Design Dilemma: how to add personality to a bland apartment
Keep colours to a minimum in the living space and dial up cosiness in the bedroom
The living room of an apartment at Orchard Hall, Hamilton Park, Castleknock decorated by Nicola Pollard
The bedroom of an apartment at Orchard Hall, Hamilton Park, Castleknock decorated by Nicola Pollard
Nicola Pollard: ‘The first rule is to keep the perimeters plain and light’
When decorating a small apartment homeowners often face the predicament of how to inject style and personality into the compact space without making it looked cluttered and cramped. Interior designer Nicola Pollard sticks to a tested formula that she’s used both in her own apartment in Howth and in the countless properties she’s been commissioned to decorate over the past decade.
“The first rule is to keep the perimeters plain and light. Off-white walls and white flooring (good laminate planks are fine) are a safe, and on-trend bet. I always advise keeping the curtains plain too and hanging them on a wave pleat track. It uses less fabric and allows the curtains to fold neatly back on themselves, so they don’t take up too much space.
“Another trick of the trade is to place the dining table at the end of the room nearest the largest window. This draws the eye down to the window and makes for a much less cluttered layout than having it up near the kitchenette. I nearly always choose glass tables (coffee, side and dining tables) to bounce light around and if possible I choose circular shapes to break up all the corners in the room.”
If space allows it, Pollard suggests adding a neat breakfast bar, which provides extra seating but also zones off the kitchen area too. “I always like to have a dark piece of key furniture to anchor the room. Sometimes that may be the couch but in the Hamilton Park apartments (pictured), I also went for a long black sideboard (which provides great storage too) and echoed the black in the photo frames and a few accessories around the apartment.” Only at the endpoint does Nicola add in playful pops of colour and texture.
“For this apartment, I chose a fun aviary-style fabric from Osborne & Little for the cushions and then picked up on the green in the print in the two armchairs. The green hues give a great sense of energy to the room but without overpowering it.”
The same formula is followed throughout the apartment; however Pollard likes to add more textures in the bedrooms to dial up the cosiness. “I stick with the same colour pallet as the living space but may use a velvety or textured wallpaper and add plush bedspreads and headboards in my accent colours to give a decadent finish.”