Interior designer Harriet Anstruther’s 6 styling secrets

The Brit designer creates spaces that are stylish, witty and surprising. Here are her tips on how to get her look in your home

1. Choose furniture well
‘Ask
yourself honestly what you want the piece for. If you’re choosing a
sofa, decide whether it’s for looking at, or if it’s for slouching
around in your jimjams and eating Pot Noodle. I don’t believe in
chucking out the old and making everything new, new, new. It’s best to
mix things that complement each other. Parties are way more interesting
when there’s a mix of ages!’


The striped sofa in Harriet’s living area – probably not for eating Pot Noodle on

2. Develop your own sourcebook
‘I like anywhere from Habitat and eBay to one-offs and expensive gallery pieces. I love the furniture from the Campana Brothers
and antique textile dealer Katharine Pole sells beautiful things – I’m a
big fan of Toile de Jouy and she sells a lot of that. I also like the
work of Arik Levy, who makes lovely polished-steel sculptures, but also
little coffee tables and things. Tom Dixon’s stuff is great – all you
need is a small piece from his Eclectic range and bingo!

Tom Dixon’s Eclectic range of scented candles, £75 for a set of three, Selfridges

3. Strike the right balance of old and new
‘I try to learn the back story of a home before I start work on it. The Survey of London is an amazing online source of information on listed buildings in the capital. There’s so much you can learn from the past and I try to weave that history into the physical space, mixing it with objects that are meaningful to the owner. It’s curating, really.’

Harriet mixes it up in her downstairs cloakroom: her vintage George VI fire bucket stands out against Cole & Son‘s Fornasetti Malachite wallpaper

4. Art is important
‘I’m inspired by art. I like
to visit the Flowers Gallery in Shoreditch and the Chisenhale Gallery in
Dalston – very cutting edge! I also love the student degree shows;
they’re unassuming, but full of energy. For me, it’s never about an
artist being famous or expensive. I’m drawn to a strong silhouette, or
the way a colour reminds me of a smell or sound. Art, as well as design,
has to have a personal resonance.’


Harriet is a fan of Harland Miller’s humorous art

5. Use texture wisely
‘Generally, I like to keep things graphic, then soften the edges with hints of colour and texture. The more you layer something, the more textural it becomes, but it can
still be subtle. For example, right now, I’m looking at a German
designer called Veronika Wildgruber. She’s done these wonderfully simple
school-style chairs, with the wooden seats sculpted to look like
fabric. It gives them another dimension.’


Harriet uses the bold pink velvet upholstery of the sofa to soften the monochrome scheme

Veronika Wildgruber‘s Soft Wood chair

6. Quick fixes make all the difference
‘Paint everything white; change the handles on things; look at the small stuff. Lighting is difficult to do well – it’s not a cheap thing to fix, but it can make a huge difference to how you feel in a space. I think spaces should work as well when empty of furniture, as when embellished and complete, so it’s imperative to get the details right.’


Harriet’s stairwell is lit by an industrial pendant and a Neon Deko Stick light from The Conran Shop

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