‘Make yourself at home’ – that’s the phrase that probably best sums up the feeling that we want everyone to experience when they step into a Neptune store. An interiors shop on the one hand, but a home from home on the other, a question often asked is how do we make it so that you feel as though you’re not quite shopping but settling in for the morning or afternoon in a place that feels, well, just like home. Here, Georgina and Will from our store’s visual and styling team (who determine the look and feel for all of our stores) share ten of their secrets that you can take away and apply in the place where you really do rest your head.
1. Don’t feel like you have to overhaul your home’s decor every season. We might do a wholesale change in the odd room or two, but otherwise, we never underestimate the effect of cushions, throws and a rug. The simplest of touches can make the biggest statements; a couple of new additions to your existing collection will make their presence known. This season, we’ve been doing that with our new Tussock sheepskin collection in particular which makes any room immediately more tempting to curl up in.
2. Foliage is your friend. A large vase with a generous arrangement will always be noticed, but it’s actually the smaller posies that help you to feel more at home. They’re more relaxed and achievable. So, mix a large vessel with a few little ones, like single seasonal sprigs in bud vases.
3. Be sure to let your colour palette flow into all areas of the room as well as into other parts of the home. If you only feature a shade on one wall or on one cushion, then it jars. Threading it around the room means there are no loose ends that can cause a room to feel out of balance. In our stores, you’ll see us continue colours from room to room, and leaning on every part of the space – even our book covers and spines get painted as a carrier for colour.
4. Seasonal updates are what help an interior appeal especially well, because it resonates with the time of year and what you’ll be craving from an indoor environment. So look to nature and your senses when you’re decorating. In our stores, we’ll vary lighting levels, colour temperature, textures and fragrance depending on the time of day and the time of year.
5. Repetition gives a room a distinct theme and establishes familiarity that causes people to relax into a space. Next time you’re at your local Neptune store, you’ll notice how we repeat accessories like hurricane lanterns or baskets filled with logs (even if there’s not a real wood fire in the room) in the same space. Not only is this a seamless way to make a seasonal statement, but it’s a very subtle way to make a room soothe everyone inside it.
6. We love to get creative with our store decor, but not so much that it feels unattainable. Small touches of out-of-the-box thinking is a lovely way to celebrate imagination in our interiors. Our homes are there to comfort us but they should energise, intrigue and have room to evolve with time too. Recently, we’ve enjoyed using our lanterns as mini indoor greenhouses and linen tablecloths as lightweight blankets for layering.
7. See if there’s a way to bring a tree indoors in one of your rooms. Be that a fiddle leaf fig in a sitting room or an olive tree in a kitchen or hallway, plant them in a rattan basket and watch how incredibly transformative it will be. It’s the ultimate reference to bringing the outdoors in – a known decorating tactic for making things homely.
8. Listen to the architecture of your home. While we will always try to show different aesthetics in all of our stores, we fundamentally take our cue from the vernacular. For example, Neptune Edgbaston is an Edwardian town house with far grander, open spaces while Neptune Farnham is an old public house that’s naturally cosier. The interior design follows the building’s direction, which of course makes the setting feel more natural and enjoyable to be in.
9. Christmas is a time for magic. So try hard to not be tempted to follow the latest trend for this year’s Christmas decorations and instead, home in on what that magics looks like, feels like and smells like to you. Christmastime in our stores is a time for twinkling lights in as many unexpected places as we can so the festive spirit is felt in every inch of the space. Bring forward pieces like cocktail glasses in glazed kitchen cabinets so you can almost taste the sense of occasion that’s about to bestow you and your home. And fill glass storage jars with seasonal bits and pieces, like cinnamon and star anise – carry this on throughout the year, updating the contents with whatever is relevant for the season you’re in.
10. Finally, style your space but try to avoid staging it. Cushions karate chopped, throws perfectly folded, dining chairs tucked in tight under the tabletop and crockery meticulously lined up might appear elegant, but it also feels untouchable. Our stores have interiors that are certainly precise in their aesthetic, but they’re purposefully a little unmade too so anybody and everybody should feel welcome to lie back on the beds, put their feet up and to as good as start preparing supper in our kitchens. Let throws hang loosely over your sofa’s arm, don’t fuss over an over-plumped cushion, and leave the breadboard out along with a crumbled tea towel and then let the people come.