Soul Spaces 10 of the best inviting interiors

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The concept of cocooning has never felt more relevant and increasingly we’re turning inwards and bringing added heart into our spaces – making them more comfortable and welcoming than ever before. Each of these spaces, be it a contemporary urban apartment or a comfortable country home shares a tangible sense of contentment and an air of quiet serenity. An appealing mix of tactile surfaces, in sync tones and textured materials is evident in each, while intriguing visual layers and a peppering of personalised touches ensures each has its own distinctive character.

BEDROOM BLISS

This bedroom embraces a host of subdued tones and tactile natural textures – including slubby hemp, sheer linen and the softest cotton. The effect is ascetic in its simplicity but infinitely inviting and restful. There is an undeniable sense of hygge that is so humble, with the few carefully chosen pieces commanding quiet respect.

Design Notes

♦The colour palette in this pared down space is equally spare – while the chunky woven throw adds a delightful layer of texture to the space.

♦ This bedroom is all about minimalism yet is definitely not austere. The whisper of grey in the wall colour and the warmth of the wood adds a rustic and easy-on-the-eye appeal.

In the spirit of embracing Hygge, the sheer linen curtains remain drawn and filter out any harsh sunlight.

NATURE’S CHOICE

Styles, shapes and preferred tones may come and come go but the perennial wonder of wood remains a constant. In this space, reclaimed timbers, upcycled furniture finds and the natural grains of hand-woven chairs are an enticing and intriguing combination.

Design Notes

♦ There’s no doubt about it, wood brings warmth to any décor scenario and in the case of this comfortable renovated Victorian home, this notion certainly rings true.

♦ The original doors and architraves were stripped of centuries of paint and sanded right down to reveal their natural wood-grain and patterning.

♦ The table deliberately embraces a hand-hewn personality – embodying the respect given to craftsmanship and the beauty of natural timber.

Decorating with multiple layers wood requires confidence and balance – here, the use of naïve hand-woven chairs in a lighter tone bring an unrefined artistry to the space – that and the proliferation of succulents uncomplicated glass and terracotta containers.

GREY MATTERS

This infinitely urban space is given a dose of sophistication thanks to the liberal use of grey – from the painted walls and floors to the upholstery fabric. A gallery wall of mismatched framed images, up-cycled vintage furniture finds and of course a hipster-worthy bicycle completes this super cool scene.

Design Notes

  • There’s no doubt that this room painted in white would look completely different! Here the mid grey painted wall creates a sense of drama without being overwhelming.
  • In this space, the different tones of grey come together to create an inviting and cocoon-like effect. The floor’s pale grey is ideal – ensuring the contrast in tones isn’t too stark.
  • The L-shaped sofa is the perfect solution for a small space, providing plenty of seating while anchoring the all-grey interior.
  • A mismatched gallery of botanical and photographic images is a striking focal point – and a creative way to dress a wall in affordable art prints.
  • Lean-lined restored vintage furniture suits the millennial brief perfectly. There’s no doubt that grey is the new neutral for interiors. It’s a shade that plays beautifully with so many colours and so many décor styles too, be they contemporary or vintage-inspired. Since grey is an aggregated colour, it picks up on many other tones – a grey with a yellow-green undertone will look totally different to one with purplish blue undertones.

ROUGH LUXE LOVE

Textures do all the talking in this eye-catching kitchen, where smooth metro tiles are in stark contrast to the exposed brick walls and the painted brick of the central island. Industrial lights, reclaimed essentials (like the exposed copper pipes) and industrial shelving units are the final touch in the contemporary and utilitarian-chic picture.

Design Notes

  • Sleek black details seen in the stripe of black tiles and shelving brackets take the aesthetics up a notch in this kitchen.
  • The rawness of this space is tempered by the introduction of warmer tones thanks to the duo of wooden stools and the hand-woven rug
  • The unrefined appearance and irregularity of the raw bricks is exactly what gives this renovated period home its rich character and aesthetic appeal.
  • The kitchen island is a new addition to this space – the continued visual thread lies in the use of brickwork in its construction. A coat of dark grey makes it a thoroughly modern addition.
  • With the ‘rough luxe’ look, the temptation to stay in the realm of raw details can make a space one dimensional. Here, the polished cement countertop brings sophistication to the scenario. Exposed brickwork works really well in older homes, where the bricks used were often smaller. A coat of matt varnish applied by a qualified contractor can help contain dust fallout.

STONE WORKS

Design Notes

Perfect in its imperfection, polished cement is a texture that perfectly suits spaces that embrace modernism and minimalism. This spacious bathroom is awash with natural grey tones – from the floors and countertops to the smart charcoal tiles used as definition.

