Lily Allen says this decorating mistake impacts the cohesion of our room – here's where to begin instead

A curated color scheme begins with the floor – here's what to avoid to guarantee a coherent room – the Allen way

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Lily Allen may be known as a force in the music industry, but she has given us a hint that her expertise fringes into the design world, too. In a recent episode of the Miss Me? podcast, the singer addressed how to use the most transformative decorating tool: color. Or, more specifically, how not to use it.

When curating our room's color scheme, many of us may begin with the walls, then larger furnishings, whether it be our sofa, bed, or curtains – while the color of our rug remains an afterthought. However, for Allen, the process is the other way around.

'My tip for interior design, get this, is start with a rug,' she says. 'The mistake that people make is with color. It’s very hard to decide what color a room should be, what color furniture and everything should be, and then [people] put a rug in at the end that’s going to match everything. [However], it's very difficult to be able to do that.'

Instead of leaving a rug until last, Allen says we should start with the floor and curate our room's color scheme from there. 'If you start with a rug, you can see what your color palette is, and you start from there, so you pick out a little color here, a color there,' she explains.

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Allen's Brooklyn home, where she lives with her husband, David Harbour, epitomizes her teaching. Created in collaboration with Billy Cotton, the late-19th-century Italianate brownstone plays with eclectic design quirks, including patterned carpet (seen in her bathroom below).

'Maybe do the cornicing [or plaster coving] in the color that’s in the border of the rug,' Allen says. 'Or maybe have a sofa in that [same] color. That’s always what I do. Start with the rug and work your way up.' Allen's teaching makes sense, so it's unsurprising that she's not alone in her practice. Whether we're looking to make a bold statement or go more subtle, Jodie Hatton, the design manager at Brintons, adds that a rug is the most powerful way to tie a room together, bringing texture and warmth into a space. Consequently, it should be our starting point.

'As the aspect of the room that you will probably keep the longest, the piece that has to be the most hardwearing and likely the biggest investment, it makes sense when designing to work from the floor up,' Hatton comments. 'Paints and furniture can then be selected to complement the flooring you love.'

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Allen's home is notably maximalist, exhibiting patterned carpet instead of wallpaper, where many may conventionally play with color. However, though bold, this technique has the potential to elevate even the smallest of spaces.

'Similar to how dark walls can transform a small room or a patterned wallpaper can bring interest to an otherwise dull space, a patterned rug is an inspired way to make a feature of a smaller room,' Hatton comments. 'It can help to add interest and character to the room.'

Shop the patterned rug edit

Following Allen's teaching is simple with these – some of our favorite maximalist pieces. They're fashionable and daring enough to be the base of any room.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.