By Lucy Searle
Kit Kemp is the co-owner and Creative Director for Firmdale Hotels, a successful textiles, homewares and fragrance designer, and is well-known for her passion for creating exciting, colorful and unique interiors.
Here, she tells us just some of her decorating dos and don'ts – from how to use paint, dados and stripes to how to avoid making interior design mistakes, and how to be braver with your decor choices.
- See: Interior design tips – decorating secrets for the world's top experts
Kit Kemp's interior design tips
Kit Kemp's blog is a great place to pick up interior design know-how. In a recent post, Kit told her followers the secrets to designing the perfect room. Here, we offer a snapshot – plus more exclusive design advice from Kit, below.
1. Satisfy every sense
'A room should do just this. Scale and balance are so important,' says Kit in the blog. 'Each fabric should be used in the right way. For example, heavy weaves on chairs and sofas, lighter linens on cushions and curtains.'
2. Celebrate craft
'We love to create one of a kind pieces which make a room completely individual, from hand-painted murals to embellished cushions and headboards,' says Kit.
3. Create a focal point
For this element of interior design, Kit talks about using a surprising piece of sculpture at the end of a hallway to create a pleasing view – it's the perfect way to add instant character to a space and there's no need for redecorating to achieve it.
See: Kit Kemp on how to design a room – more tricks from the decorating guru
4. Using mirrors
'Mirrors are one of our favourite design tricks, reflecting light and adding depth to a space,' says Kit.
You can see more on decorating with mirrors in our guide.
5. Pick a warm color palette
'We love color, but we always choose from a warm palette,' says Kit – who is well known for the beautiful jewel tones of the spaces she creates so successfully.
6. Know how to use paint
Here's what Kit advises that you should do when using paint in your rooms:
- Consider how you want to feel in each space – a restful scheme in the bedroom maybe or something more punchy in the living room.
- Look at the light. Your favorite color might not work in your room due to the aspect, so sample your color throughout the day.
- Add fun accents – we love to surprise our guests with shocking yellow or red here and there.
And here is how to avoid making mistakes with paint, according to Kit Kemp:
- Don't be afraid to be bold. We love color and specialist effects, such as strié (a form of glazing) or dragging.
- Don't forget to sample. Test your paint on an A5-sized piece of card or wood, not directly on the wall.
- Don't neglect the ceiling. A colored ceiling is a perfect example of how to draw the eye up and add height to a space.
See more: Take a tour of Kit's beautiful home for more inspiration
7. Know how to use dados
This is what Kit Kemp advises you do to make the most of dados:
- Combine plains and patterns, as in the Araminta room at The Whitby Hotel in New York.
- Consider the room's proportions. The height for a dado should be 1-1.2m from the floor. Generally, the higher the ceiling, the higher the position of the dado.
- Coordinate the dado with skirting and cornicing for a seamless finish – like it's always been there!
Here's what not to do with dado, according to Kit Kemp:
- Don't overlook your walls' potential – adding dados means you can have a lot of fun with textures.
- Don't worry if there is no existing dado – make your own with a strip of shaped wood, a wide trimming or even a strip of wallpaper.
- Don't think dados are dated – they are an extra opportunity to add additional interest to your walls.
See more: Interior design trends – the 10 must-have looks to take your home into a new year – in style
8. Know how to use stripes
Here's how to use stripes in your decorative schemes, according to Kit:
- Use stripes in different directions, as in the Lyric Room at Covent Garden Hotel, London.
- Use stripes as a spatial tool – they are a fantastic way to add texture, movement and height to a space, especially where the designs run vertically.
- Mix your stripes. You can be playful – try using the same stripe in different widths, say.
And this is how Kit advises you avoid making mistakes with stripes:
- Don't think stripes are old hat – new stripes are launched every season.
- Don't treat stripes as just straight lines. They come in all shapes and sizes – hand-drawn, woven, dyed, printed, made of patterns, flowers...
- Don't just use stripes on walls – there are many ways to use them in a room, such as upholstery fabrics, on floors and even on ceilings.
Kit Kemp was Guest Editor of the June 2020 edition of Homes & Gardens – the first in our 101-year history. Discover more of her work at kitkemp.com
Nascar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr's Key West home just sold – tour this tropical Civil War-era property
The palm tree kissed paradise is a shrine to the neighborhood's nautical heritage
By Megan Slack •
H&G's Mother's Day gift guide – swoon-worthy ideas for every room
Our curated list of the best Mother's Day gifts you will find
By Annie Collyer •
Green room ideas – gorgeous ways to use nature's palette
After green room ideas? Of all the cool colors, green is perhaps the most versatile
By Rhoda Parry •
Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent reveal their secrets to designing a cozy bedroom sanctuary
The tricks to creating a peaceful oasis? Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent reveal them exclusively to H&G as they launch their new furniture range
By Marc Lupo •
Nina Campbell reveals how to use green in interiors – and what to avoid
Green is among the most sought after colors of the season - here are the dos and don'ts of bring the hue into your home
By Megan Slack •
Headboard ideas – 10 statement headboards and interior designers' tips
These headboard ideas will transform your bedroom and create beautiful focal points. Interior design experts share their secrets
By Jennifer Ebert •
Introducing Farrow & Ball x Kelly Wearstler: The California Collection – a palette of 8 fresh, sun-soaked hues
The chic designer collaboration celebrates the beautiful colors of California and will add a vibrant, uplifting element to your home...
By Ruth Doherty •
3 secrets to choosing the right floor colors – experts reveal the key factors to remember
Stuck on choosing the best floor colors? It's more complicated than you think
By Megan Slack •
5 reasons why... the cottagecore bedroom is the spring trend we're predicting will last and last
You'll be inspired to create the ultimate cozy space
By Pippa Blenkinsop •
Interior designer Susie Atkinson reveals the simple secret to bringing bespoke beauty into your home
The devil is in the (personal) details
By Megan Slack •