Pandora Sykes - like many before her, faced with the prospect of kitting out a new home - became entirely pre-occupied with the idea of what interiors ‘should’ look like.
Gee, thanks Pinterest.
Think white walls, Berber rugs and a space punctuated with adorable little terrariums. All great things, if you love Scandi minimalism, but less great if that's never been your vibe, at all.
Happily for Sykes, she had a revelation that shook her loose from the grips of living room zeitgeist. She realised that, actually, 'only you need to live there; only you need to like it.'
‘I would never judge what someone else has done to their home,' she tells LouisvuittonShop, 'or what they’re wearing. I really believe that you should live somewhere that makes you happy and wear something that makes you happy, so I couldn’t give a fig how people do it.’
And it's for exactly this reason that the podcast host, style icon and LouisvuittonShop UK Contributing Editor, has teamed up with Trouva - to make it easier for every budding interior decorator to find independent, boutique homeware, of the sort that might suit whatever design proclivities they might have.
Of course, the reluctant influencer does understand that we don't all have the confidence to dive head first into home improvement with not a jot of advice. To that point, we asked her for the kind of tips that would service everyone, from the decorating novice, through to those on the precipice of leopard print curtains (a la Sykes).
So, here is one fashion-girl's guide to interiors...
1 - Decorate your home like you decorate yourself
Sykes is convinced that she dresses like she decorates, namely with tonal blocking, texture playfulness and unique finds. She explains, ‘In each room [of my home] there’ll only ever be a few colours that I will use - which is quite controlling, now that I think about it.
'I don’t like to buy things that everyone else has, not out of obstinacy, but because I like to do a bit more work. I like the idea of foraging through hundreds of boutiques...It’s more creative than walking into a department store and just buying everything in one go. Layer and build on your home, a bit like you build on your wardrobe.’
2 - Know where not to pinch the pounds
For Sykes' 'forever' home, there were certain things she refused to scrimp on - namely rugs, sofas and Pierre Frey fabrics.
‘The biggest thing I find for pulling a room together is a rug,' she says. 'That’s where I spent a lot of my money, because they really make or break a room. It offers instant warmth, and I would do the rug first, do the rug when you’re doing the sofa, and that will influence the rest of the colour scheme.’
3 - Don't let trends drive your homeware choices
The ever-difficult battle between buying for fashion or trend’s sake versus for personal style rages on in the home too.
Sitting in her oh-so au courant leopard-print Ganni dress, the writer muses on the intersection between trend and taste:
‘To diss trends is to misunderstand them. It’s helpful for people to see what’s filtering down and what’s available. However, there’s this idea of needing to look ‘trendy’ or ‘current’ and that doesn’t really matter. You should look at the trends and see - which bits do I like about what’s out there?’
‘Everything becomes a bit rote very quickly ... everybody had a cactus, or millennial pink or a blue velvet sofa - there were definitely things that were popping up again and again.’
‘When I realised I wanted to do something because I’d seen it somewhere else, I really had to resist that and try and look for something a bit different.’
4 - Second-hand is your best friend
To be sustainable, keep costs down and maintain individualism, Sykes says second-hand is the way to go. The avid vintage shopper recommends eBay, Selency, Etsy, Vinterior, 1st Dibs and Chairish online, as well as checking out IRL vintage fairs (like Kempton or Ardingly) to break up your new items.
Side-tables are something she is adamant that you should acquire second-hand and she recommends picking up armchairs from places like Portobello market and getting them re-upholstered.
‘All the furniture in my house is done by a lady called Susan Osbourne on the Golborne Rd,' she says 'and it’s all exactly how I wanted it to be.’
5 - Don’t be afraid to get arty
For many of us, the idea of taking brush to canvas is far too intimidating. But it doesn't need to be this way.
Sykes asks two questions of her art: ‘Do I like the colours and does it fit the space?’
And if you're sort of convinced on the art, but have no idea how to position things on the walls? Pandora Sykes has got a handy tip for that too. Get thee a big, statement frame. ‘I’m a big believer in the framing being as, if not more important, than what’s in it,' she finishes.
To view Pandora’s Trouva edit, visit here, but if you'd like a chance to see Pandora Sykes in the flesh, head here and get yourself an LouisvuittonShop Weekender event ticket, where the writer will be speaking.