Sara Morrison is the one woman wonder behind Interiors.Family, an independent interior design studio based in Bath. With a passion for family-friendly design, Sara specialises in helping clients create contemporary, stylish, practical homes and businesses which not only look great but also work for everyday life.
We chatted with Sara to learn more about her top tips for family homes and how to think like an interior designer.
Tell us a bit about you, how did you get into interior design?
I was working in photography and business but obsessed with interiors, I thoroughly enjoyed designing my own homes (a series of wrecks) while offering a fresh eye to family and friends.
With the arrival of our son, we relocated to Bath and purchased a long term family home which I completely redesigned and project managed whilst taking a career break looking after my son. Once my son started school I returned to study interior design at the Chelsea College of Art, armed with both practical experience and professional training, I set up interiors.family.
How would you describe your interior design style?
My interior design style is quite contemporary with stylish practical furniture and accessories which add colour, personality and a dose of fun.
I have quite varied tastes so I am able to adapt to any style. I love a good client brief which might start with just a few adjectives. After many years of designing to my own style, I enjoy the challenge of creating a unique design style tailored to my client’s tastes.
How would you describe your style at home?
My personal style at home is quite mixed, I like colour, contrast and patterns with playful details which I ground with classic shaped furniture.
Where do you gather inspiration?
All over really, from magazines, trade shows, galleries, movies or fashion. If you are a visual person, you cannot help but take inspiration from everywhere.
What’s the best interior design lesson you’ve learned?
To plan, plan and plan before you start any work or even think about shopping for a new item of furniture. Even if you don’t have any design skills, measure your space and draw it out on graph paper. Consider every aspect of the layout and decide on a colour scheme before you hit the shops!
Your best styling tips and tricks
How to decorate a room so that it can evolve with different trends
Paint is the cheapest way to drastically change a room if you want to update to reflect current trends. You can redecorate the entire room, just one wall, the ceiling, woodwork or paint an item of furniture. Alternatively incorporate on-trend accessories like cushions, throws, a rug, lighting, picture frames, ornaments which don’t cost the earth.
A few quick tricks I use are…
Ensure you have maximised the storage throughout your home to keep clutter at bay and make it easy to tidy up.
Mix it up. Mix up patterns and textures, old and new, expensive and inexpensive.
Personalise with family photos, framed art projects your children/grandchildren have made.
Things to consider when decorating a new family home
Start with the layout and carefully analyse how you will use each room. Ask yourself what, when, why, who and at what time so you can get the layout right and start thinking about your design scheme.
Make space for the kids but keep it safe. If you have young children ensure furniture placement will work and is free of sharp edges.
Keep it practical and durable without compromising on the look you want. There are so many fantastic new materials available these days which utilise technological advances ensuring furniture and finishes are practical and hard wearing for families.
Make it comfortable. Don’t leave out the accessories and soft furnishings in case the kids or pets trash them, put cushions on the sofa, rugs down on hard flooring, unpack the ornaments but keep them off the floor and use warm colours to make it cosy.
Things to avoid with a young family
I wouldn’t specify marble for a family home, instead, I would use something like Neolith which gives the look but is totally durable. Again if you have your heart set on velvet then ensure its a smart, synthetic or treated velvet which will give you the look while allowing you to wipe off a pot of yoghurt.
What are the big interior trends you’re seeing at the moment?
The 70s revival is influencing designers with curved or arch-shaped furniture, storage and even arched shaped kitchen cupboards appearing. I do love the reemergence of cord and bouclé fabrics, rugs and bobbly objects contrasted with a big resurgence of dark wood furniture. I am also enjoying the move away from dark wall colours back to more subtle calmer tonal schemes where the walls, woodwork and doors are painted in the same colour or harmonising shades.
Are you persuaded by trends? How do they influence you?
No, but they are quite pervasive especially in terms of what’s available so they do filter through into my designs.
What are your favourite OFL pieces?
The Brindle oak console tables perfect proportions would make it an ideal desk in a spare bedroom. I would style it with a contemporary lamp and chair purposefully contrasting with its timeless design and oak top.
The Shay painted bed with its elegant turned legs would be fabulous in any bedroom but styled with soft muted tones for a teenagers room would create a long lasting design.