Designer Tips

8 Game-Changing Ideas, Courtesy of a Design Superstar

8 Game-Changing Ideas, Courtesy of a Design Superstar
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The new book, Nicky Haslam: A Designer’s Life, by renowned English interior decorator Nicky Haslam, a go-to for rock stars and royalty alike, has become the latest must-have design book. One pass through its pages and it’s easy to see why. The tome chronicles the life and times of the famous bon vivant, including more than 30 of his international projects, each one rich with ideas worth stealing.

While the book is jam-packed with design guidance and inspiration galore, we’re breaking down the eight most game-changing lessons we learned that have us looking at our rooms in a whole new way.

Haslam tempered the lilac scheme in this sitting room with “various accent colors and patterns [to] prevent it from looking overly sentimental.”

Haslam tempered the lilac scheme in this sitting room with “various accent colors and patterns [to] prevent it from looking overly sentimental.”

#1: Reconsider Mauve

“People used to shudder at the mention of lilac as a decorative color, even more if one said ‘mauve,’” says Haslam. “But I find it magical.”  Generally he prefers his lilacs strong. “Quite often I use it as a main color, but a mere strip of it can spark up a low-key scheme.” You may even find your space feeling more roomy after adding a bit of this hue.  “Like shadows, mauves gently recede into the background and give the impression of space in any room.”

In the designer’s country dining room, a playful “wallpaper” painted by artist Paul Czainski features birds, bees, and all manner of fruit and foliage.

In the designer’s country dining room, a playful “wallpaper” painted by artist Paul Czainski features birds, bees, and all manner of fruit and foliage.

#2: Go Faux

Haslam is a huge fan of trompe l’oeil treatments of all kinds. “It’s also an essential tool in a designer’s box of tricks,” he says. The pages of his book are a sumptuous tour of faux marbling, playful paneling applied with paint, and other tricks of the eye that are so charming you’ll be tempted to break out a paintbrush.


#3: Style Your Surfaces

“Flat surfaces, especially console tables, look great bare but better with things on and under them—quite apart from providing essential storage opportunities,” says Haslam. Luckily his book is brimming with inspiring ways to outfit your tabletops. “Objects, books, and lamps anchor the surfaces to the walls, and anything stashed underneath fills the void. A well-stocked drinks tray springs to mind, but a group of objects, whether chosen for color, sentiment, or historical associations, works well, as it probably won’t be moved too often.”

Steal the Look

Two sets of armchairs, made to look identical with a pale patterned fabric and a fluffy rug, create a space that’s grand but cozy.

Two sets of armchairs, made to look identical with a pale patterned fabric and a fluffy rug, create a space that’s grand but cozy.

#4: Consider Your Chairs

With thousands of seating choices under his belt, Haslam has developed a firm point of view as to which styles are worth considering. “Chairs can be deep and comfortable or more structured, to make you sit up and think. But, as our most essential bit of furniture, they should always look seductive,” states the designer. A shapely form is key, and among his favorite, and most often used, styles is a skirted slipper chair that’s easily movable between a perch in a hallway to a spot at the dinner table.

Steal the Look

Chairs can be deep and comfortable or more structured, to make you sit up and think. But, as our most essential bit of furniture, they should always look seductive.

— Nicky Haslam
The walls of this insane dressing room are covered in some 200 yards of fringe. All that texture is offset by a variety of sleek mirrored surfaces.

The walls of this insane dressing room are covered in some 200 yards of fringe. All that texture is offset by a variety of sleek mirrored surfaces.

#5: Choose Reflective Surfaces

By his own admission, Haslam’s designs have occasionally “outblinged bling,” but he’s currently less interested in glitz and more intrigued by the range of subtle, reflective surfaces available to give rooms that extra bit of glow. For Haslam, these pieces give rooms “a luminosity even on the gloomiest days, and the scintillating glow of reflected lamplight exhilarates the soul as one reaches for the first martini of the evening.” Yes, please.


#6: Go Big

For small spaces, Haslam takes a counterintuitive approach. “Contrary to accepted theory, I find that big furniture will make even a small room appear larger. The same goes for ceiling lights. Let’s ban the dreaded twee chandelier and have instead the most massive one possible, or a lantern.” As for what to mix with that statement piece? “It’s a good idea to have a (movable) piece of furniture under it or it’ll look a bit threatening.”

In Haslam’s sitting room in his country home, his beloved sofas take center stage.

In Haslam’s sitting room in his country home, his beloved sofas take center stage.

#7: Find a Forever Sofa

“When it comes to sofas, comfort is paramount,” says Haslam. A good choice can last a lifetime, as proven by the matching set of sofas in the designer’s country home that he’s had for some 40 years. Haslam once again favors seating with an interesting, “undulating silhouette” over simpler sofa styles. “Elegant antique French furniture mixes well with designs from other eras, and its design and craftsmanship is hard to beat.”

Steal the Look

Contrary to accepted theory, I find that big furniture will make even a small room appear larger.

— Nicky Haslam
In this drawing room, floral curtains sit comfortably among a collection of artwork by 20th-century masters.

In this drawing room, floral curtains sit comfortably among a collection of artwork by 20th-century masters.

