Kelly Hoppen talks treasured possessions, neutral interiors and budget styling tips
We caught up to the queen of Interior Design about all things decor
If there’s one woman who knows a thing or two about interior design, it’s Kelly Hoppen.
Since beginning her design career at the mere age of 16, the South African born style guru has gone on to design for the likes of the Beckhams, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow, all while earning herself the title of The Queen of Neutral Interiors in the process.
But while the award-winning designer-turned-Dragon is best known for the serene, earth-toned spaces that she creates, it’s actually her simple core design philosophy – that how people feel in a space is as important as the way it looks – that is what gives her designs an enduring appeal, as well as a client list that spans Disney to Claridge's.
We caught up with the doyenne of design this week to discuss her favourite underrated design tips, designing on a budget and how important it is to never have a favourite room in your house. Keep reading to discover everything the designer-to-the-stars had to say about interior style…
Kelly Hoppen Interview
Hi Kelly! Thanks so much for chatting to us today! For those who aren’t familiar with your work, how would you describe your signature style? My style is about neutral balanced living, but it evolves all the time. It’s all about textures. Everything that I do is about layering and textures and form. And I love incorporating art and light. When I walk into a room, I can automatically start to visualise it. My brain is like a computer so I literally see everything unfolding in front of me, down to the pieces of furniture in it. It’s very weird.
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What’s your favourite room in your home and why? I love it all. I don’t think you should have a favourite room because that way, you haven’t really designed your home properly. Every room should have a different feeling and reflect how you want to feel in it. In our home, I can go anywhere in the space and love it. I choose where I want to be depending on how I want to feel, and each room will deliver something different.
If you were faced with a completely blank room, how would you go about designing it? First, you really need to figure out exactly what you want. When I work with a client, I ask them all the questions and really get into their head, and then it’s very easy. If you can’t afford an architect, use masking tape to map out where things will go. I did it on the weekend in an important person’s house, I was there on the floor, masking tape out, to decide whether or not to go with a smaller table. I have a team of people drawing it out for me but I visually wanted to see it. It’s a brilliant trick.
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What are your essentials for making a space elevated? It’s all about texture. The textures you use, and how you layer them, is so important. Lighting is also absolutely key, and don’t overcrowd your home. Don’t go ‘I need this, this, this, this, and this’. Plan your room and just be sensible, because you’ll end up with a space that actually works. It’s better to have less, than more, and add. And remember that today, anything you see at the high end can be bought at the low end.
How can those working with a tight budget go about putting their own stamp on their home? This question is actually the reason why I wrote my new book in lockdown. When it comes to designing their space, people panic. People can get dressed easier than they can design their homes, but really, you have to make the same types of choices. What I say to people is you have to plan it, you have to ask yourself how you want to live and create a mood board, even if you’re doing it just for yourself. Plan it, look at it, go back and look at it again. Plan, plan, plan and follow your gut.
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What is your favourite underrated decorating tip? Take every accessory off every surface, put it in the middle of the room and start putting them in different rooms. I remember when I had my shop on Fulham Road, I used to change it once a week. People would come in and say, ‘oh my god is this new?’ and I’d say, no. The principle is the same as styling clothes with different accessories. If you can change the look of a navy dress with different shoes and jewellery, you can do the same in your home. It’s really important to keep your home moving, and it’s more sustainable than buying new items all the time.
What’s your most treasured possession in your home? That’s a tough one. Probably the picture of my Dad, who isn’t alive anymore. Maybe a couple of pairs of shoes. The thing is, all the pieces that I’ve bought have some kind of sentimental value, like vintage pieces, but honestly, if I had to run out the door, what would I keep? It would be pictures. And the rest is replaceable.
Main image: Kelly Hoppen for InSinkerator. Kelly Hoppen CBE has endorsed the entire InSinkErator portfolio of specialist kitchen taps and food waste disposers.
Thea Jeffreys is the Digital Writer on YourHomeStyle.uk, and is passionate about all things home décor. When she’s not scouring the internet for budget-friendly homeware finds, you’ll find her writing about the latest interior trends and handy upcycling tricks.