Interior decorating tips from Ruth Mottershead, Little Greene

1. Give your rooms more depth and structure by using contrasting colours going from one room to the other, from dark to light.
2. Use a bright colour to highlight pretty features of your room, like door frames or stucco, for example.
3. Use interior decoration items and furnitures in different hues of the same colour tone to create an interesting light.

Walls are becoming more and more the focus of our interior. They are easy to dress and a wall paint or wallpaper can make a statement without too much effort. We talked to Ruth Mottershead, Marketing Director and daughter of David Mottershead, the owner of Little Greene. They are well known for the unique quality of wall paint and wallpaper and IRMA got inspired by their many different decoration ideas.

IRMA: How do you come up with a new colour scheme? Do you read trend reports, for example?
RUTH MOTTERSHEAD: A number of factors influence our colour choices — we take inspiration from the world around us, we draw ideas from fashion, design and architecture and we draw conclusions from the current market, looking at where current trends stand and examine colour shifts in the way people are using colour to look forward to where trends are moving to.

IRMA: Are there some new ideas in the world of interior for using wall paint differently?
RUTH MOTTERSHEAD: Greens are currently making a resurgence. It is true that the greens we currently see making a comeback are not new greens, but they are being used in new ways. Bright greens have for a long time been used as accent or highlight colours; now we see a change to the use of dark and mid-greens being used all over as a base colour similar to a neutral — green is the new neutral.

IRMA: What else can I do with your paints? Can I use them to make an old chair interesting and modern? Do you have any ideas?
RUTH MOTTERSHEAD: Painting a piece of furniture in a contrasting colour can really complete a scheme. For example, you could combine a wall of Hicks’ Blue with a piece of furniture painted in a bold shade such as Green Verditer for a beautiful highlight. A coat of Intelligent Eggshell can transform a piece of wooden furniture and update it to match your current interiors.

4. Bright colours of fine lines make perfect trimmings for different colours on one wall and give an interesting highlight.
5. Go all in one statement colour and paint decoration items, furnitures and shelves in exactly the same colour.
6. A simple board or shelf gets more dynamic by painting a trompe l’oeil of a shelf structure and gives a room more strength.

IRMA: Is it helpful to create a mood board with found pictures before redecorating a room?
RUTH MOTTERSHEAD: You can draw inspiration from various sources when creating the initial theme for a room. Perhaps you have a piece of artwork or a swatch of fabric that you would like to focus on. It can be useful to pull together all your ideas and use Pinterest to collate inspirational images that you like. When choosing colour, it is best to select the colours that you feel comfortable with as they will be a constant feature within your home.

IRMA: Does your company have a special service for clients when choosing wall paint or wallpaper? Do you have a colour adviser?
RUTH MOTTERSHEAD: Each of our showrooms – also our Munich showroom – provides a Colour Consultancy service, which really helps our customers to decorate with confidence. Our consultants can visit customers within their homes, to understand their tastes and requirements to create the perfect colour scheme. They will take into consideration the light and space in each room and ask about your personal style. They will also identify small details that may usually be forgotten when considering colour for a whole room. They will select colours for trim details and woodwork to make sure that the whole room is included in their final colour specification.

IRMA: Do wallpapers fit in tiny rooms?
RUTH MOTTERSHEAD: Yes, wallpapers can be used anywhere, it is all about picking the right style and scale of wallpaper to make the most of your space. I would recommend using a small pattern in a small room; using a large pattern may cause a room to look even smaller.

IRMA: What do I have to keep in mind before choosing a wallpaper?
RUTH MOTTERSHEAD: Make sure you like the design and the colour! These are the most important considerations as you have to live with the wallpaper every day.

IRMA: Do you have a favorite wallpaper?
RUTH MOTTERSHEAD: My favourite wallpaper of the moment is our Upper Brook Street in the Matin colourway. It is a bold paper featuring brightly coloured Kniphofia flowers, commonly known a storch lillies. Originally these flowers would have been hand-painted. The paper provides a fantastic focus within a room. I have actually used this paper in my downstairs cloakroom to add some drama!

IRMA: Do you live mostly with painted walls? Or do you have wallpapers yourself?
RUTH MOTTERSHEAD: I use mostly paint because I have a lot of artwork that I like to hang and I sometimes find that it is easier to do this on a plain backdrop. However, I do have wallpapers in some areas of the house. Only recently have I started to use wallpaper more. I have the beautiful Great Ormond Street bird wallpaper in the lounge in the Parchment colourway. I use this paper in combination with Hicks blue on all the walls and woodwork throughout the rest of the room. I love it!

Ruth and Ben Mottershead