#8: Help Rooms Bloom

“Some places cry out to be given the flower-bower treatment, while others say, ‘Get outta here,’” says Haslam. “For the former, I like to go the whole hog, preferably using the same design on everything, uniting walls, drapes, and furniture, and usually adding a corresponding patterned carpet.” Looking for something a bit more subtle? “Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to use the wrong side of the fabric, particularly on walls, as this creates an echo effect of the pattern in the rest of the room, which is less frightening to the faint-hearted.”

Related: 6 Lessons on Living the Good Life From Amanda Brooks >

Join the Discussion

Join the Discussion

190 Responses to “8 Game-Changing Ideas, Courtesy of a Design Superstar”

  1. jo pearson says:

    Never Boring. Comfort is paramount. love Nicky’s treatment of florals with kick up the backside Art. Also notice how he always includes somewhere to place ones drink & place books,
    otherwise what’s the point? Love his use of Lilac & his non-slavish approach. All hail Nicky Haslam!

  2. Linda Harrell Walmsley says:

    at the risk of sounding negative, I don’t care for most everything in his designs. Too busy and cluttered.

    • Jacqueline says:

      To each their own I guess. I love EVERTYTHING in this room….I find it cozy and warm, not busy and cluttered…I think is is gorgeous…but whoa that painting has to GO!!!~!!~

      • Joyce Anglin Miller says:

        I agree about the painting. It doesn’t seem to fit in at all.

        • Jacqueline says:

          Thank you Joyce. Mark Kane and Jo Smith think it looks nice…It doesn’t go at all…I guess they like a mish mash of things that don’t match…Maybe Mark wears a stripped shirt with checkered pants….

          • janbrady says:

            Let me guess…jacquline, your sofa has cup holders built in doesn’t it? Stick with rooms to go, honey. It’s suits you I’m sure.

          • Jacqueline says:

            No, I do not have a couch with a cup holder. I am not a redneck. I am a sophisticated woman from New York. Why are you all picking on me? Other people also did not like the Picasso. Why are you all ganging up on me? What the hell did I do but disagree?

          • Daniela says:

            So you are better than a redneck? Wow…I’m sorry for the pain you have…I do understand…but it is oozing out in the wrong ways here.

          • rhaazz says:

            Janbrady, It’s ironic that you say say you’re offended by the way Jacqueline expressed herself by posting a nasty comment clearly intended to insult her personally. If you think the discussion should be more civil, then lead by example.

          • Madame_deFarge says:

            Oh for goodness sake, stop. This is merely a place to voice opinion about furnishings.

          • Mary p. Cashman says:

            there you go again, Jacqueline. You seem to be quite defensive and insulting at the same time. Please be quiet

          • Capiscan says:

            There you go again.

          • Daniela says:

            Again, your last sentence is rude…very childish…not too late to change…think about someone who you really respect -what would they think if they read your comments?

          • Bee Monkey Spider says:

            sophisticated people would call it juxtaposition, not mish mash.

      • Mark Kane says:

        Yes, get rid of the Picasso, by all means.

        • Lesley Hogan says:

          and what would be your creative choice?

          • Mark Kane says:

            Lesley, I was being facetious, which is useless on the internet.

            My reaction was to all the people who can’t appreciate having a Picasso hanging in their room. The dialog between the cubist painting and the classic English design is scintillating!

          • Jo Smith says:

            That, I agree with.

          • Jacqueline says:

            You sound like a snob, Mark. Do you really like Picasso or are you pretending to like him because you think that shows sophistication???? Personally, I don’t think he knew a damn thing about art…But…what do I know??? I am apparently not as smart as you are…

          • Mark Kane says:

            A snob? Gee, thanks, Jacqueline, that’s kind of you.

            I didn’t know you had to be a snob to appreciate art. Yes, I like the Picasso. No I don’t think it shows sophistication to like Picasso in the 21st Century.

            To get back to Nicky Haslam: I like the way the green in the painting is reflected throughout the pale violet room in the lampshades, curtains and small accessories. The room would be a bit snoozier without the Picasso. It makes it glow, and it’s certainly unexpected.

            Of course, if it were your room, you could replace the painting with anything else you liked better. Do you have a suggestion?

          • Jacqueline says:

            Yes, Mark….My suggestion would be a painting that went with the rest of the room…..Like flowers maybe?????????? DUH. To each their own!!!

          • Mark Kane says:

            Wow. What a nasty piece of work you are.

            Have a good day.

          • Jacqueline says:

            .Re-read the comments….I am not nasty at all. Just stating my opinion as are you.. As I said before, to each their own……If you like the Picasso in that room, good for you…..I don’t. And you too Sir, have a good day……

          • AW says:

            Just coming into this comment thread with no association or connection to anyone commenting here, the tone that comes across in your comments, Jacqueline (at least to me), do seem a bit catty. I guess that’s the difficulty with internet comments. My guess is that you didn’t intend to come off as defensive.But it’s no stretch to interpret them as such.

          • Jacqueline says:

            No, AW, I did not mean to come off as catty or snotty…I was just annoyed that Mark and Jo were acting like I was some kind of an idiot because I did not like the Pisacco painting in the flowered room. I am allowed to have my own taste, aren’t I? Both of them were replying to me in a very condescending tone…And yes, Jo I have been to a museum. And I do appreciate art…Just not Picasso…Sorry that I don’t agree with you…One more time I say: to each their own…

          • Monica Hyczko says:

            Jacqueline, is the way you express your feelings that says who you are.

