Inspired by Italy and her florist father, New Zealand-born interior stylist Angela Bunt talks colour, pattern and big statement lampshades…
London-based interior decorator Angela Bunt helps people transform their homes with colour and pattern - and also writes about all things stylish on her Flair Fairy blog. Here's our exclusive Q&A with her...
How would you describe your interior design style?
I guess the one word that sums me up is eclectic. I am not wedded to any particular style. I like to use plenty of colour, patterns and textures with plenty of clashes! I always respect the architectural features of a room and also take into consideration the light in the room (the direction it faces) and how the room is used.
Angela's sitting room - Image: Angela Bunt
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from several sources. I grew up in New Zealand where the light and colours of nature are so vivid. My father was a florist for 54 years so our house and garden were always full of flowers and colour. I trained and worked as a florist for several years so flowers are a huge source of inspiration.
I lived in Italy for 10 years and I am always inspired by Italian fashion and design – using colours that many would consider to be clashing. My favourite interior designer is Kit Kemp for her use of colour, pattern and texture. It was both living in Italy and Kit Kemp that gave me a love of purple, pink and orange in the same room. In fact I’ve used these three colours in my own sitting room. I always say to clients not to be afraid of introducing colour but most are quite terrified of it!
How does lighting play a part in your interiors?
I love lighting as a wow factor in a room. I am not a fan of ceiling downlights. I appreciate that they can sometimes be a necessity e.g. in a bathroom or kitchen but I would counter them with a statement pendant light, chandeliers being my favourite. In fact, I have chandeliers in most of the rooms in my home as well as statement table lamps and shades. This is why I love Pooky shades especially the Ikat ones as they create a real tah-dah effect!
Pooky's Heraldic lampshade featuring in a client arrangement - Image: Angela Bunt
I have pairs of Pooky shades on table lamps in both bedrooms and also on the kitchen sideboard (my favourite Ikat Heraldic shades). My clients love them but not all would have the confidence to put them in their own homes without persuasion and seeing them in my home certainly gives them the courage.
Bedroom featuring Pooky's 'Grey Ferns' block printed lampshades. Image: Angela Bunt
Image: Angela Bunt
What is the style in your own home? Do you have a favourite room?
My home is a 1906 purpose built, first floor maisonette so it is Edwardian, though it seems more Victorian from its architectural features and original fireplaces. I have used an eclectic mix of antiques, vintage and some contemporary pieces. I love a bargain so scour antiques markets, charity shops or any other place where I might find a bargain.
Angela's sitting room. Image: Angela Bunt
The two gallery walls in the hallway. Image: Angela Bunt
I adore art and mirrors (especially convex mirrors) as I like walls to be interesting so that people will stop and peruse. My hallway has three gallery walls and I have another gallery wall in a “dead space” behind the sitting room door where no-one would ever think to look. My favourite room has to be the kitchen. It was originally a galley kitchen and separate dining room but became one large space long before I moved in 27 years ago. It is north and west facing so gets a lot of late afternoon sun except in winter. It is a very sociable space and since I am a massive foodie and love to entertain, it is great to be able to be able to converse with guests while cooking and serving the food. Clients always say it is a very happy room and has a good vibe. That’s enough for me!
Pooky's Heraldic lampshade in Angela's kitchen - Image: Angela Bunt
We believe mixing and matching colour and pattern can make for some stunning results – do you have any top tips on how to do this in the home?
A lot of people are afraid of colour and pattern. They may love it and even wear it but putting it in the home is a different matter. In the Colour Classes I run, I tell my students that if they are afraid of colour and pattern they should avoid putting it on the walls but introduce it using the 80/20 approach – 80% neutrals, 20% strong colour and pattern – accessories, artwork, rugs, flowers and plants etc.
Image: Angela Bunt
I encourage them not to be afraid of mixing different patterns and colours though I do try to keep to one or two accent colours in a room unless they are small quantities of other colours in a cushion or a lampshade for example.
Finally we’ve got to ask you, what is your favourite Pooky light and why? That’s a tough question as I love all the Pooky lights! However, I adore the Saba table lamp particularly in turquoise. I bought one for a client and I chose the Ikat orange shade for it. It is definitely the focal point in the room and looks fabulous, but I would team any of the Pooky ikat shades with this fabulous lamp.
Pooky's Saba table lamp in turquoise in a client sitting room. Image: Angela Bunt.