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Interior design: creating standout interiors

Three interior designers explain the latest inspirations in designing the modern home

Portraits of Andrew Laughland and Russel Jones and Emma Sims-Hilditch


Specialising in contemporary ski chalets are Andrew Laughland and Russell Jones, Director and Design Director, Laughland Jones. Emma Sims-Hilditch has designed many country house interiors and is Creative Director, Sims Hilditch


What are the key trends and inspirations in interior design right now?

Andrew Laughland  What we want, and what our clients usually want, is to steer clear of trends altogether. You shouldn’t be able to walk into a room and precisely date it. Though Russell might disagree with me!

Russell Jones  No, I think that’s right. But, with chalets architecturally, there is an increasing desire for more contemporary materials and a move away from the traditional Alpine look. Less wood, and more bare concrete in place of stone.

Emma Sims-Hilditch  We, too, are not a trend-led practice. We advise clients to keep bold pattern and colour to items that can be changed easily. But I am very happy that pattern and colour are becoming more prevalent. I’ve recently found some great colours in the Farrow & Ball paint archive, while Lewis & Wood are masters of  large-scale wallpaper designs.


How do you combine contemporary aesthetics with a legacy home or setting?

AL  With chalets, you have to have a nod – a bow, even – to where you are. Wood and stone are always going to be important, but in terms of everything else, we keep things interesting with objets from around the world and bespoke pieces made by artisans.

RJ  The right lighting is also important. Twenty years ago, you might see a single pendant light in a room, but contemporary design calls for far more intricate LED lighting.

ES-H  I agree, lighting is of the utmost importance. We assess the use of picture lights, wall lights, chandeliers and pendants before considering the interior decoration. Home automation should also be carefully considered at the early stages, so the most modern features can be concealed. But I don’t believe that an interior has to stay rigidly true to a building’s period. The design is complementary.


What sets a great interior apart from a good one?

ES-H  Scale, proportion, contrast… Every room needs drama – a standout piece of furniture, a colour wall or a striking artwork. Interiors should have a point of view and reflect their owners’ personalities.

AL  Fun and happiness – at every stage of the process. From concept to delivery, the client is king, and we want the hairs to stand up on the back of their neck whenever they step inside their property.

RJ  Most of all, the finished interior shouldn’t look ‘designed’.

bold cushions

The bold colour trend

A trend towards more colour and pattern is something the Savills Interior Services team has seen in recent months. “There is a definite movement back to bolder, more vibrant decorative styles,” says Charlotte Hodges-Peck, Senior Interior Consultant. “Homeowners are now inviting in more pattern, textures, pops of colour and statement pieces.”

The Interior Services team works with clients to help present properties at their best, managing all aspects of interior and exterior design, ranging from a decorative refresh to a full-scale refurbishment.

“Those looking to sell or rent their properties might think that these bold colours will deter buyers, but this isn’t necessarily the case,” says Hodges-Peck. “If you don’t want to take the plunge by putting colour on the walls, it can be introduced through artwork, furniture and accessories.

“These simple additions can make all the difference, without being overbearing and off-putting to potential buyers or tenants.”

For more information about the Savills Interior Services team, contact Charlotte Hodges-Peck on +44 (0)20 8018 7039.


Three homes with standout interiors

Television Centre, London   The iconic former home of the BBC has been brought back to life as an exclusive development of apartments.


Ellmau, Tyrol, Austria   This beautiful penthouse has stunning views of the entire Wilder Kaiser range, the ski slopes and the town.


Country house dinning room

Sturminster Newton, Dorset   This Grade II listed country house has been immaculately restored and is in an idyllic setting by the River Stour.