          • Jacqueline says:

            I voiced my opinion…Please read Jo Smith comments…She was extremely nasty and acted like she was right and I was wrong.. We are all entitled to our own opinions..We cannot all agree…Right/?

          • Daniela says:

            Girl, you have to toughen up…life is too short to be this offended over a decorating article comment. Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course…I respect yours…but there is no reason to feel attacked by others on here…”you do not have to attend every argument you are invited to”…

          • rhaazz says:

            I’m with Jacqueline. I don’t think that painting belongs in that space (and I think that room needs to be stripped of about 80% of the fabric and cushions and useless bric a brac that would immobilize anyone foolish enough to try to move around in there).

          • Madame_deFarge says:

            Yes, to each their own. I happen to love Picasso, just not in that room. Adding it to an already busy room is jarring to me.

          • Nancy Whitehead says:

            Jacqueline This particular period of Picasso.s was from his “Cubist Period”. He did many other “periods in his long career that you might like other then this one, His :Blue Period has some very unusual pieces in it that most likely have looked far better in this particular LR then this one but the owners of this home apparently did not own it His famous “Woman in a Blue Dress” would have stood out here more then this “Cubist” picture and the colors of it would have been much more complimentary then those in this picture. A general rule of Fine Art is that you hang it when and wherever you please but most Art Mueseums all place their valuable Art from any period on strictly white backgrounds. This is done primaily so that the Art is the Prime Object and to show off any colors within the painting. All Art Galleries that sell Fine Art all do the same thing despite what Artistic period the painting may be from. The object being that this painting is the main subject and it has been shown to the viewer in its best light and also that the colors all show of in the best light. When you study Fine Art you always paint in the best light you can find This is done so that the colors stay true within the light. Same goes for mixing pigment. If you do not have the right light when mixing the various colors the color will be “off”in the painting once applied. Light is the most important thing in Fine Art if the light is ot right before the paint is appplied the entire message of the painting will be Off once finished which is Why all artists have studio’s where the light is perfect. Even the time of day is considered due to the changing of light during the daytime. Most artists only paint at certain hours when the light is perfect for their desired effect of the finished product.
            Now that I have explained how Fine Art works I can tell you how Art any Art Fine or not, with the exception of real collectors of Fine Art of any type or period, designers place Art where they feel it would have the greatest impact This is Why Nicki who was brought up surrounded with Hstorical Fine Art from many periods will place the Ar of a client wherever he choses. Nicki does not have a Fine Arts technical background but he did grow up surrounded by priceless historical Art. Therefore he places it wherever he wants and in h is mind has fun doing it. What he is saying to you all is losen up it;s just a Picasso lets not take it to seriously. Yes I know it is a well known Picasso but lets just enjoy it and not think to much about it. Now most Interior Designers or Archictects would not have placed the Picasso in that place. They would have used it differently where he painting did not clash so much with the decor. It is also quite normal to mix Fine Art periods in a room and with various Framing techniques place the various periods all in one room sometimes layering them on top of each other. I see this trend now more then ever. Art is a personal thing much like our homes that are really reflections and colletions of ourselves.and our lifestyles. All our homes are different because we are all different individuals. There is no right and wrong in Interior Design or in Fine Art collecting Fine Art or ones preference of home style is all individualistic as it speaks about us as individuals. When you chose to buy professional Design talent or Architects you normally will chose someones taste that is similar to yourself because you want someone who can relate to yourself. That being said most Architects and Designers who have actually gone for a higher education in Architectre or Interior Design know all periods of those subjects and can design homes of any period you might chose. If you chose a designer who is popular at the moment I guarentee you that if they have achieved a design practice like Nicky Halsam, Mario Buatta, Bunny Williams, Tim Corrigan, etc etc they all have trained Arcitacts and highly trained Interior Designers on their staffs as well as Residential Designers who are trained i both areas. As you can see with Nicky he is not trained in Interior Design but he has been trained since birth with great Fine Art and grew up up in the surroundings of great wealth, Nicky knows full well how his clients live in their homes so even without training Nicky has built up s vastly successful Interior Design business on an International leval all due to his upbringing amid great wealth and therefore his eye has been trained since birth to live and see beauty all around him.That along with who icky really is and his family connections and Nicky’s own great Artistic talent have rendered him a very highly thought of and lucrative international business. Designers such as Nicky would never work for the average new wealthy person or the common average Joe mainly because they would lack his vision of beauty trained since birth and also the average person could not afford his fees.
            I once read where a very well known and loved designer made the statement thst if a new client came to them with a $50,000. budget they would immediately refuse the job,,This gives you some idea of what budgets these well known society designers charge…that is how they live so well themselves. Fine Art is not for the average person you can buy cheap copies online or try to copy a certain look but if you want what Nicky is famous for you can pretty much forget it because the tools you would need are to the trade only and are not sold online without a Tax license of a viable business. Many new designers just starting out will give you a discount or put you on a yearly budget doing your home that way while you acquire wealth this is one way they get clients and build upon them yearly.Hopefully this will answer some of your design questions about using that Picasso in that particular room…I have seen Nicky do very mid century room’s that were lovely…But then again he lived through the period and i Arizona ranch and California once again running with the very rich and powerful in the world of Rock Stars and old Hollywood then once back on English soil with old family friends and connections..You may not like it but everything in life is about who yiou know in that world…That is just how it works…like it or not..