Design Notes

  • High shine cement gives this bathroom a subtle sophistication, while the integrated countertops add a highly practical edge.
  • Hand-woven fabrics collected from around the world bring pops of colour to the space and break up the mostly monochromatic colour scheme.
  • The quartz bath is a luxe touch – and together with the built in polished cement bench forms a key focal point in this modern oasis of calm. By placing the bath and a concrete bench away from the wall and on a plinth, the ritual of bath time is elevated into a luxurious event.

ALL WHITE NOW

Design Notes

An all-white colour palette brings a timeless sense of serenity to any space – and in this case, where the textures are soft, worn cotton and sheer linen, the effect is instantly soothing and settling, the perfect combination for a quiet reading room. 

Natural fibres in the rugs underfoot, on the sofa cushions and the soft woven blanket break up the all-white scene and bring tactile pleasure to this living room scene.

  • Here, the crisp white tone brings a fresh and uncomplicated flavour to the interior. For a sun-splashed space, a cooler white works best while a warmer shade is best for rooms that don’t see as much light.

  • A splash of colour (here, in the form of a Heath Nash wirework) breaks up the blank canvas and brings in a quirky focal point to the space.

  • Here, the pared down palette is reflected in a trio of stools painted white but their interesting shapes ensure the monochrome scene is anything but monotonous. Before committing to a color of paint or fabric in white, you must be certain that they marry well with space. Exposed from the front to sunlight, white fabrics can take on a yellow tone and paints that are too white can take on a blue tint.

CREATIVE SPACE

Some say creativity is what will heal the world – which means carving out a space for inspiration is going to become more and more important in times to come. Whether it a corner of a room, a dedicated studio space with a door, a garden shed or a journal used only by you, let flexing your creative muscles be a priority.

Design Notes

  • Creativity can sometimes veer into chaos and disarray – the toned down palette of white and wood in this comfortable space creates a sense of aesthetic order.

  • The trolley of art supplies is a practical essential but can be wheeled out of the way if need be.

  • The screed cement floor is an unpretentious and practical touch.

    Integrated seating and under counter shelving ensures clutter can be kept under control while the wood-burning oven makes this space a comfortable and cosy space to retreat to.

COLLECTABLES CONVERSATION

The owner of this urban loft is a seasoned traveller with a keen eye for unusual finds. Her penchant for displaying her favourite treasures is revealed on her laden picture shelves.

Design Notes

    • Low slung furniture ensure this living room does not become too visually cluttered – the picture walls still remain a key focal point.

    • By not mounting framed images onto the walls and using picture shelves instead, the owner can indulge in her love of changing displays – it is also means more images can be showcased since they are stacked and smaller quirky ephemera are elevated into items of artistic value.

    • Exposed conduits, the polished concrete floor and steel industrial details enhance the sense of this space being an inner city refuge.

      The wooden plantation style shutters and the dappled light that filters into the space tone down the monochromatic palette and bring warmth to the visual mix.

LET OUTSIDE IN

This stylised outdoor pool pavilion communes with nature in a dramatic and arresting fashion. An oversized picture window lets in the lush garden views while the scandi-chic seats encourage you to pause and take respite.

Design Notes

  • More and more, we’re looking for moments of pause and quiet contemplation in our home environments. This perfectly conceived pavilion is constructed entirely of wood and offers just that – a space to reflect, take a breath and marvel at the beauty of nature.

  • Natural unfinished timber and hand-hewn textures extend the notion of communing with nature – in infinite style.

  • The garden design here is as important as the interior design – layers of textured plants and soothing hues of green create a beautifully framed images looking from indoors out.

    For some communing with nature is their church – and this pavilion is a chapel of sorts. The quirky hand-painted sideboard prevents it from becoming too worthy a space and gives it a sense of purpose – after all you’ll need somewhere to put your cup of coffee when you sidle here for some morning yoga!

GREEN & PLEASANT

Not since the Seventies have houseplants been so big! And why not? Studies show caring for plants can be as rewarding as loving a pet – they’re relatively easy to maintain, act as living décor and purify the air that surrounds us.

Design Notes

  • This alfresco bedroom is all about bringing the outside in! A flowering and well-pruned tree is a sculptural anchor in this eclectic space while the suspended swinging bench brings a touch of outdoor whimsy undercover.

  • A previously unloved courtyard is transformed into a hardworking kitchen garden and inside-outside garden installation. Open to the elements, it receives its due of sunlight and rain but is easily accessible as a delightful container and vertical garden that delivers.

    Urban gardening may be one of the biggest worldwide trends there is – and no wonder. Growing plants, edible or otherwise can be infinitely gratifying and they give you a chance to connect with nature no matter how big or small your space.

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