How to be bold and brave with your interiors!

Aug 25, 2021

Summer madness

Forget the school summer holiday juggle for a few minutes and catch up on the latest from AMC Design, including a few tips on how to be brave and bold with your interiors!

Hello, how are you?

We’re three weeks into the six-week school summer holiday and I don’t know how things are with you but I’ve already seen a lot of the Wharfe Valley as I do my mum taxi duties alongside client visits. It’s all looking rather beautiful too after all the sunshine and then rain. But there is talk of sunshine coming, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

So, I’ve swapped the school run for the holiday club run but what else is new? I guess we’ve swapped the Euros for the Olympics, a heatwave for thunderstorms and oh yes, I swapped my comfy bed for an airbed in a tent. Yep. The Cousins family headed off to the Lakes for a weekend of camping and reconnecting with the great outdoors, before heading to Ireland for a long overdue catch up with family.

Happy campers!

Surprised to hear I’m a camper? Let me reassure you, you’re not alone. I think anyone who has ever met me is kind of stunned by this news. I’m not a natural camper (and had to make a quick stop to buy a rain coat and walking boots before we headed off), but now that things are easing, post Covid (is it too soon to say that?), I figure it’s good to embrace new experiences. The kids had a blast and my bed was very much appreciated when I got home.

However, in amongst ferrying kids around and our trips to the Lakes and Ireland, I wanted to share a few thoughts about being brave and bold with your interior design choices. Brave and bold are words I throw around quite a lot when I talk about my interior design schemes. Whether it’s paint colour, fabric or flooring and furnishings but I don’t think I’ve ever really explained what I mean.

How can I be brave with my interiors choices?

It’s a big subject and I could chat about it for hours, but I’ll try to keep it simple. Another thought though, if you have a spare five minutes, why not delve into my previous blogs, case studies and social media and you’ll soon pick up a few ideas along with the hints and tips I’m sharing here. I’m always happy to chat all things interiors so do drop me a note if you have any burning questions about interiors.

Wall colour: the easiest and cheapest way to transform a room

I really think that one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to make a statement is with the wall colour. If you flick through my gallery or social media feeds, you’ll see that I love a strong, bold wall colour, from teal and navy to deep green and bright pink. The paint choices are seemingly endless these days. It would be a shame not to make the most of all those beautiful colours, wouldn’t it? I know it can feel scary to think about a strong colour in the walls. But to be honest, it’s easier to repaint than it is to think about recovering that new sofa which you’ve now decided you don’t like!

Where To Start With Colour?

Sometimes I’ll walk into a room, and I’ll immediately know that the wall colour should be navy. Or green. Or a pale dove grey. Sometimes it takes me a little longer as I get to know the space and the client but typically there’s a gut feel that I back up with my experience and knowledge of paint colours and finishes.

Which way does your room face?

The two most important things to think about are the direction the room faces and how the room will be used. North facing rooms will always have cooler light than south facing rooms, so warmer colours are needed.

East and west facing rooms are lovely when they are in the sun’s gaze but can be a bit gloomier in the evening and morning, respectively. So if you have a west facing bedroom, you need to brighten up the room so it’s not a chore to get out of bed in the morning.

Wall colour: dip your toe in

A bold wall colour is a great starting point to a stylish and bold interiors scheme. It’s also a simple way to dip your toes in to experimenting with colour but it’s not the whole story. There are lots of other ways you can elevate your room from great to wow.

Experiment with a gallery wall

A gallery wall is another great way to add flourishes of colour, if repainting the room in a bold colour feels too much at first. Check out my blogs on gallery walls. But the main thing is to choose images that you love, whether they are high art or affordable prints from online shops like or Desenio and the like. Don’t forget to balance out the images, style wise and colour wise, but otherwise just trust your instinct.

Lighting: beautiful and practical

Another great way to add character is to go for lighting which is as beautiful as it is practical. If your room calls for a pendant, always choose a pendant which is larger than you think you need.  And don’t forget to add spotlights only in to highlight recesses or features and add lamps for depth of light.

Colour at work: here’s one I made earlier

It might be easier to show you what I mean with a few examples from different client projects so here goes.

Bold walls and attention to detail: a contemporary, family living room

I think this living room is a great example of a how to use a bold wall colour as a springboard for the rest of the scheme. I think I’ve shared this family living room in a contemporary home near Ilkley Moor before but it’s worth taking another look with brave and bold in mind. We painted the walls in the depths of winter and it immediately felt like the right decision. Dramatic – absolutely!

It’s all about balance

But the reason it works is because there is balance: it is a north facing room with a pale grey carpet and lots of natural light. Bi fold doors and a picture window meant that there was a relatively small amount of wall space, and the dark green frames the view and allows the jubilant blue and the gorgeous brasses to sing. 

Have fun: Yes, Even with Office decor

This was an office refurb with a difference- housed in an barn outside Leeds, it had been cream and practical while the business grew. Like the example above, this space had great bones- beautiful stone walls and original beams which had become lost against the magnolia walls. 

It was time for a refresh to reflect the corporate branding and ethos and to allow for the flexible working which has become the mainstay of how we all work.

Introducing colour meant that those features really shone. Break out spaces, quiet working spaces, meeting rooms and hotdesking areas were all a major part of the brief, and I love how my client embraced the use of colour throughout to create a vibrant and energetic workplace which reflects the dynamic business it houses while respecting its rural setting. 

Rich grey walls make this open plan living room inviting and welcoming

Create an impact in monochrome

It is easy for me to talk about how to be brave with colour. But of that statement, I really think the most important thing is to be brave. Monochrome can hit all those high notes too. Check out this strong interior with views over Ilkley Moor. Bold patterned monochrome fabric brought the whole thing to life.  A bold design but in monochrome. Bold and brave doesn’t always have to mean bright colours.

Final thoughts

Being brave and bold is an ongoing conversation and I promise I’ll come back to it. Because only by being bold can we create rooms which are really brilliant. Safe is easy. But it’s not likely to make your heart soar.

In the meantime, have a lovely bank holiday weekend. Here’s hoping the forecasted good weather happens, and don’t forget to drop me a note with your interior design questions.



Photography by Heidi Marfitt Photography

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Two oversized mirrors bring drama to this elegant double sink

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