          • ratwoman says:

            I believe it was started by the comment. By all means take down the Picasso Which is kind of condescending. Anyway I never have liked Picasso too jarring for me I would probably have a landscape or water pictures but that’s the interesting thing about art is that there is something for everyone. Namaste

          • Mark Kane says:

            Thank you for clarifying that, Ratwoman.

          • Jo Smith says:

            Jacqueline, you are being nasty and snooty. Say what you wrote out loud and you may realize how crude you sound.

          • Capiscan says:

            Re-read your own comments before you take someone else to task.

          • meme says:

            I liked your comments, Mark. We southerners just say things in a different way and everything comes across nice.Lol! Jacqueline is not from the south.But I am sure she meant well.I got a kick out of the conversation between you two.

          • Mark Kane says:

            Thank you, Meme!

          • hannah says:

            I agree that the room looks terrible with this Picasso. I’d change the room, not the Picasso. The flowers in clashing colors just doesn’t do anything for it. It’s like they don’t even respect the art.

          • Vaden Cox Creamer says:

            Maybe Elvis on black velvet?

          • Jill Marie Brown says:

            The Picasso is the Wow factor in this room.

          • EG says:

            I think the statement that might be rubbing people the wrong way is “I don’t think he knew a damn thing about art.” Anyone may find a particularly artist’s style unappealing (I actually don’t care too much for cubism myself); however, what defines “art” is a lot harder to nail down and is perhaps not a universal knowledge that one either has or doesn’t have (by claiming someone else does not have it, you imply that you do!). Anyone can create, and in creating, call themselves an artist. I may not like what they call their art, but I always hesitate to criticize their legitimacy as an artist. Especially when they are considered by their peers as having a large influence on a particular style/form of art, however little that style/form may appeal to me…

          • Jacqueline says:

            Thank you EG. I guess you have a valid point…You are right, I didn’t mean to imply that I knew more about art than someone else. I just voiced my opinion that I did not care for that green Picasso in the otherwise soft and flowery room..It was, of course, just my opinion. Maybe I came off the wrong way…But I did feel that Jo Smith jumped all over me for my opinion.

          • Pi says:

            I mean, you did call Mark a snob and flat-out ask if he was pretending to like Picasso…that’s not “coming off the wrong way”, that’s very clearly rude.

          • julie says:

            I think you make a good point. We all see things differently, however, the important thing is to look and to see. I don’t dislike the picture but I do think it’s a bit jarring in that space I think that may have been intended. It has certainly gotten you all talking.

            As far people’s opinions I think we need to be open to each individuals thoughts. One’s just as valid as another’s.

          • Jo says:

            EG….well said! And, as for the subject of the Picasso in that room, it is my humble opinion that ‘art stands alone.’ It does not ‘need’ to be matchy-matchy with whatever else is going on in a room. Art is for the sake of art, alone — if it ‘speaks to’ the owner, it works. I’m not a fan of cubism, either, but enjoy the juxtaposition of more modern art work with classic furnishings. Jo

          • Cheryl Odell says:

            Jacqueline ~ Look into Picasso’s entire body of work . . .I think you might be surprised by his mastery ~ cubism was only one of his many periods.

          • Jacqueline says:

            Okay Cheryl. I will. Thank you.

          • Bee Monkey Spider says:

            one of the greatest artists of our time… didn’t know a damn thing about art? have you been to his museum in Paris? he worked in every medium, successfully. paint, metal, ceramic, drawing, all of it.

          • Madame_deFarge says:

            Yes, everyone knows that.

          • tee O says:

            They absolutely MUST create a sarcasm font! :-)

          • Hardy-Har-Har says:

            There are a lot of beautiful things in that pink room – It’s just to much at once for people with a more modern taste. Women don’t wear every piece of jewelry they own all at once, same should go for “all the things you like” being crammed into one tiny room.

          • Bee Monkey Spider says:

            i totally got the sarcasm, without benefit of a special font.

        • ratwoman says:

          Please do

        • Madame_deFarge says:

          I’d rather see that in a more modern room. The overall room was comfortable
          The ‘dressing room’ was lost on me.

      • Maggie says:

        lol yah the painting is very wild.. it workss though

      • ratwoman says:

        Amen sister

    • Zsuzsa Csernak says:


    • Joyce Ripka says:

      I agree with you….too cluttered

    • Selinda Miller says:

      I agree with you. I found myself trying to breathe. Beautiful colors tho

    • Melanie Walker says:

      I personally love everything except the Picasso. Should have been a Chagall. Much more romantic like the room. Just my opinion. Its a room of memories and collections of a discerning woman.

    • Vohnie says:

      I agree. Way too busy.

    • Cheryl E. Johnson says:

      Yup, I agree very noisy room.

    • hannah says:

      I agree.

    • Hardy-Har-Har says:


  3. kk4u2 says:

    I love this room. Great design. I don’t like the huge Picasso with the room. I think a different piece would have been better.

    • Jacqueline says:

      The room is gorgeous, but that painting has to go! One that is flowery and much prettier would be so much better. That painting does not go in that room at all. It sticks out like a sore thumb. Yuck!!!!

    • Jacqueline says:

      You are so right.That Picasso ruins the beauty of the room….

