behind the scenes - the inspiration behind my rug and wallpaper designs

This month on the blog I am giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the inspiration behind a selection of my most popular designs.

Inspiration can come from anywhere. One of the really unique things about Interiors by Element products is that, because all of the designs are quite abstract and ambiguous, the end result often resembles something very different from the original inspiration! Indeed, it can be quite a fun game to try to figure out what some of the designs represent (and even more fun if you don’t look at the names)!

Living in London, it is a privilege to be able to easily pop over to world-class institutions such as Kew Gardens or the Natural History Museum for research trips, which is where I often look for inspiration when beginning a new collection and where many of these photos were taken.

palm frond rug

I snapped this beautiful composition on a research trip to Kew Gardens, and it has quickly become one of my most popular rug designs - the Palm Frond rug. Sometimes things just fall into place to create the perfect piece.




dahlia rug

I saw such a fantastic display of Dahlias in the garden at Holland Park one September that I had to return later that day with a proper camera to photograph them. I knew one of these would end up being a fabulous Dahlia-inspired rug design.




dew drops rug

When I first moved to London and was studying in the Westminister/Pimlico area. I grew fond of capturing the texture of the tree bark on the old trees in the area. It was only after I created a drawing from one of the photographs that I realized it looked a lot like water droplets - and so, the Dew Drops rug was born.




prism rug

The rock and mineral collections of the Natural History Museum provided a wealth of inspiration for my Geology rugs and wallpaper, like this fan-like crystal formation that inspired the Prism Rug.




kaleidoscope rug

Who would have guessed that the flamboyant, showy Kaleidoscope rug, the first rug I ever created and still one of my most popular, was inspired by this humble leaf?




flutes wallpaper

I have never seen such interesting, exotic-looking reeds until I snapped these at Kew Gardens on a research trip. I later found out they were called Pitcher plants and were actually carnivorous! They were the inspiration for my Flutes wallpaper.




polygon wallpaper

While looking around for inspiration in the cactus section of the Cambridge Botanical Gardens I stumbled upon this intriguing hexagonal rock formation as well - which provided a great source of inspiration for my Polygon Wallpaper.




posted on 2017 / 04 / 09

urban jungle - how to decorate with plants this spring

With biophilic design and Greenery at the forefront of the interior world, it makes sense to take a leaf out of nature’s book and bring some of the outside in. Here are three great ways to use plants to bring your home to life and create a fresh, Spring-like look.

standing out – in the studio/craft room

For a functional space with a fun, fresh feel, pair hardwearing, natural materials with bold colours and a statement, standing plant.

With striking, sword-shaped leaves and eventually blooming with tiny white flowers, the Yucca plant is ideal for livening up what should be a creative, inspiring space. Style with the Tree Stump rug, Made’s ash-and-metal ‘Edelweiss’ desk and Habitat’s recycled newspaper bin for a cool, colourful, look.

Waste paper basket, Habitat; desk,; Yucca plant, B&Q;

trail blazing – in the lounge

Your lounge should be a place for relaxing and rejuvenating – perfectly captured with a few trailing plants. Cement the laidback vibe with calm colours and soft textures.

My favourite trailing house plant is the Fishbone Cactus, which sports elegant, zig-zag leaves. Stagger several different pots of the cactus on minimalist ladder shelving (here I've chosen the beached fir style by Loaf) and continue the tranquil theme with a light backdrop, like the Turtle Swarm wallpaper in Frost. Finish by taking five in a plush armchair – this teal option, from Dwell, is ideal.

decorating-with-plants-calm-lounge Cactus, Perfect Plants; ladder shelving, Loaf; chair, Dwell.

hanging pretty – in the kitchen/diner

Tick two trends off at once – luxurious copper tones and refreshing foliage – by hanging a terrarium in your space.

