Minimal change for maximum interiors impact

Bring the outside in

To change or not to change?

We’re all spending a lot of time looking at our four walls and if you’re not in the position to do a large scale renovation project, there are lots of smaller changes you can make instead. I’ve rounded up our top 5 interiors edits, things you can do that involve minimal effort for maximum impact.


Find your feature

Feature Piece

Rooms with too much going on are distracting and confusing. Unless you’re curating a collection of beautiful items, I recommend you start with one feature piece. This could be an amazing pendant light fitting, a beautifully upholstered footstool, a stand out cushion, a piece of artwork, a stunning rug or an ornate cabinet. A piece that brings you joy and something that will draw the eye when entering the room. Keep in mind scale and proportion when you’re selecting.  You’re looking for the right impact, to fit the size of your room.

When you’ve chosen your feature piece, use it as your heart of the room and move through the rest of the decor with that in mind. Other items and furnishings should tie in, whether through colour or origin, theme or style.


Quick and effective

Painting is THE most immediate way of refreshing a space with minimal effort and cost.  Changing your paint colour can be something you do just as a refresh, or as a seasonal thing since colour trends come and go so quickly. I always keep a list of colours I’m dying to use on my next projects. You might find you’ve pinned some shades you like or have saved a few photos on Instagram. Keep a note of these. Hang onto images that you love and use them as a starting point when you’re looking to transform a space.

I know the colours I love and how to use them to switch a room from cool and fresh to cosy, uplifting, calming, or statement. Setting Plaster from Farrow & Ball has long topped my list, and is closely followed by Card Room Green. Then there’s Zoffany’s classics Harbour Grey or Half Paris Grey which are both great neutrals. Designers Guild have launched a new collection called ‘Earth Tones’ which is made  up of 28 gorgeous shades. I particularly love Pink Salt and Petra Stone  as well as Shore Lichen which is a delicious yellow ochre.

Try and get your hands on a sample pot of whichever shade you like and paint a large enough area so that you can be confident of the impact it will make and can get a good idea of whether it will work in the space.

New painting tricks include introducing a gloss ceiling to help bounce the light up into the room, or using gloss walls or gloss fitted furniture to create great reflective colour impact. Another quick change would be to paper the ceiling for a rich, moody effect using a mirrored metallic or gold leaf paper. I’d chose something from Philip Jeffrie’s range of oxidised papers. Alternatively you could include a feature wood effect by using wall paper like Arte’s Timber wallpaper collection



Think greenery

Bringing a little nature into your interiors is a great way to lift your interiors and your spirits. At a minimum, greenery embraces nature and brings a freshness and a vivacity to any room. Shades of green are also considered as calming colours and can help balance out many other tones. And super important these days, greenery is reported to help reduce anxiety and stress.  What’s not to love?

You’ll find that many room interiors already have a nod to nature in them already so why not bring it into the room more literally? The leaf shapes bring structure and colour in an arty structured way and the texture of plans can help spaces come to life. Anything from an olive tree, like ours in our studio, to a fiddle leaf fig plant with its bold, flat leaves.  Consider the abstract shape of the plant and how this can add structure or softness to the space – almost like a sculpture would do.

Perhaps you don’t consider yourself green fingered so having real plants in the house has never been an option? In that case, take a look at some of the excellent replica plans currently on the market. Start with budget options at Ikea who stock an incredible range, or source through smaller independents who specialise in super convincing interior greenery. No risk of over watering and all the beauty of bringing the outside inside.

And if plants whether real or replica, are not your thing you could consider bringing nature in through prints or photographs of landscapes and botanicals.  It has a very calming effect.


Level up

You might not be able to invest in new lighting but you can still level up your lights by picking some impressive shades and these don’t need to be expensive. Thompson Clarke are huge fans of Pooky Lighting who, using block prints and silk ikat fabrics make the most delicious shades that effortlessly make the most boring lamp look fabulous.

If you can push the budget a little more, Samarkand Design create one off sari silk shades that are equally as pretty and give all the wow-factor you need. Fermoie use their primary coloured block print fabrics into simple pleated shades that look stunning against simple white based lamps. Small stick lamps and marbleised paper lamp shades are also diving.

My top tip is to make sure you get the shade size correct. If you’re unsure, ask the retailer for advice as they will inevitable have a similar sized lamp base to yours to compare. Also confirm the light fitting size and if it needs a shade cradle. Consider how much light will get through the shade – the darker the shade colour, the less light will penetrate through which might not work if you need the lamp for reading or working beside.

Sustainable times

Shopping vintage, browsing antique and collectable stores and supporting the ‘make and mend’ movement is a very positive thing. Looking around my own home, many of the items I live and use every day are antiques or vintage. They all come with their own stories and characters and live happily alongside the other every day items in my home.

Have a budget in mind and spend a weekend browsing through antique shops in your local area. Talk to dealers if you’re looking for something in particular. There are some great collective websites that list a range of reputable dealers through which you can search for an item across the full collection. I like ‘The Decorative Collective’.

Don’t compromise on quality if you want your find to last another generation, spend as much as you can afford on the best example you can find. Second hand furniture is often less expensive than brand new pieces so when you’re looking to make a big impact on a small budget, this is the perfect way to start.

Provenance can be important when parting with your money – knowing who owned it before you and tracing back to ensure its history is accurate and can be verified. Don’t forget to arrange the collection as there will most likely be an additional fee if it needs to be shipped to you.

Whether you’re thinking of a mid century coffee table, a french provencal dresser, Chinese benches and cabinets, British G Plan desks, they all work with a modern interior so don’t be afraid to mix and match.

The vintage personality of a piece is always a talking point and helps to give the room character.

Adams host their country house sale every October which is full of fabulous antiques, mostly on a grand scale but there are always bargains to be found. We regularly search for highly decorative pieces so let us know if you’re on the hunt for something in particular and we can try and help you source it.

Sara Thompson