    • Wendy Goode says:

      i love the picasso, because it cuts the primness,’ but as a designer with a varied roster of clients, i can say… its completely subjective.. it doesn’t matter what i like, its what you like.

    • belle129 says:

      the picasso is the antithesis of a more decorative piece of art. it elevates the space to a much higher level of sophistication. perhaps it is the viewer that fails to see the magnificence of the artwork.

    • ekena says:

      The Picasso painting is great because it adds an element of surprise while complementing the palette of this very flowery room.

      • Jacqueline says:

        I don’t think it complements the room. To me, it looks like someone who didn’t know any better, just stuck this bazaar painting on the wall. It might be because I never cared for Picasso paintngs. Seems to me he was drunk or drugs when he painted them..Too weird for my taste…..Was he really an artist? Not in my opinion.

    • Jacqueline says:

      I so agree kk4u2

  4. trailerpark says:

    great pieces,but just too much…

  5. Maggie Hancock says:

    Mauve needs to be struck from the color wheel!

    • Jacqueline says:

      I disagree Maggie. I think that room is feminine and beautiful…All is lovely except for that hideous Picasso painting….

      • Jo Smith says:

        Agree, it has the femininity of an 80 year old lady. The Picasso is stunning though.

        • Jacqueline says:

          Well, Jo Smith…I am far from an 80 year old lady….We all have different tastes. I like the room and hate the painting…You don’t like the room but like the painting..What can I say? Never did understand why people go crazy over Picasso! He painted as if he were on drugs in my opinion…

          • Jo Smith says:

            Have you ever seen a Picasso in person? I love art and realize it’s an appreciation many people don’t have, or have not yet discovered. For years I didn’t “get” why anyone thought Sunflowers by Van Gogh was appealing, then I saw it in person and couldn’t take my eyes off of it.

  6. anlyzththarper says:

    I love the Picasso. It adds energy, angles, and texture to the room, which would be in danger of needing an insulin injection with a flowery painting.

  7. Houston says:

    I love the Picasso with the rest of the room. That fact that it does not “match” is what makes such a wonderful statement. A truly talented designer has a knack of putting things together that the normal person would never think to do.

  8. Janet says:

    Love everything! I need the book!

  9. Michele Warner Parker says:

    12 square feet? Misprint.

  10. Leslie Eckart says:

    His style is interesting, but a little too old ladyish for my particular taste. I will say it looks very comfortable-and I like the Picasso in that floral Room. Kelly Wearstler once said “Every room should have a surprise” and that modern painting in a sea of floral fabric is definitely a surprise.

    • Elsa says:

      My thoughts exactly, that Picasso is perfect there and completes the room. If it weren’t there, the scent of ‘rosewater’ would be overwhelming.

      • Jo Smith says:

        Seriously, LOL!

      • Scott Robinson-Carr says:

        I agree, without the Picasso, the room is way too floral for my taste. I think it brings balance and color to the room. I assume that the designer is working with the art that the home owner already owns and wants to be a central focus of the room.

    • ratwoman says:

      That’s true

  11. jbridge says:

    who would get rid of the Picasso ….its whole point in being their is juxtaposition

  12. Kelley Chapman- Chandler says:

    To each his/her own. I love the warmth and comfort of his rooms!

    • Jacqueline says:

      I think you have said it best Kelley Chapman-Chandler…To each their own…No sense arguing over taste. We all like different things. That is what makes the world go round…

  13. Elle Jaye Slutzky says:

    one should never consider mauve, unless one is considering scrapping it entirely. I do wish a designer would give actual thought to the implications of cleaning a room after it’s been designed. dusting notecards on the mantel would be a huge pain and more likely impossible

    • barclaybear says:

      Do you really think that someone who can afford a Picasso or to hire Nicky Haslam worries about dusting? You’re looking at a room that cost at least $75,000 to $100,000 and that’s assuming the client already had furniture, antiques and art. The cards on the mantle are typical English – they are usually invitations. I find them charming – it shows that humans actually LIVE in such a room, not that it is merely a set for photos for a shelter magazine. People who worry about dusting, typically do NOT have a big name, famous designer to help them decorate their house!

  14. mps2mom says:

    Does anyone recognize the painting of the Monk flying in the air. I really like that picture but I can’t figure out what it is called and who the artist may be.

  15. Jdarn says:

    I loved everything. Guess my rooms look old ladyish, as someone commented below.. My kids and their young friends have everything modern in their homes, with no history whatsoever. My rooms are filled with a lifetime of travel, and treasures from ancestors. The only thing I don’t like is when a designer, Haslam, in this case, covers books with white paper. Books should look like books, and the older, the better, not pure white.

    • Jo Smith says:

      My home is modern with world treasures. History is in our many books and teachings, not in dusty looking furnishings and flowery decor. And mauve, really?!! Eww.

      • Jacqueline says:

        My home is modern also…Didn’t say I had this kind of room…all I said is that it is very cozy looking, inviting and warm….

  16. nmf says:

    i love lilacs for bedroom settings…calming and versatile with whites , peaches and soft pinks, browns ,blues…terrific. i wouldn’t however, use it in a living room as it is a ‘personal’ color. i would like chairs and settees which say “ah, let me sit down.” his rooms do that. every room should have a surprise? henry francis dupont said “if anything sticks out in a room, remove it.” take your choice i guess…i go with hfd.

