5 interior lessons to take from Kensington Palace – designers' notes from the Prince and Princess of Wales' home
What can we learn from Prince William and Princess Catherine's official London residence? Top designers recommend starting here...
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Few residences hold the prestige of Kensington Palace – the official London residence of The Prince and Princess of Wales, owned by King Charles III.
While the Prince, Princess, and their children spend much of their time away from Kensington Palace (in Adelaide Cottage on the Windsor Castle Estate) – their home, known as Apartment 1A – serves as a base when visiting the British capital. This part of the palace is (understandably) closed to visitors (who can explore the Queen's and King's State Apartments and gardens) – so glimpses inside the home are hard to come by. However, they are some exceptions.
Rare snapshots from the Prince and Princess's living spaces give a sense of their decorating ideas – reportedly designed by Ben Pentreath (opens in new tab) (whose other clients include Liv Tyler and Sarah Jessica Parker). Here's what you can learn from their home in Kensington Palace, according to designers in the know.
1. Begin with a taupe, cream and beige color palette
While there is a lot to note about Kensington Palace's color scheme – the base hues are the best place to start. All the photos showcase a timeless neutral backdrop that allows statement furnishings to make the statement they deserve. However, Los Angeles designer Rande Leaman (opens in new tab) says that the same can be said for neutral-toned accessories, too.
Rande Leaman is an interior designer with projects in Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, and the Westside. Her studio specializes in remodeling and home renovations – creating a timeless home that mirrors every client's personality and taste.
'Kate is pictured with two pillows that have a soft taupe and cream color palate and a more organic feel to them,' the designer says. 'I like how the neutral color scheme lets the furnishings, art (and people) stand out.'
The princess' pillow has a faint thistle print, shown subtly against the neutral material. We found a similar style pillow (also boasting a floral pattern) below.
Schumacher Saranda Flower Pillow | $438 on 1stDibs (opens in new tab)
Inspired by traditional Indian hand-block designs, this royal-colored Saranda Flower Embroidery features flowers (similar to those seen on Kate's pillows). Plus, the neutral backdrop allows you to experiment with color in the same way as the royals.
2. Don't underestimate the power of a side table
'What I love about these images from Kensington Palace is that you can clearly feel that it is a traditional design style, and yet there is still some modern flair seen in the use of a plexiglass side table,' says designer Faith Blakeney (opens in new tab).
'Had it not been for this table (seen below), the design would have felt too cluttered and over the top, but adding something simple and modern created the space to enjoy all the classical pieces around it.'
Faith Blakeney is an interior designer based in Los Angeles, California. Her eponymous studio is known for breaking conventions in favor of innovation and playfulness. She is a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times, among other national and international publications.
And Faith is not alone in her observations. Rande also draws attention to the table – saying that the contemporary piece is a reminder of the family who frequents the space.
'Amid stunning antique furnishings, I love how they've incorporated a contemporary lucite side table in the mix,' she says. 'This combination of styles shakes up the traditional decor and reminds us a young family resides here.'
3. Invest in an upholstered ottoman
Few ottoman ideas are quite as luxurious and beautiful as the one seen in Kensington Palace, pictured above.
'I adore the giant upholstered ottoman (which I first mistook for the most elegant and decadent dog bed I've ever seen). Its extremely large size and muted colored fabric help the room feel soft and comfortable,' Faith says. 'This is welcome in such a grand, opulent space.' To achieve a similar look, we recommend the one below.
Bella Upholstered Tufted Cocktail Ottoman | $619.65 at Macy's (opens in new tab)
This similarly-hued ottoman has a round silhouette that blends seamlessly into any style space. It is described as an accent piece that enhances the aesthetics of contemporary households.
4. Interrupt a neutral scheme with vibrant accessories
Rande has already noted neutral base colors allow colored furnishings to stand out, but Heather Humphrey, the founder and principal designer at Alder & Tweed (opens in new tab), agrees.
Designer Heather Humphrey founded Alder & Tweed Design Co. in 2010 with her brother Reed Humphrey. The firm creates curated luxury 'home away from home' experiences in the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
'One of my favorite features from the photos below is how much color is infused into each space. They weren’t afraid to mix unexpected floral patterns and bright colors that complement each other and add visual interest,' Heather says.
5. Experiment with antique furniture in a contemporary setting
It may come as no surprise that Apartment 1A is a trove of the finest antique furniture (it has served as a royal residence for young royals for over 300 years, after all). However, notably the Prince and Princess of Wales have paired these pieces with more modern furnishings to bring the home firmly into the twenty-first century.
'I love in the palace is the antique pieces that are scattered throughout the rooms. The mix of old and new pieces juxtaposes a vintage yet timeless space,' Heather says. 'The classic ornamental gold frames fill the walls in a beautiful way.'
Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. 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.
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