Expert home design tips: Kelly Hoppen

Expert home design tips: Kelly Hoppen

Kelly Hoppen MBE is an award-winning interior designer, author and presenter. She lives in Notting Hill, London.

What is your house like?

I own a home in Notting Hill; it’s a beautiful Georgian house which I gutted completely - I stripped it top to bottom and re-designed the whole interior. I kept some of the exterior features like the sash windows but inside it’s completely my style - neutrals, black and white. It is my personal sanctuary and I love it.

What is your favourite room in the house?

I love the whole of my home but the two rooms that we live in the most are the bedroom and the kitchen area. It’s very much a seasonal thing though; in the winter it’s very much snuggling in front of the fire in the kitchen or watching TV in the bedroom.

How would you describe the style in your bedroom?

My style is very signature; it’s very taupe and neutral. The main piece of furniture is the bed, which I think is what it should be in the bedroom, and it’s got a Japanese style cupboard, a dressing table, two beautiful bedside tables that I designed, Anglepoise lamps and shag pile carpets.

Everything that I do is very much about feeling good in the home. The fact that I can make it look nice is a plus point; the most important thing is making a home you feel comfortable in. My house is very tactile, there are a lot of layers and textures. It’s very monochrome but that’s how I love to live. I may work with a lot of different colours but I like to live in neutral colours.

What is your most important style tip for the bedroom?

Lighting is really crucial. For a bedroom, lighting should be subdued. Light is all about shading so don’t just have one big light over your bed; you want to make it sexy or comfortable or whatever suits you. There should be reading lights if you like to read in bed. And think about the seasons. Summer is all about taking the layers off and having it more airy, and then in winter it’s about layering and texture.

What trends are you enjoying right now?

I hate trends! I think they’re all rubbish. If I told you a trend now, I could make it up and people would pick up on it and it would become a trend. It’s about what you like. The home is not about fashion. That’s why I stick to neutrals. That’s why I fill my home with things I love, and I don’t think about what’s ‘right’. That’s where people fall down, they pick something because it’s a trend and it’s not them so they don’t feel comfortable.
Today it’s a free-for-all, it’s very eclectic; some people might want modern, some people want traditional. Everything goes and that’s very refreshing. It’s not like leggings are in and high heels are out. I think we need to stop all that with trends. It means you have less people copying each other. My furniture collection has about 1,800 pieces and 2,000 combinations of textures. My new Smallbone kitchen collection is like the little black dress of kitchens; you can use it in many different ways.

What inspires you?

I’m always inspired! I tend to just fall upon things. I was in Porta Romana today and there was a pair of lights in the window that were gorgeous. There are some fantastic pieces out there. People shop on the internet a lot these days but I think it’s nice to go shopping and see things in reality. I look at a lot of places while I’m travelling, and I’m trying to find more time to go to more markets. You need to touch things. I do a lot of buying on the internet but I always miss that walking around and touching things. I think it’s important.

What is the achievement you’re most proud of?

I am most proud of is my beautiful daughter Natasha - I am so proud that I have been a part of raising such a wonderful person, and of how hard she has been working with her own business, Honestly Healthy. Another one of my greatest achievements is being honoured with an MBE. Being given the MBE by the Queen was an incredible moment, definitely one of my proudest moments.

And what about mistakes you’ve made along the way?

Once, I didn’t measure a bed so couldn’t get it up the stairs. We had to cut the base in half and had it re-upholstered on site as the client moved in that night!

Kelly Hoppen Smallbone kitchens, pictured above, are now available from

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