Decorating Your Living Space with Interior Stylist, Jacqui Manson
BY ROXY ALLNUTT
The importance of loving your ‘lived in’ space.
11 OCT - 2022
Don't be overwhelmed by the thought of decorating your living space.
It feels so amazing to be chatting about all things interiors, inspiration and the all-important living room with one of my favourite gurus, Jacqui Manson. Jacqui has been in the trade for many years, working as an interior stylist with Citta Design. She has a plethora of beautiful homewares, furniture, and interior decor constantly whirling through her mind, so I thought I would pick her brain for some design pointers and see what is inspiring her currently.
Jacqui’s aesthetic is easy-going and minimal, with a keen eye for classic, unique, and effortless sophistication through decor. Jacqui’s work favours a soft and muted colour palette with a hint of industrial style. I love her timeless approach to decorating and ensuring that all of her spaces are loved and livable.
As the living room is one of the most frequently used spaces in the home, it needs to both look good and work with you and your activities. Creating a beautiful, livable space can seem like a big project, but it doesn't have to weigh a tonne of stress. Jacqui has some tips below.
What determined your passion for design? Tell us about the moment when you decided this is the way to go.
I remember in San Diego in my early 20’s, my neighbour had some gorgeous homewares from the Pottery Barn. I was inspired by the way they looked and made her apartment so cool. I can recall thinking ‘Wow. I want my place to look like that.’ The seed was sown!
Tell us something unusual that happened in your career.
Funnily, probably my own tile choice in my family bathroom. I chose two hero tiles. Normally you just go for one. I liked them together, but then the tiler was putting them up, and I thought ‘Oh no, too much is going on.’ Gosh, I kept going in, staring at them and thinking I’ve made a big mistake. Fortunately, the finished product looks awesome and they are a real statement. Guess you’ve got to trust your gut instinct.
All of your work is very cohesive and has a natural, lived-in feel to it. What does the home as a living space mean to you?
A home should feel lived in and not too perfect like a showhome. Have pieces around you that you love, have a sentimental meaning that are special to only you. Combine these with some stylish pieces and you have a winning combination.
Do you consider form or function to be more important? Did you ever have to compromise one for the other?
Furniture placement and room layout are the most important functional and aesthetic aspects of a living room. If you get these wrong, the space doesn't work. In a kitchen or bathroom, all elements need to be functional as they are in very functional areas of the home. Your finishing pieces allow for your creativity to flourish, e.g., funky tiles, ambient lighting, etc.
What is the one object you can’t imagine a living room without?
I love a beautiful big mirror, it always adds a touch of glam.
You’ve seen hundreds of couches and chairs — what is your advice on selecting the right combination for a home?
Always measure your space and choose the right sofa for it. Think about how you use the area. Do you want slouchy comfort or a more formal look? Ensure you have enough seating options for the people who live in the home, plus a couple of extra chairs, etc., for you when friends come over.
Quick tips for styling a fireplace mantel
- A special photo of two.
- Dried flowers like hydrangeas add texture and you don't have to replace them frequently like fresh ones.
- Candles either grouped in different sizes or two singular ones in an elegant candle holder.
- A particular style item that you love eg. a ceramic or artistic object.
If you could have a nosy around anyone’s house, whose would it be?
Gosh, there are so many stunning homes. I’m constantly inspired by home and architecture magazines. I love a lot of Queenstown's new builds - high ceilings, lots of light, big windows, texture and stunning outlooks.
I admire Sally Ferguson’s style on The Block NZ. I like how she adds a touch of glamour to her rooms, so it would be fun to check out her home!