Ask our experts: Mhairi's interior design tips

20 Apr 2021

With the store being closed for the last few months, the Andersons team have been incredibly excited to get their creative hats back on and use their knowledge and experience to help you create a beautiful home.

As many of us prepare our homes for the return of hosting guests and entertaining this summer, we caught up with one of our expert interior designers, Mhairi Buchanan, to answer some burning questions on styling your interiors…



Are there any rules on how to mix patterns for your interiors?

“Mixing patterns is a great way to incorporate depth and interest to a room. A good tip to remember is to work in threes:

  • Start with a pattern you love, look at the tones of colour within this pattern, for example are they earth tones, warm and dusty, or Bauhaus bold primary colours?
  • Look for a second pattern with similar tones on a different scale to the first choice
  • Then try adding a pattern with a different structure to the others. For example, a geometric to offset the delicacy of the floral. Or a paisley to contradict the linear form of a check.

“After you’ve found three prints that work really well together, don’t be afraid to add in some more following the same 3 steps. Maybe find a similar print in a different key colour, or perhaps find some textures to add. Playing with different textures can add a lot of warmth to a space as well.”


What are your tips for starting to plan out decor for a new build home?

“A new build gives you a clean, fresh slate, which is super exciting to decorate! I would recommend taking a look at some sources online such as Instagram and Pinterest and start saving interior photos that you like to a board.

“Pretty soon you will see a trend or style you are most drawn to, which will help you narrow down your options. From there, selecting furniture and interior fixings will be much easier and you can begin narrowing down a colour palette to work from. I would suggest following a similar palette throughout the house, this keeps the space open and the design cohesive.”



What is your favourite wallpaper for a contemporary living room?

“I love the Pinstripe Hype wallpaper by Tektura - they are one of our favourites at the moment for sure. A textured paper is super contemporary and allows you to easily paper all walls in one room without the pattern being overbearing. It adds a bit of texture and interest to the space but is still pretty subtle which is very chic and modern.

“We have so many wallpaper samples to browse in store, and our team of designers are happy to help you find the perfect style for your home before ordering your chosen paper over the phone for you.”


How would you design a bay window seat for a child's bedroom?

“If you are starting from scratch, I would consider asking your joiner to allow for some flip top storage underneath the seat to allow extra space for toys - that way you have a beautiful feature and a clever storage solution all in one!

“From there, a cushion top can be made to measure by our team in-store to create a cosy space and bring a playful print to the room. As all bay windows are slightly different, a template would need to be made and then cushion foam upholstered in the fabric of your choice.”



Can a tan leather sofa or chair work with grey tones?

“Yes it can! The main thing you’ll need to look out for is the tone of grey you are working with. Collect some colour or fabric samples and hold up different options to the leather you are trying to match to see what suits best.

Usually with a tan, I would select either a warm grey or a cold grey and run with it. If you go for a warmer grey, try adding some deep beige and cream to the palette. If you go with the alternative cold grey, try adding some charcoals for depth and see which you prefer.”


How can two partners agree on one interior style?

“It can be difficult when two people are decorating their home, as everyone has their own tastes and preferences! If one of you likes neutrals and the other wants to bring some more colour to the space, for example, I would suggest starting small. Perhaps you could add some colour or pattern with accessories and soft furnishings - even just a little trim on a cushion - this will make it much easier to come to a compromise and find your own interior style together.

“Plants also work a dream for adding colour to a home. Some larger potted floor plants in textured pots could bring some added interest and colour to a room without having to completely redecorate the space when your partner disagrees with your choice!”


Where is the best place to hang photos above rectangular panelling?

“Rectangular panelling will be different in every home. If the panelling comes up quite high or fills a whole wall, placing images in each of the panels one above the other will bring the eye up and elongate the room - this is a great idea for a room with tall ceilings.

“Another option is to mount some pictures in a regimented line above the panelling - 3 usually works quite well for creating this look. Remember to place each picture the same distance apart and leave more space above the picture than below - if you place them too high above the panelling, they can look like they are floating and it completely separates these two features.

“Creating a shelf on top of the panelling and organising pieces across it is another great way to incorporate framed pictures with wall panelling. Use different heights and scales along the shelf to avoid it looking too ‘put together’ and regimented.”



Is there a happy medium between incorporating green with neutrals in a lounge?

“Green is such a calming colour - which is great for living spaces! I would go for a lighter green on all walls and then keep your furnishings more neutral. You can add textures in a different fabric with some cushions or a rug.

“If you still feel like you need a little more green, add some accessories in a darker shade of green than the walls. Little Greene Paint Company has a brilliant collection of greens in one of their colour cards, which we have in store.

“Another tip I would share is to get a few paint samples, apply to A3 sheets of paper and leave them on the wall for a few days. During this time you will find yourself being drawn to the best shade for you and the room. We can order samples to be delivered directly to your home, or you can visit us in-store and chat to our designers to help you find the best choice.”


What are your tips on how to style a wood table with a wooden floor?

“If your chosen table and floor woods are different, I would just go with it and embrace the contrast! This is a great way to create interest in the space - for example, rustic flooring with a smooth wooden table finish looks great.

“If the woods are similar tones, the table can stand directly on the wooden floors to create a sense of harmony between the two, which will give those lovely Scandinavian vibes if you use lighter tones.

“Alternatively, a rug under a dining table can look really lovely if the woods are quite different. I would suggest going for a flat weave or something with a low pile - this can bring warmth to the space.”


What are your ideas for filling an empty corner of the living room that isn’t big enough for a chair?

“I would suggest something tall to fill a corner - floor lamps work really well if it’s a small space and will bring a bit of light to a dark corner. Oversized vases with plants or a few stems is another option to fill the space, or even a tall console table to display some of your favourite accessories and ornaments.”


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