For October's Out & Out Insider, we are thrilled to speak to Simon Livesey, the Director of Home Flair Decor.
Home Flair Decor has a combined experience of over 35 years in the wallpaper industry. They sell an extensive range of wallpaper, borders and decorating materials. In addition they sell cushions and wall art to add the finishing touch to your home.
Here Simon tells us all about his passion for wallpaper, he gives us an insight into how he hand-selects each brand offering and he divulges his very own top decorating tip...
What colour scheme did you have in your very first home and why?
As first time buyers, the budget was tight! In order to make the best of the house we bought, a lot of thought went into colour choice. After much deliberation we decided to create a natural base to work from by using neutral tones of creams and beige combining these with soft oak finishes for furniture.
We chose the Tiffany Platinum wallpaper for its neutral tones, great texture, super durability and a hint of sparkle; it really looks great and its lifespan has made it such great value. When you can only afford one shot at decorating, this is ideal!
From this “blank canvas” we are able to change the atmosphere and décor theme by simply changing the soft furnishings, wall canvases and home accessories. We currently have a warm terracotta theme which gives a great warm and cosy feel that will see us through the coming winter months.
What is your favourite piece of homeware that you currently own?
Oh that's tough! I think at this time of year with the season change it has to be our tea-light holders, there is nothing better that lighting some scented tea-lights, closing the curtains and enjoying the glow these little flames give.
What inspires you to stock certain wallpaper and homeware brands?
We want to enable our customers to get the best possible results from their decorating or purchases. We select our collections based on this principal; if a brand presents us with any items that do not meet these expectations or our quality standards they will not be stocked at Home Flair Decor, even if at first glance they are truly stunning.
Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to revamp their home but doesn’t have a very big budget?
If you have the basics in place then, as in my own home, a change in curtains, cushions and homewares can work wonders. Play with plain cushions – they are often cheaper to buy so you can mix their textures with one centrepiece cushion that may be a few extra pounds.
How did you get into selling designer wallpaper and why?
Here at Home Flair Decor we have had a fair few requests for designer brands from our more adventurous customers and it is clear how recognisable names are often trusted by consumers. However we have only taken in a few collections so far as we have been happier with the quality standards of our other brands over some designer collections we have seen.
Back in 2012 we saw the designer wallpaper niche was growing and at the same time the industry names we trusted were collaborating with some great designers. The first designer wallpaper collection we were happy to take in was Fabulous by Julien MacDonald, a great British designer. This was his second collaboration with Graham & Brown, the British wallpaper institution. This new collection had the ability to be mixed and matched, it was paste the wall, had a great colour selection as well as glitters that are on trend right now plus a selection of neutrals for our main customer base. From the popularity of this range we were more inclined to source more designer collections.
On a visit to AS Creation's factory (the biggest wallpaper manufacturer in the world) in Germany in late 2012 we were inquisitive when we saw pallets of black boxes labelled with the logo of Versace. We asked our hosts for a preview and from that quick glance we knew our designer hungry customers would love this super quality wallpaper collection.
What is your number one decorating tip that is absolutely essential?
Number one? I can't narrow it down to just one, there has to be two!
Firstly it has to be preparation, taking good care of your walls will pay dividends with your results.
Secondly, sample your wallpapers! Although we do our very best to describe and photograph our collections each and every computer monitor, tablet or phone will make our goods look different. So sample to check colour, texture, finish and quality – plus it allows you to view your chosen pattern in your own light and at different times of the day. It really is worth a few pence!
This article was provided by Simon Livesey of www.homeflairdecor.co.uk, the go-to-experts in designer wallpaper, wallpaper coverings and decor for your home.