An interior designer shows us how to modernise a classic home
New meets old.
- (opens in new tab)
- (opens in new tab)
- (opens in new tab)
- Sign up to our newsletter Newsletter
Learn how to combine a mixture of styles for a fresh and contemporary look in a classical property with these modern home decorating ideas.
’Successful design, as with life, is a delicate balance and one we seek to perfect daily,’ says interior designer Katharine Pooley (opens in new tab).
1. MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION
First impressions are everything. Update a classic stucco facade with a high gloss black front door and contemporary plants.
2. CREATE BALANCE
I like to balance an ornate antique piece, like this gilt chinoiserie mirror, with more modern and sculptural upholstered shapes.
SeeHow to create your own home gym, according to interior designer Katharine Pooley
3. WORK IN A WINDOW TREATMENT
Silk wool drapes beautiful for window treatments, so avoid swagging and pelmets for a sleek contemporary feel.
4. DON’T FORGO FLOWERS
Bright white flowers and soft foliage, like this cow parsley and cherry blossom, life and freshen a more traditional interior.
5. IT’S ALL IN THE DETAIL
Consider cladding a chimney breast with mirror or adding a sculptural chandelier to give a traditional dining room an elegant yet contemporary feel.
6. LIGHTING MATTERS
Glamorous lighting, like these crystal and nickel pendant, instantly update a kitchen. I chose Farrow & Ball Skimming Stone for the cabinetry to create an airy and serene feel.
SeeInterior designers share their top tips for 2020
7. OPTIMISE A WONDER VIEW
When dressing windows that have a view to your garden, consider forgoing any treatments to achieve a sleek and architectural look.
8. FACTOR IN A FOCAL POINT
One beautiful item will lift an entire room. These hand-crafted, twisted glass lamps draw the eye and elevate the entire space.
9. ROSES ARE FOREVER
White roses are such a pretty addition to a bedside table. I like to keep the stems short for a contemporary look.
10. MAKE IT SYMMETRICAL
Symmetry and flow is everything. Adapt the layout so that spaces feel more generous and all door openings sit centrally to each other.
11. MODERNISE WITH MARBLE
For a timeless and contemporary feel, use a light veined marble such as statuary Oro. Remember to choose the best quality stone to ensure the highest level of finish.
See2020's most popular interiors on Homes & Gardens' Instagram
12. BE SYMPATHETIC TO THE HISTORY
‘Modern’ should not mean devoid of detail. Add a little luxury with a chevron stone tile to speak to the buildings history.
13. NEVER SKIMP ON COMFORT
Family rooms, like this basement snug, have to be the perfect balance of comfort and elegance. Deep, cosy sofas are a must.
14. LIGHTEN UP
Don’t let small secondary spaces become dark and cluttered – choose only one key feature like a beautiful fabric or wallpaper and pare everything else right back.
15. HONOUR THE BUILDING’S HERITAGE
Embrace the fabric of the building. Sandstone paving to the back garden mirrors the warmth of the property’s brick facade.
SeeThe interior design mistakes everyone is making – and 5 ways to avoid them
16. CHOOSE A CONTEMPORARY COLOUR PALETTE
Keep the garden rooms chic and minimal with classic detailing in shades of ivory, light grey and nickel.
Katharine Pooley, katharinepooley.com (opens in new tab)
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.
Pieris care and growing guide: expert tips on how to grow a dazzling andromeda bush
Find out how to grow pieris, and add lively interest to pots and borders with this vibrant flowering evergreen shrub
By Graham Rice • Published
How to wash new towels – an expert guide to breaking in bath towels in 5 simple steps
Make sure your brand-new bath towels stay vibrant and soft by following this expert guide on how to wash new towels properly
By Louise Oliphant • Published