look is very much ‘old meets new’. I love vintage furniture and accessories but think they look best when mixed with a few more contemporary elements. For example, I have a 1950s schoolteacher’s desk in my home office, but a very modern white chair beside it. If everything’s new, it can look a bit soulless and if everything’s old, it can look a bit cluttered and fusty. It’s easy to mix things up – if you have a vintage bench in your hallway, put some contemporary cushions on it in bright colours, or, if you have a super-sleek modern kitchen, display vintage utensils.

Can you ever mix pattern with pattern in an interior scheme?

Absolutely! But there are a few ‘rules’ to follow if you want to avoid an overly busy look. Ensure the patterns you choose share similar colours in common and make sure that they feature patterns of different scales – for example, you could team a big, blowsy floral design with a smaller-scale polka dot print.

What is your top pick from Joules this season?

I like the folding ‘Lazychair’ best – chairs like this are so handy in the summer, for picnics, days at the beach, camping trips – I’m a fan!

You can find out more about Ellie on her blog or follow her on Twitter.

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