Kelly Hoppen: 1920s art deco and beautiful ceiling ideas

We chat to Kelly Hoppen about neutral colour palettes and her luxury bedrooms

Designer interview - Kelly’s bathroom at home incorporates her statement ‘sculptural’ bath which is from the range she designed for luxury bath company, apaiser

Kelly Hoppen’s trademark neutral palette has kept her at the top of her profession for the past four decades. She has designed the interiors of hotels and superyachts, did a stint on BBC’s Dragons’ Den, and has even judged The Great Interior Design Challenge. As well as her bespoke design service – Kelly Hoppen Couture – the South African-born entrepreneur has an online luxury store and a jewellery collection on QVC.

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Kelly has collaborated with several high profile brands, including Hotpoint, Wedgwood and luxury furniture brand Sonder Living. She has one daughter from her first marriage to restaurateur Graham Corrett, and currently lives with partner John Gardiner in a former city auction house in London which she renovated.

We caught up with her to talk all things interiors…

What’s the key to an elegant bedroom?

No room is more central to your wellbeing and comfort, and everything in it should be designed to please your senses. The emphasis must be on luxury, which means plenty of fabrics – cushions, bedspreads and throws – in order to build layers of elegance and texture.

A room set from the Vinci Living room designed by Kelly, which can be experienced at Sonder Living at Harrods
A room set from the Vinci Living room designed by Kelly, which can be experienced at Sonder Living at Harrods

What are your interior design ground rules?

Getting the lighting right is crucial to setting the mood and the tone, it’s the magic ingredient that pulls a design together. I always feature a big statement ceiling light as without it the space feels void, but like to include smaller lights like floor washers and low lighting to help create ambience.

Natural light is the best, but isn’t always an option, so beautiful lamps and uplighters help bring a room to life. For a unique touch, place uplighters by the edges of your curtains, which will light up the ceiling.

Kelly’s collaboration with Brintons ‘aims to do something quite cutting edge in the commercial sector’. The collection was recently launched at the annual hotel design event, Sleep.
Kelly’s collaboration with Brintons ‘aims to do something quite cutting edge in the commercial sector’. The collection was recently launched at the annual hotel design event, Sleep.

Do you still like to use neutral colours in all of your designs?

I know I’m known for my signature taupe and neutral palette, but I often use bursts of colour. My style has definitely evolved while maintaining my classic aesthetic. It’s not that I don’t like to use colour; I just seem to gravitate towards more neutral tones when designing.

What can you tell us about your own home? 

When I discovered the space, it was semi-derelict, completely bare apart from these huge pillars. I could immediately see the potential and had a clear vision of what I wanted to do. It was a huge project and took a lot of work. My heart and soul went into that house but it was worth it!

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And that amazing bath?

It’s from my own range with Apaiser and it’s like a sculpture – it really takes centre stage.