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Ask the Interior Design Expert: Jessica Dance

We caught up with interior designer, Jessica Dance, to find out more about her playful yet practical style and to talk all things design and decorating. From how she styles her home to her top interior design tips, discover how to have a home fit for an interior designer.

Hi Jessica! Can you tell us a bit about you and what you do?

Hello! I am an interior designer and textile artist. I specialise in designing contemporary interiors that support our sense of wellbeing by putting us in a happy headspace. My playful take on textiles and interiors can be seen in residential and commercial projects through to collaborations with brands such as Selfridges, Vogue, Stylist, Liberty, and Christian Louboutin.

How would you describe your interior design style?

I would describe my style as playful yet practical. I design for a living, so I always make sure a space not only looks beautiful, but that it functions and fully supports the way you want to live. I believe that interiors should always be fun and not too serious, I like my designs to be quite tactile and to invite a little bit of curiosity.

Jessica Dance Interior Designer Jessica Dance Interior Designer living room

Do you have any tips for Stitched customers who don't know where to start when it comes to re-designing a room?

Think about emotion, function and aesthetic in equal measure. Decide how you want to ‘feel’ in the room that you are re-designing. For example, do you want to feel relaxed or do you want to feel energetic and awake in the room?

Think about how the room will be used and who will be using it. For example, if you have 3 kids and 4 dogs, but would like a sand coloured velvet sofa this will look beautiful but may not be practical (and may not last very long). By considering practicalities and durability of materials before committing you avoid making expensive mistakes and your re-design is also much more likely to stand the test of time .

Can you share some of your top design tips with us?

  • Trust your intuition rather than following trends - - - design is an intuitive business.
  • Invest in the ‘everyday’ pieces, if you’re on a budget and you can’t stretch to buying lots of brand new pieces invest in things that you use regularly.
  • Less is more! If you feel like a room isn’t working for you, rather than adding to it consider taking away.
  • If you have a design idea, don’t be afraid to give it a go (within reason) you can learn anything on youtube!

Which project has been your favourite so far? (or just one of your favourites!)

That’s a tricky one! I’m currently working on the interior design for a new floatation spa in West Sussex. My brief was to create a relaxing interior to complement and enhance the meditative feeling you get when you are in a flotation tank. It’s really exciting to be working on a project that is within the wellbeing space. As Floating is a sensory experience, it’s the perfect opportunity for me to demonstrate how I design with all five senses in mind, catering to all of the senses helps create a feeling of calm and wellbeing.

threads multiple colourful yarns of fabric multiple colourful threads yarns of fabric

How do curtains and blinds play a part in your interior design?

Curtains and blinds are a really important part of my designs, they can have a huge impact on the aesthetic of a room as they offer a great opportunity to add colour and texture to a space. Not only do curtains and blinds look lovely they have endless practical benefits too! Curtains and blinds are key to shaping the light, and also offer insulation and create privacy. If you live in a house or apartment that is a bit echoey I always recommend floor length curtains as they really help soften the sound in a room.

Do you have any top tips for choosing the right colour and fabric for a curtain or blind?

Consider how the fabric feels as well as how it looks, texture plays an important part when it comes to choosing curtains and blinds, we can mentally ‘feel’ something without ever actually touching an item. Touch is closely associated with the emotion of comfort and warmth, so it’s worth thinking about how you want the room to feel before choosing your fabric.

When it comes to colour my advice would be to shortlist a couple of swatches. Leave the swatches as near as possible to where the curtains or blinds will be hung as light changes throughout the day and evening, it’s helpful to see how the colours appear under different light conditions.

kitchen design and utensils flowers on a table

Do you have any inexpensive tips for giving a room a restyle and refresh?

Rearranging your furniture can bring a fresh perspective. This is a free, super simple tip that is often overlooked. Re-designing a room through moving furniture is a great opportunity to explore your creativity too. A change to the layout of a room can be really satisfying and can instill a sense of effectiveness within us. The best part of this is, you haven’t had to spend any money, so there’s no buyer’s remorse!

Add some new textiles, by adding a new blanket or a cushion for a little pop of colour you can instantly perk a room up. If you have a sewing machine try making your own cushion covers. It’s a super easy project even if you’re a sewing novice.

Paint your floorboards. Okay so this one is a little bit more involved but doesn’t need to cost the earth (depending on the paint you use). I recently painted my orangey-brown floorboards white and it’s made a huge difference to my home - - - light colours are great for brightening up a space.

Clear clutter! It’s like washing your hair, you can’t really be bothered to do it but then it feels SO good afterwards!

If you were to order a Stitched sample pack, can you tell us which 8 samples you would choose?

I really struggled to narrow it down to 8! It’s all down to the colour and texture for me…

Jessica's fabric chocies...

As texture is key for Jessica, she's chosen fabrics with a natural feel and rustic, yet modern, look.