The Loft

The Home Base blog

Style Secrets

Stylish advice for updating and refreshing your interior spaces


Interior Stylist and photographer Meghan Ploughman shares her thoughts on the best ways to create a new look at home.

Q. What is the value in revamping our homes to suit the seasons? Why do you think people like to do this?

I think it’s always a good thing to change your home surrounds in some way, small or significant, to help keep you refreshed. It doesn’t necessarily have to be with a particular season either, I like to shift furniture around or swap items on display whenever I’m in the mood.

Like a holiday, a change keeps things fresh and interesting, and inspires me to think differently in general. Your home can always change and develop, just as our tastes and natures do.

Q. What sort of talent do you need to give your home a summer spruce-up? Is it possible to style like a professional without the qualifications? If so, how can people prepare for the job?

I certainly believe that all of us have the ability to spruce up our homes to some extent. It’s important to tap into your natural loves and things you are drawn to when considering restyling your home. That’s a start. I find I am often asked “What would you buy for this space…?” and whilst I understand not everyone has had training in styling or interior design, quite often when you ask yourself what styles, colours, shapes and eras you love, that will determine the look of a space and how you tackle it.

Keeping inspiration boards at hand, whether on Pinterest or physical, is a good way to build up a look before any buying takes place. Also spending some time in a wide range of interiors stores (actually any kind of showroom including museums, florists, art galleries, book stores) will give you not only ideas for current trends and the kinds of pieces you might consider buying, it will offer you a learning experience in styling and potentially some tips and tricks from the professionals who have pieced a display together. You may even get some great ideas to restyle what you already have without spending a cent! Ask the storeowners/curators if you can take pictures and make some notes on anything interesting that catches your eye.

When it comes to your actual space, I can clearly think when I see a blank canvas, so where possible move everything out of your space and then you can rebuild it from the floor up.

An important thing to consider first are your boundaries – floors, walls and ceilings. Obviously if you are choosing to tile a floor, install shelving or paint your ceiling black, then this needs to be factored in first. Then you can build upon this. I find that boundaries of a space are often overlooked as a point of sprucing up but can be really effective in changing the look and feel of an area, for minimal cost too.

Q. What trends do you expect to make an impact this spring-summer and how can people bring them into their own places?

I see a lot of the brightly lit, lived-in European styles as a widely popular home inspiration right now. Characterised by almost industrial timber or concrete floors, neutral walls in chalky whites, inks, grey putty or deep blues that aren’t necessarily finished to perfection. Lots of open black window frames and an eternal sense of holidaying, the style can be adapted to cooler months with throws and layers of texture but is also bright enough for fresh and breezy warm summer days.

Those with older homes and decorative ceiling rosettes, cornices and timber window frames are a step ahead with getting this style off the ground and can accomplish this with paint as a start. However, I believe the style is easily adaptable to lots of styles of homes. It’s about using neutral tones without being boring. There is plenty of contrast, layers, textures and of course adding all of your own personal touches for an authentic reflection of you.

Try textures such as wool, cane baskets, feather-filled cushions, woven rugs, leather, linen and cotton. A mix of these helps to build the tapestry of your space with interest and comfort. It’s an unfussy style that lends itself to refined lines and minimal design details.

Q. What is the thing you think most people commonly get wrong when it comes to making their home look awesome?

I think the focus is on buying what’s on trend without first looking at the structure and features of an already existing space, plus spending some time reflecting on your own personal story and allowing that to inform your decisions. You can tell when a space has been designed with the heart rather than the latest interiors magazine in mind.

Q. If you could give people one piece of advice for styling their own home, what would it be?

Make sure at the end of the day you have elements of your personality in the room. Home is exactly that and shouldn’t look like a showroom. A second piece of advice that I picked up from style genius Abigail Ahern – don’t push your furniture flat against the walls. Pull it into the centre and create walkways to meander and add dynamic to a space that looks cosy instead of flat.