Gary Warrell-Phillips

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A Study In Chic!

18 February, 2016

Broaden your mind and expand your horizons in style

I’m passionate about the beautiful spaces I design for my clients. Creating the right environment is about much more than co-ordinating fabulous wall coverings with luxurious soft furnishings. Like many professions, my work incorporates a wealth of technical knowledge and skill that has been developed over a number of years.

In order to ensure I remain an authority in my field, throughout my career I have regularly looked to enhance my skills by enrolling on relevant courses – all of which have required, dare I say it… a sizeable amount of extra-curricular study!

Today an ever increasing number of people are looking to fine tune their skills outside of the workplace and this has stimulated quite the demand for defined spaces within the home where one can reflect and focus.

It is therefore no surprise that this year’s hottest trend is to create a Multipurpose Space, that emphasises new technology, without imposing on the primary function of a room and its style. Closely followed are rising stars such as extendable tables and the ergonomic workstation, better known as the adjustable sit/stand desk.

Without a manual explaining how to create a sleek and stylish home study, the first lesson is to understand where it is in your own space that you feel the most productive.

Alcove pops

Within every home there are areas that are crying out to be transformed into stylish space saving solutions that, once created, open up a real flow of positive energy.

Why not consider creating a charming study area by converting your ‘room under the stairs’, with beautiful hand crafted furniture adding features such as under-shelf lighting and pull down storage to elegantly conceal any clutter. This will create a peaceful and calm environment in which you can absorb your new found knowledge.

Most homes have nooks and crannies that, due their unconventional size, are rarely used to their full potential – yet with a little imagination they can be converted into a fabulously stylish study zone.


Begin utilising these alcoves by incorporating made to measure shelving deep enough to store all of your study guides, workbooks and technology, ensuring the lowest shelf is situated at desk height so that your work space is maximised.

If you want to make your alcove pop, use contrasting colours or materials to turn it into a real design feature. Alternatively, you can create a seamless workstation by opting for colourways that blend with surrounding wall coverings – this will instantly give your study area the illusion of space.

Colour me clever

If your spare room has been doubling as a ‘dump it to grumpit’ storage facility, shame on you dah-ling. There is no order in chaos, now is the time to liberate that space and de-clutter!

The beauty of a self contained study is that is gives you a defined balance between work and lifestyle, enabling you to hide away from any distractions – whether they are of the four legged or two legged variety.

Your study space is where you will need to feel continually stimulated, so opting for tones that best promote your intellectual side is a good bet.

Colour has a profound effect on our physical and emotional well being, so when deciding on how to decorate, pay close attention to any hues, textures and sounds that evoke a sense of calm and well being in you.

I simply love creating spaces using whites and creams, subtly teaming them with a bright accent colour.

I’m delighted to see these colours paired with metal tones as a trend that is set to continue throughout the year. According to Feng Shui this winning combination couldn’t be more perfect for creating mental clarity.

Sitting pretty

“With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?” – Oscar Wilde

Creating a stylish and functional, dedicated area where you can quietly work is as important as having good study skills.

But what constitutes a stylish study? For me it’s teaming timeless, elegant pieces that effortlessly sit alongside ever changing design trends.

In the last ten years we have seen fabulous examples of Danish Mid Century furniture rise in popularity, with original classics being recreated so they work in harmony with today’s technology.

This year it’s all about sophistication and symmetry. When choosing pieces for your think tank, you simply cannot go wrong opting for a sleek, modern study platform – calling these beautiful pieces ‘desks’ seems so wrong!.

Consider creating different study zones by adding a glamorous seating area. This allows for movement within your sacred space and will help to re-invigorate your senses.

Inject a little nostalgia with fabulous pieces like the uber stylish 50’s Eames style chair. Tie your look together by adding paired feature lighting and a few well chosen accessories.

One of this season’s hottest little numbers is the adorable and very kitsch pineapple… we’re simply loving it in every form imaginable! Did you know that in the 18th Century pineapples were a status symbol?

The best thing about the 21st Century is that with enough focus and determination, we are free to achieve our dreams, hopes and desires. With the marvel of technology we can shoot for the moon from the comfort of our own stylish spaces… how wonderful that we are able to do this whilst sitting so pretty!

Gary Warrell-Phillips, Decoration by Design, Farnborough, Hampshire

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