WHEN YOU have a minute, take a scroll through Phoebe Nicol’s Instagram account. The interior architect’s feed is a perfectly curated, deliciously more-ish collection of her design and interior work in shades of cream and gold with textured, luxurious finishes. It’s no wonder that many of the world’s most stylish women look to her for inspiration, her spaces look refined yet warm, modern yet lived in. Most of all, they look like the types of homes you want to live your most beautiful life in.

Interior design and decoration is harder than many think. What makes Nicol a master is how easy she makes it look. There’s never too much furniture, but each room feels rich and purposeful. She credits this to layers of natural texture, lighting, and proportion. We credit it to her impeccable taste.

Luckily for us, Nicol agreed to share some of her tips to create a lovely space. 


1. Avoid down lighting

Never underestimate the power of good lighting, especially in a home.

“Lighting is extremely important to architecture and interiors, because it has the ability to change one’s perceptions of space,” says Nicol.

“I like to incorporate interesting decorative lighting into my designs. I ensure that every corner is lit well. A beautiful wall light can really enhance your interior. It sparks visual interest as well as creating mood and atmosphere when in use. Also, always use warm light, as it gives the room a more inviting glow. I love to mix lighting styles between rooms to give each room its own personality.”

2. Don’t be influenced by trends

The beauty of Nicol’s work — and an element that runs through most of the world’s chicest homes — is an ability to age well. The spaces will be just as tasteful in 10 years as they are today.

“My intention is to create an interior of no particular time,” Nicol says. “I would hate for someone to look back on a space and know when it was designed. I also strongly encourage my clients to incorporate some element of classism into their design. Blending a mix of contemporary design with classical detailing is how I form and curate a timeless interior.”


3. Be practical about each room

Before beginning your design or decorating journey, ask yourself “what’s the purpose and functionality of the space?” advises Nicol.

If you primarily use your lounge room to watch TV, for example, then you’re likely going to design the room around a TV set. For someone who doesn’t have a TV, that room configuration will look much different. 

4. Focus on the details

Oftentimes it’s a well placed piece of art, lamp, or decorative object that adds a special tough to a room, and mixing in different textures and materials is key.

“I like to combine clean lines with luxurious materials such as natural stones, raw linen and lustrous silk fringing,” says Nicol. “A cozy interior evokes layers and layers of texture. When considering furniture and decorative items, I like strong pieces with both character and restraint.”


5. Take your time

A beautiful room isn’t going to happen overnight.

“We live in such an instant world,” says Nicol. “We don’t need to look far to see proof of the instant culture we’re now living in. Often people expect the result of an interior to be immediate. But to create a beautifully layered interior takes time.”

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