An interior designer shows us how to modernise a classic home

New meets old.

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. 

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.

modern decorating ideas

Photography: Katharine Pooley

2. CREATE BALANCE

I like to balance an ornate antique piece, like this gilt chinoiserie mirror, with more modern and sculptural upholstered shapes.

modern home decorating ideas

Photography: Katharine Pooley

See How 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.

modern home decorating ideas

Photography: Katharine Pooley

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.

Photography: Katharine Pooley

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.

Katharine Pooley design tips

Photography: Katharine Pooley

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.

Photography: Katharine Pooley

See Interior 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.

Katharine Pooley design tips

Photography: Katharine Pooley

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.

Katharine Pooley design tips

Photography: Katharine Pooley

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.

modern home decorating ideas

Photography: Katharine Pooley

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.

modern home decorating ideas

Photography: Katharine Pooley

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.

Katharine Pooley design tips

Photography: Katharine Pooley

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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.

modern home decorating ideas

Photography: Katharine Pooley

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.

Photography: Katharine Pooley

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.

Katharine Pooley design tips

Photography: Katharine Pooley

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.

Photography: Katharine Pooley

See The 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.

Photography: Katharine Pooley

Katharine Pooley, katharinepooley.com

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