How to perfectly decorate any room in your house

Abi Omole, entrepreneur, influencer and interior design expert to boot, tells her five step guide to creating the perfect room.

Coming up with an interior design concept for your home – whether that be for the whole house or your rented bedroom – is all fun and games in the beginning.

Saving dreamy inspiration pictures from Instagram or even making a moodboard of your favourite interior design trends on Pinterest is enough to get you excited for picking out furniture, paint samples and decorative touches, but sometimes it’s not as easy as it looks.

Creating a space which feels unique to you, embodies the mood you want for your home and uses colour and home accessories in a stylish, well put together way is an art form. 

After many failed attempts at gallery walls (again, harder than they seem), the Stylist team knows this all too well, which is why we’ve enlisted the expertise of London-based entrepreneur and influencer Abi Omole, who has won over tens of thousands of followers (us very much included) with her chicer-than-chic interior style.

Omole is an all-round visual genius and one of ‘those people’ who make literally anything look cool. She started her career back in 2008 with a blog on plus-size fashion, going on to launch her own digital and creative agency The Apārtment in 2012.

If starting one business wasn’t quite enough, Omole has continued to expand with arva, a contemporary homeware brand which stocks a mix of minimalist ceramics and kitchenware alongside one-off vintage pieces. Finally, she is also the creative director of studio arva, which is an interior design styling service. Omole’s images are full of light, unique home accessories and use the space with perfect balance – nothing looking too cluttered nor too bare. 

As she has over eight years experience in combining style, emotion and practicality when it comes to living spaces (or, indeed, commercial and photoshoot space, too) we asked Omole for her five-step-plan when faced with a new space to transform it into something special. 

If you’re struggling with decorating your home and interior design doesn’t come naturally to you, Omole’s step-by-step guide is here to help.

  • 1. Work out how you want to use the space

    It sounds obvious but before you go picking out art prints, the first thing you need to do is look at the space you’re decorating and decide how you want to use it and, crucially, how you want to feel when you’re there.

    For example, will this be a space for entertaining? Or, do you want to sit here when you need to feel relaxed? The answers to these questions will determine what colours and furniture you use.

    Omole says: “For me, everything is about feeling. So I ask myself what emotion do I want this space to evoke and more importantly how do I want to feel in the space.”

  • 2. Gather your inspiration and plan out the space

    “Once I’ve established a few key words which relate to the room I’m designing, I create a floor plan usually on InDesign,” says Omole.

    Of course, if this isn’t your day job like it is Omole’s, then you probably won’t have access to a design tool like this but you can still create a rough plan simply using a pencil and paper. 

    Be practical and measure the walls, floor, windows and any furniture you already have. Create a drawn-out floor plan with these measurements in a key at the side so that you can refer back to it when picking furniture and working out where it could go.

    Next, Omole says, it’s time to create a visual mood board. “I use Pinterest and fill my board with usually unrealistic inspiration but it just means my sourcing goals are more ambitious and I end up surprising myself with what I’m able to find,” she explains. 

    Pinterest is a great way to pull together items you love, inspiration images or even just to get an idea of the types of styles and colours you’re drawn to.

  • 3. Make a list of must-have buys

    “I then move on to creating a list of the foundation items the room needs,” Omole says. “These are the ‘anchors’, they’re usually the items that are necessities e.g a bed in a bedroom or a sofa in a living room.”

    At this point, it would be a good idea to suss out how much of your budget you will attribute to which pieces of furniture and refer back to your floor plan to think about how much you can fit into the room and where it will go. This means when you start sourcing items you want to buy, you already have an idea of what they need to look like.

    However, this step isn’t just about necessities. In the same way you might build an outfit around a new pair of shoes, you can do the same with interior design.

    Omole says: “Sometimes the most important pieces in a room may be items that hold the most about of relevance to the feeling I want to evoke, so it could be a piece of art or a blanket that is filled with nostalgia. It’s sometimes a good idea to start with something like this.”

  • 4. Time to source items

    “Next up it’s just a case of sourcing items; I do most of my sourcing online, I mix between high street, vintage and designer (depending on my budget),” says Omole.

    “I don’t usually create a list of soft furnishings eg vases, I most of the time see where inspiration takes me and I’m usually lead to really cool and exciting pieces based on how they make me feel — usually the feeling I want to evoke in the room, comes across pretty instantly when I see the items.”

  • 5. Get stuck in trying things out

    Don’t feel worried if, once your furniture has started to arrive, you’re not feeling 100% confident in your room’s aesthetic as this stage is all about trying things out and knowing that they may need many adjustments before they look just right.

    “Once items start to arrive, it’s a lot of trial and error,” says Omole. 

    “See how well things gel, it’s a process. You might find that two items you intended to be in different parts of the space look magical when paired together. Equally, I believe rooms can always be added to and so over time, I’ll usually swap a chair or a vase out if I come across something that makes me smile.”

Images: Abi Omole / Instagram

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