Q&A WITH INTERIOR DESIGNER AMY THORNE FROM GAIA INTERIORS & GARDENS

We caught up with Amy from Gaia Interiors & Gardens to talk all things interiors – inspiration, tips & advice.

   @gaiainteriorsandgardens

Q:  We’d love to hear a little bit about your background and how you came to work in interiors

My background is actually having my own small business, for over a decade, within the wedding industry, as an independent wedding planner.  It was during Covid that I decided to explore the world of interiors and gardens, and commenced retraining in this creative and exciting industry.   I started studying a HNC in Interior Design, as well as working with an established designer in Ireland and it’s just gone from there.  I still can’t believe how many transferrable skills there are between both of these creative industries.  I’m also about to transition onto a BA Hons in Heritage Interior Design which I’m very much looking forward to, as this is a niche area I would love to learn / know more about.

Q:  What inspires you?  How would you describe your style?

There is so much inspiration out there and so many incredible designers.

I particularly love it when a buildings original features are enhanced.  For example, in a beautiful Georgian property, accent lighting would work wonderful to show off decorative cornices.   I do like large windows / natural light, symmetry and high ceilings.

I also have a weakness for biophilic design and in the world that we now live in, I think that this should be within any interior design concept / design to a certain degree.

My style varies depending on the project as certain styles suit different spaces.  I do, however, love British design, heritage and landscape colours, bringing the outside in, layering materials and textures and also trying to create something that will be timeless, yet impactful.

Q:  What is your favourite part of the interior design process?

My favourite part of the interior design process is bringing the initial ideas and concept through to an actual 3D visual / walkthrough of the space to show the client.  It can be so hard to visualise a space and these visuals can really help the client to see a glimpse of what the actual design could look like.

I also love creating sample boards as feeling the textures of the fabrics and seeing the paint colours with your own eyes can really make a difference to just seeing them digitally.

Q:  Why is lighting so important in interior design?

This then leads onto lighting, lighting is often overlooked and needs to be thought about very early on in a project.  Lighting needs to be in the right areas of the space to really make the design work and look its best.   It is important to think about what is happening in the space and who will be using it and when.

Q:  What should you consider when choosing lighting?

As mentioned in my previous answer, it is so important to think about what is happening in the space and who will be using it and when.  I.e. if it’s the lighting for a kitchen, the whole family will be using it at various points throughout the day / evening. There needs to be task lighting, as well as ambient lighting and accent lighting.  If the kitchen table is also used for children’s homework, for example, it needs to have multifunctional lighting.

Q:  What one piece of advice would you give when choosing lighting for a room?

I personally feel that lighting should be seen as an investment.  One piece of ambient or accent lighting should provide a focal point and then this will lead the eye to other focal points / areas of interest in the room.  I would also ensure all ambient lighting is on a dimmer to allow for different uses, if required.

Q:  What trends do you see in the next year for interior design?

I think that multifunctional spaces will continue to be popular, as well as introducing a biophilic element into a design, even if this is just a nod to nature or using natural materials.  Wellbeing is really important to everyone after the last couple of years.

Arches will continue to be popular.  I also think statement walls will continue to be a bit of a trend, whether this be colour blocking, panelling, wallpaper, etc.  Heritage styling also seems to be making a comeback, not that it ever disappeared but it seems more popular at the moment.

Whilst there are trends every year, as an interior designer, I think it is important for any trends that are around to be incorporated into a design in a tasteful and timeless way.  The last thing I would want is for somebody to walk into a house that I’ve helped design and know exactly the year that kitchen was put in because of the colour, or the wall was painted, because it was the pantone colour of that year, etc.

Q:  What is your best piece of interiors advice?

I think it is really important to know which direction the room is facing in so that the right wall colours can be used.  I.e. if it is a north or east facing room, opt for warmer undertones.  If it is south or west facing, you can opt for warm or cool undertones, but don’t mix them in one space.   Also, don’t be afraid to go dark in a north facing room, as long as it has a warm undertone.

I feel that wall lights are often overlooked, especially in new build properties.  Wall lights offer such a wonderful ambient or accent light and can look amazing against a coloured, panelled or wallpapered wall.  As mentioned previously, see lighting as an investment, as the right lighting will bring a whole design together and make it work / have the right mood whatever time of day and whatever you are doing.

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