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5 Common Mistakes in Interior Design to be Avoided: Sophie Ashby

Sophie Ashby, a well-known interior designer, has not changed her ethos in the six years. She launched her own Sister line, cofounded United in Design with Alexandria Dauley, and the Ashby-Casely-Hayfords moved home twice: first to a pimiento-red brewer’s house in Shoreditch refurbished by Jocasta Innes in the ’70s, then to a fixer-upper in north London.

Sophie has reimagined the Casely-Hayford boutique in Marylebone, and Studio Ashby has set up headquarters in The Blewcoat School, a Grade I-listed building in St James’s Park. The rooms are filled with Sister’s Tiger Rugs and Chess Side Chairs, moodboards, and a moveable feast of art by Scottish painter Philip Maltman.

As Studio Ashby celebrates its tenth anniversary, Sophie reflects on a decade of interior design lessons and shares with Vogue the five typical mistakes she encourages her clients to avoid.

  1. It’s understandable to be hesitant to cover up beautiful flooring, but having a wider rug always makes a space feel more welcoming and spacious. In general, I recommend getting a carpet large enough to accommodate all of the furniture in a room rather than something that your coffee table floats on in the middle of a space.2. She states, “I’m always looking to create interesting geometric juxtapositions – putting an angular armchair next to a soft sofa, for example. That not only gives a room a more dynamic feel, but when you incorporate lots of different styles in a home rather than buying into one trend, your décor has more longevity, too.”
  2. Lighting is deceptively difficult to get correctly. I often like ambient lighting over directional lighting. As a general rule, avoid having any visible bulbs, whether you’re gazing down into a table lamp or up into a factory-style pendant.4. For Victorian and Edwardian terraces in London with low ceilings, paint the doors, skirting board, and ceiling all the same color. It will make the environment feel much more open and less interrupted by data.

    5. Whatever your budget, don’t underestimate the importance of art, and don’t be afraid to acquire it. If you can afford to buy original works by well-known artists, that’s fantastic, but it’s not necessary. I recommend starting with exhibitions and purchasing prints of favorite pieces.

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