  17. meme says:

    Rooms have to express or encourage a mood for me and that paining comflicts witht he overall mood and aura of the room. Romantic and then that ostentatious painting that is bizarre to me.Ye,s I know it’s a famous painting but it juyst has to go.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Tnank you Meme. At least you and I agree….

    • Leslie Eckart says:

      kinky is a mood too…..and picasso was so, well… interesting-and flamboyant-and unabashed. To me this room needs some waking up. A conversation piece. Too matchy matchy gets boring, uninteresting-predictable. That is why it works for me…’s sexy grandma vs boring grandma.

  18. Jill Huska says:

    A good designer, works with what his/her clients like. Clients are asked questions about what they find appealing, what styles they are drawn too, color palettes etc. The designer then presents to the client, his/her ideas and gets approval before going ahead with the designs. Therefore, all of these settings have been approved by the owners to go hand in hand with their comfort zones. His livingroom, while it looks cluttered to some (and me) is the look that he was going for. Remember this is a small room and he is trying to make it cozy and yet have room for visitors. All of us have our own style, that is his. :)

  19. guest says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that much of his designs (and many other highly-touted decorators) almost first require a rather grand room with high ceilings and important architectural detail, including impressive fireplace mantel? Try doing the design in #8, for example, in a standard-sized living room with standard height ceiling, no architectural detail, no fireplace, just your basic, boring box of a room without a single interesting architectural feature. Sure, you could arrange some of the furniture and accessories shown in #8 in such a room, but a large part of the impact of these designs comes from the architecture of the room itself, before any decoration begins, in my opinion, at least.

    • Gigi Nabil says:

      Number 6 can be done in a standard room. Just replace the fireplace with a grand piece of furniture like a bookcase :)

      • guest says:

        First, one room out of eight would not be inconsistent with my comment; I did not say “all”, but “much” of his design work depends on grand rooms. Secondly, I am not so sure I would agree that replacing the fireplace with a piece of furniture would create the total effect of Number 6. But, I do agreed it could be done.

      • Joy Ciccketti Augevich says:

        I didn’t have a fireplace in my first home and I put a beautiful china cabinet in it’s place. That served as my focal point quite well.

    • Joy Ciccketti Augevich says:

      You are absolutely right about the architecture. Most of us don’t have that in our homes.
      I did think it was so inviting and cozy.

  20. Pojo says:

    It’s obvious the man has someone to dust all this junk. Wrinkled slipcovers are high style? I don’t think so. And what’s with the lobsters on the table? Too much stuff jammed into too small a space. Sorry this holds zero appeal for someone who can’t afford help.

  21. Zsuzsa Csernak says:

    too busy, too much fabric.the carpeted floors create a suffocating feel with the large curtains and fabrics. hard wood/travertine floors would ” clean it up” a bit. every pc of furniture should not be covered with ” things” or it will resemble a garage sale. i like the mix of modern art with traditional furniture, i use that combo ,as well.

  22. Pat Dadd Orton Duker says:

    I love the juxtaposition of that painting and the conventional room, unexpected but amazing

  23. Metis says:

    I like the mauve idea best. But big furniture in small rooms is interesting. Also, coordinate different armchairs with identical upholstery fabric – leaves you free to find your armchairs cheap and redo them.

  24. caiside says:

    If you like this sort of style, the late Keith Irvine did it much better.

  25. Gertrude Stein says:

    The putrid Picasso in the florid living room is how I would picture Laura Ashley’s puke.

  26. Robyn says:

    All of these rooms make me dizzy and rather ill-feeling.

  27. Baronessnata says:

    I love everything Nicky

  28. Donna Meek Pike says:

    I love this room and the painting in it, but where he placed that huge basket of fluffy flowers, I would place something less fluffy. I am not sure what.

  29. Donna Meek Pike says:

    I think it is a testament to greatness that some commenters feel that the architectural elements of the room were necessary for the design. That means that the design encorporates those bold architectural fixtures perfectly.

  30. Barbara Curro says:

    Agree–too cluttered!

  31. Uncialle says:

    Not to be lived in. Could you read in this room? No. Light is bad at nearly every place you could sit. Could you look out a window? Only if you were standing up–all furniture faces away. Painting has great shock value but is not relaxing for the room. You could hardly move here without knocking something over. There’s a chair placed in the center of one of the main pathways in the room. Nonfunctional.

  32. Sandy Watson says:

    Looks like my Grandma’s house on steroids.

  33. Janet Woodcock says:

    In the room with 2 sets of armchairs, did you notice all the books were covered in white paper? How do you find a book in that room?

  34. Cynthia Gladstone says:

    That last room with the breadsticks and the fake lobsters – no – no- no. Open the windows and let some air in! Colors are lovely however.

  35. Donna McMahan says:

    I agree with the ‘cluttered’ statement. Too busy, too much stuff. More money spent on stuff. :) Especially the last pic with that overdone frou-frou look and then the huge ultra modern oil painting. Yuck!

  36. Jessi says:

    All of the rooms are lets say, eclectic. I liked the first one a little, of the bedroom. It wasn’t quite so cluttered. I want the room to flow gentally… I absolutely would not be able to tolerate the over stuffed rooms with to many chairs with fou-fou all over and two sofas in a small room. Claustaphobic is where I am with that cramped place. As for the painting, well lets just say it belongs in a museum.