The artisanal continues to be a big trend in 2017, so Etsy is a great place to start for terrariums – whether a DIY kit or a ready-to-go design. Continuing the handmade theme, our hand-tufted rugs, like Glow in Vivid Orange, make a stylish addition to any room, and hand-finished wooden pieces, such as this table from Multiyork, together with these gorgeous reclaimed timber chairs from Little Tree Furniture Co, are practical yet handsome.

how-to-decorate-with-plants-rustic-kitchen-diner Table, Multiyork; terrarium, Etsy; chair, Little Tree Furniture Co

The theme doesn’t have to stop there. It’s not unusual to adorn a bathroom window ledge with coloured pot plants, or incorporate a living herb garden into your kitchen – see my Pinterest for more great. And, of course, you can always reference the look of plants and flowers with my nature-inspired rug and wallpaper collections, like Woodland and Floral Explosion.

posted on 2017 / 04 / 04

out and about - josef frank exhibition at the fashion and textile museum

A few weeks ago, I visited the Josef Frank exhibition at the Fashion & Textile museum in London. Josef Frank was an Austrian designer who spent much of his career designing colourful, eclectic fabric prints for Svensk Tenn in Sweden. It Is always truly inspiring to see such a cohesive body of work from a designer who has managed to develop a unique, individual style which is instantly recognizable as their work. Here are my top picks from the exhibition.

vegetable tree fabric

This print depicts many different types of fruit and vegetables all growing out of the same tree - its bold, colourful, graphic style and use of many different colours and motifs was representative of the whole exhibition for me.



rox & fix

This print of mountain silhouettes was inspired by Chinese landscape painting, and I loved it as it was so different from a lot the other things on show and had a wonderfully abstract, ambiguous quality to it. I’m hoping to incorporate landscapes/landscape art into one of my upcoming collections in some way - have a look at some of my inspiration on Pinterest and stay tuned!



This fabric was inspired by houseplants. I liked the simple sophistication of only using green and brown hues – it was a start contrast to many of the other fabrics which seemed to use every colour in the rainbow. Plus, it is very much in keeping with this year’s greenery trend - just goes to show how much trends go in circles!


carpet frank nr. 3

Of course I had to sneak a rug in somewhere (there were a few in the exhibition)! This relaxed geometric design really reminded me of my Harvest rug.



I loved this bright, floral fabric - the bright pops of yellow were really refreshing and the flamboyant, exotic flower shape really reminded me of my Passiflora rug.



The Terrazo fabric was inspired by a mosaic floor, and was a unique and refreshing change from the floral and vegetal prints that dominated the rest of the exhibition. It really reminded me of my Geology rug and wallpaper collection.


josef frank's watercolour paintings

One of the unique things about this exhibition was that it didn’t just focus on Josef Frank’s textiles but also his paintings, many of which have never been exhibited until now. I have been getting back into painting myself as well so it was nice to see parallels between the two disciplines in someone else’s work. My personal favourite was this painting of the hillside in the French countryside.


The exhibition is running until May 7, 2017 and has been very popular, if my Instagram feed is anything to go by! See it today at the Fashion and Textile Museum at 83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF

posted on 2017 / 03 / 17

top interior trends for spring 2017

Spring is just around the corner – which means it’s time to make your interior new season-ready. So prepare to update with colour, add interest with a mix of new materials and be daring when it comes to laying out your rooms.


Pantone’s colour of the year is Greenery (not to be confused with the darker Kale that’s also big news). Fitting for spring, Greenery is ‘nature’s neutral’ – a colour that echoes the renewal of plants and the start of a new year.  Bursting onto the scene after 2016’s troubled political climate and associated commentary, it arguably hangs onto the coattails of the past year’s interior love affair with biophilic design (a love of the natural world, frequently captured by ‘bringing the outside in’).

Other colours on the radar? Pinks (from Pale Dogwood, an extension of 2016’s Rose Quartz, to the vivacious coral, Flame), blues (such as royal blue Lapis, aqua Island Paradise and denim-like Niagara) and even a pretty yellow (Primrose). Other predictions include the continuing rise of pastels, a shift from greys to purple, teal, burgundy and earthy brown.

Greenery is definitely nothing new for Interiors by Element as it has always been one of my favourite colours (indeed, it is pretty much our brand colour!). Get the look with three of the most popular Interiors by Element rugs that exemplify Greenery.

pantone-2017-greenery-green-rugs Left to right: Flutes Rug, Pond Life Rug and Frond Rug, all green rugs from the Woodland Collection from Interiors by Element


Terracotta – no surface is safe from familiar, rich clay tones, where feature walls, fireplace cladding and classic tiled flooring all get an update. It’s a marked (and matte) move away from the smooth sheen of marble that dominated in 2016. Of course, classic terracotta crockery or pots can also nod to the trend. Try the Polygon wallpaper in Burnt Orange to create a warm, inviting feature wall that gives a nod to this trend.

Cork – this often-overlooked material takes centre stage this season. Décor can be as simple as offering a chic accent with a small side table, or as practical as providing noise absorption in open-plan spaces. Our favourite? The all-over organisation of a corkboard makeover. There’s even a trend for offsetting cork’s natural warmth against stark black for a striking look.

