How to dine in style with Fiona Leahy Design
Learn how to entertain with aplomb.
If we had to describe Fiona Leahy's style, it would be an elegant mix of Hollywood glamour meets industrial chic. The interior designer adores luxe detailing, floral art and Seventies kitsch.
Fiona Leahy would make a wonderful heroine of a contemporary bestseller. To begin with she has a gloriously glam job: a party planner extraordinare... chosen by the rich and famous to style events all over the world. She also, like so many romantic heroines, has a wicked wit and down-to-earth Irish roots.
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1. GO BIG
There is something marvellous about maximalism. There is nothing more decadently daring than colour and pattern, and Fiona is no stranger to taking risks. No space is willingly untouched in this scheme.After all, there is method to the madness.
2. CHOOSE A FAVOURITE PRINT
Forget stereotypes of cheap fabric and tacky design. Used in the right way, animal motifs can add a real sense of sophistication to a scheme. Don’t go wild, but rather introduce focused hits of the pattern in textiles, furniture or accessories. You’ll find that a leopard really can change its spots…
3. USE GOLD AS A NEUTRAL
'I use gold where other people use white. It’s my neutral, and it gives instant warmth, richness and an aura of glamour to everything,' says Fiona Leahy. 'I love it in metallic sculptures, lighting fixtures, chairs and frames.'
4. FACTOR IN FLOWER POWER
The inspiration here is Seventies classic glamour. Paul Evans, a furniture designer in the 1970s, is Fiona's inspiration. It’s a style that’s not too feminine, and incredibly timeless.
5. TAKE IT OUTDOORS
There is nothing else quite like dining alfresco. Creating an outdoor room is all about using what you’ve already got, then adding the little finishing touches to make it homely and comfortable. Where you position your table is important as you may want direct sunshine or dappled shade but always remember – keeping it near the kitchen means you don’t have too far to go when entertaining.
See:Kelly Hoppen reveals the decorating secrets behind the perfect East-meets-West look
6. DON'T FORGET THE CENTREPIECE
Striking floral centrepieces are the perfect finishing touch when it comes to decorating the home for entertaining. Whether your style is traditional, rustic or informal, there are plenty of ways to pack a punch. Beautiful and considered floral designs can really set the tone for festivities, creating a great atmosphere and helping guests feel welcome.
7. DECORATE THE CEILING
The delicate but impactful nature of florals can add a new dimension to any scheme. If you're lacking space around a table, then look up to the ceiling. This standout scheme reveals how a ceiling dressed with flowers can add an exhilarating and unexpected note. Take this look one step further by layering the scheme with a string of fairy lights.
Fiona Leahy, fionaleahy.com
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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