  37. Scott McGillivray says:

    Yeesh. Godawful looking rooms.

  38. Carla M. Billups says:

    12 square feet??? wow…he’d have a room that is 4′ x 3′ to have that square footage. It’s probably 12′ x 12′ making it 144 square feet.

  39. piscesgirl03 says:

    Don’t like it at all. Especially the last picture. It looks so junky. I prefer simple and clean designs.

  40. Coralchristie says:

    Some of this is lovely and I enjoy some of the suggestions. Unfortunately though there’s no design here that will survive the curiosity of little children. :-)

    • barclaybear says:

      Little children should be kept out of living rooms unless accompanied by a responsible adult. One CAN have lovely things (and LOTS of clutter) and all have much loved small children. I’ve done it as has my daughter.

      • Coralchristie says:

        My mother’s children and my children learned quickly that they should not touch some things in the house. Neverthless most of those designs were magazine friendly not family friendly. As for keeping little children our of living rooms…not my philosophy since it’s a “living”room. My family lived in every room and kept things nicely. Oh, and I enjoyed having with me in every room too.

        • barclaybear says:

          I agree that a living room is to be “lived-in”. What I was referring to was allowing young children to play in it when adults are not present. I never put up a single thing in my library (and I DO love clutter!), and my grandchildren learned not to touch things, but I would not have wanted them in my living room unsupervised – not even now when they’re great hulking teens whose method of sitting in a chair it to drape themselves over the arms. No thank you! But of course they are in the living room for family parties, but are reminded that that’s not how to sit on a sofa in my house.

  41. Lesley Hogan says:

    sounds like most of you follow all the decorating rules, meaning….boring. Rooms should have an element of fun or surprise otherwise everything is expected, meaning…dull. A floral painting in that room would be repetitive of the fabric
    The red ceramic lobster in his sitting room made me grin and that’s the
    Creative with a sense of humor makes it interesting and inviting.

  42. Jo Smith says:

    Too grandmas house. I would suffocate in the clutter!

  43. Jo Smith says:

    Additionally, the Picasso is gorgeous and the only thing that saves that torturous room.

  44. Charles Carney says:

    I’d make a comment but I don’t want to run afoul of the elevated Jacqueline.

    • Jacqueline says:

      WOW…Why are you picking on me? All I did was say I didn’t like the Picasso and everyone jumped on me…Jo Smith has been condescending to me in every one of her posts…And you guys think I am the nasty one??? Jo Smith is the nasty one…So is the sarcastic Mark.

    • ratwoman says:

      Me either

  45. blc says:

    I think with the Picasso I would do a really stark room with smooth lines and just pick up a bit of the colors in the painting here and there, but let the painting be the focal point.

  46. blc says:

    I think with the Picasso I would do a really stark room with smooth
    lines and just pick up a bit of the colors in the painting here and
    there, but let the painting be the focal point. But then no one pays me to decorate. I love his 8 suggestions; I’m going to use them.

  47. Bill Totten says:

    Wow, all of you really have strong opinions. I have to agree with Mark, I think the colors and fabrics in the room act as a counterpoint to the Picasso. I also don’t think the owners of the painting ran out and purchased it to “go” with the room. Obviously Mr. Haslam created the room to compliment the painting and highlight it in the best way possible. I have always been amazed at the innovation of Mr. Haslam’s work, it always makes me look and say “that’s incredible, wish I had thought of that”. Not being a fan of any shade of lavender, he has really made me reconsider it as a color with many possibilities.

  48. Cherry Pink says:

    That is truly one ugly Picasso. Looks like a giant green mutant beagle. There is definitely some other work of art that would be more pleasing and not so noxious.

  49. Gibsongirl says:

    I think all these rooms are very beautiful and I like the Picasso because it is a very interesting focal point and conversation starter. I believe everyone has a different “clutter threshold” which is the amount of stuff we can tolerate in our rooms before feeling uncomfortable. These rooms are a bit too cluttered for me but I love the floral patterns and the idea of having a “forever sofa.”

  50. CookieSister says:

    My thought, though a bit simplistic, if one had a Picasso print (or original?) one loved, then perhaps it would make sense to highlight it more instead of carrying so many busy prints through the room. Borrow the golden tone from the painting and dilute it to a soft hue for the wall color. Use white upholstery and a green or white damask or silk curtain with a subtle sheen and simple pattern (a subdued green and white stripe would be nice to bring the detail out of the painting). Heavy wood furniture with clean lines and bright punches of multiple shades of green from chartreuse to forest throughout. I think all those flowers make the Picasso look out of place then the pinks and pastels make the painting look garish. I believe we would all appreciate the painting more if it was highlighted in a different way.

  51. Bridget Burton says:

    The blue one was refreshing – not the chair. The one with white couches was comfy looking. There were a few items I liked in each one but most were way too busy and outlandish!

  52. barclaybear says:

    Let’s start with the painting. Anyone who owns a Picasso of this scale is a serious collector, and serious collectors (i.e. those who make enormous financial investments in their art), buy the art for the art, not to “blend” with their sofa. Some collectors prefer to decorate their homes in a very stark way such as an art museum would, so the art is the ONLY attraction in the room. It would be a very contemporary room. Others, make their art part of a comfortable decor that is how they would decorate a room, regardless of whether or not they own an important contemporary art collection. That is clearly what this client did and it works wonderfully. Notice that the rugs and upholstered furniture are pretty neutral – only the subtle print curtains have pattern.