Metals – bronze and copper are making a big comeback, especially in antiqued, hammered and oiled forms. Just the thing to bring that touch of opulence.

Plants – whether draping vines, standing plants or succulents in terrariums, nature is the season’s accessory of choice – directly channelling Pantone’s Greenery. Look out for our blog on accessorising with plants later in the year.

Acrylics – from quirky frames to plastic furniture and funky lights, this is a modern take on a tried-and-tested retro trend. If you’re not ready for the commitment, try sheer, floaty fabrics for a more subtle homage. Or, accessorise with small, practical pieces – storage boxes, letter racks and even coasters.

ss17trends-materials-cork-terracotta-metal-acrylic Clockwise: wallpaper, Polygon from Interiors by Element; board, Wayfair; drawers, John Lewis; vase, LuisaViaRoma; light, firstchoicelighting; plants, Ikea.


Open-plan has long been the interior layout of choice, but this looks set to change in favour of ‘zoned homes’, where your personal space might be a yoga spot, craft corner or sewing space. Like revitalising Greenery, interiors are moving into nurturing territory.

A desire to disconnect from tech and unplug & unwind has also seen a resurgence in the Victorian reading nook – whether hiding below stairs, positioned as a window seat or even claiming an unused hallway space.

ss17trends-interiors-layout-green-interiors-shed-reading-nook Left to right: corner nook, garden getaway, window seat


Following on from 2016, the artisan, the upcycled and the personalised all gleam in Spring’s spotlight. Indulge in big pile, handwoven textiles, try your hand at DIY to update old furniture, or bag one-of-a-kind home accessories with your name on – there’s endless ways to create a stylish space unique to you. And, don't forget that you can customize the colour and size of any of my rug and wallpaper designs or order something completely bespoke to suit your space – get in touch today to get started!

posted on 2017 / 02 / 28

statement rug or stylish backdrop? ways to work neutrals in your interior

You asked, I listened! While you love bright colours, many of you also say they can be tricky to incorporate into an interior or (for my trade clients) to convince your customers to be brave enough to go for them. Following demand for more muted colour schemes, I’ve created a capsule collection of six of my most popular rugs reworked in sophisticated, neutral colourways. These elegant designs make for a calming, nature-inspired backdrop in any interior. Here, I show you how to style them as either the original statement pieces or the new neutral backdrops.

sediment rug: statement vs. backdrop

In pared-back shades of mushroom grey and pale sand, Sediment's new colourway forms the perfect backdrop to a stylish living space. Add a vibrant note with colourful furniture and gold-toned lighting.

look-1a-sediment-neutral-how-to-style Interior from French by Design. Chair from and light from

Sediment’s original colourscheme features layers of earthy tones to create a textured, dynamic look. Style with a monochrome chevron cushion to contrast with the pattern and pick out the rich mustard hues with a bright chair.

look1b-sediment-chocolate-how-to-style Interior from Cushion from and chair from

frond rug: statement vs. backdrop

Soften the look of Frond’s striking, angular print by choosing the new essential design, which works perfectly against minimalist wooden shelving and vibrant house plants.

look2a-frond-sepia-how-to-style Interior from HGTV. Deer head from and sideboard from

Alternatively, lift your interior with Frond in the brignt blue Frost colourway, which harmonises with Scandi-inspired accessories, like this decoupage-style stag head and simple wooden cabinet.

look-2b-frond-frost-how-to-style Interior from Buzzfeed. Plant from IKEA and shelves from Furniture in Fashion.

pond life rug : statement vs. backdrop

Pond Life’s zesty green colourway looks particularly lively when styled with rich plum tones, as seen on this sofa, and bursts of yellow, like this textured pouffe.

look-3a-pond-life-spring-green-how-to-style Interior from Ideal Home. Sofa from Loaf and Pouf from Maisons du Monde.

For a softer look, Pond Life's new neutral colourway takes on a cool, contemporary look when paired with light wood and stark white pieces, such as this on-trend bar stool and striking table.

look3b-pond-life-sand-how-to-style Interior from Refinery29. Table from and stool from Atlantic Shopping.

Browse the new Essentials rug collection to see all the new designs, and be sure to visit the Interiors by Element Pinterest page for more interiors ideas and inspiration.

posted on 2017 / 02 / 10

sign up for our newsletter