    Nicky Haslam is an English decorator. He may do houses all over the world, but England is his home and I imagine the majority of his commissions as well. The English have a history, going back to the days of Empire, of bringing back with them objects and art from India, Africa and other far-flung places, and incorporating it into very traditional, comfortable English decor. To me, that is its greatest charm – their homes are the stories of their lives.

    Whatever one collects (and the English are great collectors!), it is incorporated into the home, not the home decorated to go with it. If one doesn’t care for this, then one won’t like the interior design work of Nicky Haslam. To each his own.

    I agree that Mr Haslam is fortunate, especially in England, to have wonderful architecture in which to work. What I wouldn’t give for those high ceilings, gorgeous chimney pieces, tall windows, and the layout of the rooms that lend themselves to sofas on each side of the fire. Even in a small room, those high ceilings and tall windows make it work.

    Here in the US, it is rare to find such architecture, certainly any that is available to a typical Kings Lane customer. I don’t have a house like that – mine is a 1948 subdivision 1 1/2 story house. So I can’t go too grand. But I can hang my curtains with rods up near the ceiling, have smaller crown molding (the ceilings are 8 ft, which in reality makes them closer to 7 1/2 ft etc. I doubt that any of you would like my LR – you would find it “cluttered” as I am a collector of small things and porcelain, and I like to always have a few silver framed family photos in any room as well as books. But it pleases me and I do have English ancestors, so perhaps that is why!

    I love the room with the Picasso but my favorite room is in Mr Haslam’s country house. I could move in tomorrow!

  53. Amy E. Hines says:

    Why are we looking at comments from over a month ago? And why do so many people feel the need to tell others how right or wrong they are?

  54. Louise van Rensburg says:

    I love the Picasso especially the greens in this picture (tie-in with the floral theme?). The juxtaposition of this English decor actually makes the Picasso standout since it seems so out of place. I am not a fan of this look but I can appreciate the designer’s concept. Interesting!

  55. Susan Dunn says:

    I love most everything in these rooms. I think the painting adds a great touch of unexpected whimsy. To each their own, of course.

  56. Terri Angeline Mariotti says:

    way too busy and cluttered and fancy for my taste. Less is more for me. I could never relax in this room, thereis too much visual going on that does not match.

  57. Sally says:

    The Picasso is great it breaks up the clutter and adds a more updated modern look to the room. I love the
    lilac colors. I would pick a bigger more contemporary pattern and style for the drapes. Maybe in a horizontal stripe with different shades of greens and mustard. One color that is 3/4 the length of the the drape and two other different colors the same width at the bottom of the drape.

  58. Suzanne says:

    The Picasso makes the room…otherwise…it is just too Laura Ashley for me. It does look comfortable though. ….not to sound catty myself but “going to a Museum” is not the same as appreciating art. I Remember going frequently to museums to see exhibits ( pre children) Now my daughter is 10, I am starting to go again and watching her take it all in.

  59. rhaazz says:

    These crowded, fussy, overstuffed, old-fashioned rooms terrify me. They feel dead. And all that mauve in the first image is suffocating.

  60. GC Starr says:

    I do not like the picasso..

  61. Kathleen Margaret Schwab says:

    I liked the faux fur on the bed. Very House Stark.

  62. Hardy-Har-Har says:

    This Haslam’s style is waaaay too cluttered looking for me. Not my style at all, I would feel stressed out and claustrophobic in those rooms!

  63. Linda Berg says:

    LoL! Highly entertaining read this morning! Mark… you’re swimming with sharks!
    Personally speaking… nothing here is Game Changing… just a return to what my Mother used to design!… and I suspect Picasso had Synesthesia….

  64. Juhgtfre Ujhytfre says:

    jacqueline my dear, you need a shrink… and fast

  65. Becky says:

    I prefer Picasso’s blue period.

  66. nonLisa Orr Duncan says:

    Too cluttered, but some really beautiful pieces.

  67. Patriotwoman says:

    His rooms feel suffocating!

  68. Jill Marie Brown says:

    Love, love… and Mark… you are spot on! Geez, if you don’t think Picasso is art you should bury your head in sand. The Picasso is the Wow factor in this room.

  69. Selma Hamilton says:

    I agree…hard to be restful amid all that STUFF!

  70. Julee McClelland says:

    Mmmmm. I LOVE the lavender room. I have a smoky lavender picked out for my new living room, so imagine how fine I felt seeing his lavender room! And I have a lavender couch in mind, as well. LOVE most of his rooms, or at least some idea(s) in each of them.

  71. Laura Braun says:

    Yes, while I respect Picaso, it’s placement here is unsound.

  72. M Ince says:

    #7; Caption under picture, “In Haslam’s sitting room in his country home, his beloved sofas take center stage. The room comes in at just under 12 square feet”. Square footage is measured as length multiplied by width. Thus, a 10′ x 12′ room would measure 120 square feet (10 x 12 = 120). Then, simply add in the waste factor. Let’s say your room requires 120 square feet. So Nicky Haslam’s room, at under 12 square feet, would be 3 feet by 4 feet; I think it’s more likely 120 square feet. Proofread or use common sense, please!

  73. boofinky says:

    very kitty carlisle

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