Diane Hill owns the room

Diane Hill’s work as a Chinoiserie artist goes hand in hand with her love of all things beautiful and decorative. Colour and hand-painting are part of her identity as an artist, and when it comes to her own home, Diane certainly looks to inject colour and brightness wherever possible.

With a love of Pinterest and creating mini mood boards to guide her through, Diane, ever relatable, shares her own personal perspective on owning the room.

You share so much of your own art and a sense of who you are. Creatively owning home design can be tricky to master, how do you, as an artist yourself, approach this?

It’s definitely a challenge in the sense that, just because you’re good at your craft, in my case, painting and drawing, it does not make me an interior designer, by any means. I think it takes a lot of learning. When I look back at my home design from 10 years ago it feels so basic but it’s a journey of discovery. I’ve always had the urge to make my home interiors different and infused with personality and colour. I might have done it badly when I was younger, but it was always there at the heart of the space.

Pinterest has helped so much to curate ideas. I take a lot of inspiration from there for style tips and confident ways to present design at home. The technical elements of it I need help with so that’s when I look to interior designers who share their tips online and then I build my colours around these ideas. It’s about building on your own ideas and preferences, organically.

How do you approach the creative side of your home design?

I use my iPhone notes and Pinterest a lot and I research. I might be on Instagram scrolling my favourite accounts, I will save the links and constantly add and edit. Everything is better when you take your time and don’t rush into filling a blank space. My bedroom, for example, I have been planning for so long. I knew I wanted the bed in the centre of the room, and that I was going to paint my existing bedside tables (I’m a huge fan of upcycling), and I had been searching for this ‘perfect’ sideboard for ages to complete the room. I finally found the right one; I painted it, changed the handles and it has come to life as something that suits my style. The same goes with the bedding and curtains. These ideas have been saved up, waiting to be used for a long time, either in my notes or on my saved pins. I don’t rush into the design.

Tell us a little about your home and your favourite rooms? How did the design come together and how does it represent you as an artist amongst many other things?

I’m really open about my home and it has been featured a lot because of my murals. These murals move on and evolve though. My home has been the slowest work in progress. When we first moved in, we knocked down walls but did the majority of the work ourselves over time. We did a lot of painting, there were lots of pots of colour everywhere. Everything we’ve done has had an organic progression, a layering of design over time, and been sourced piece by piece. I like to team up second-hand finds with little touches of luxury. That’s just our style. And it’s colourful. Definitely. With a plan to add more colour. Now that my wallpaper collection with Harlequin is here, I don’t have to paint the walls by hand anymore! Before now, my house was the practice canvas.

The room I love the most is my daughter’s room, the one that has been the main catalyst for this whole adventure. I really love turquoise and blue with pops of pink so that mural will always be a favourite of mine. It’s that connection to summertime and nature. I’m a real summer person and these blues remind me of the sky and the sea. That room that I painted for her in those strong turquoise and pink shades, was the starting point and now, you can find the refined version in the Harlequin wallpaper I’ve designed.

How do you design to reflect all your personalities within the space?

There is actually quite a bit of pink in the house and my husband knows that design is my passion so he has his own ‘man cave’ space which allows me to experiment with colour in other areas. With our bedroom, I just went for it and there was some hesitation, my husband thought it would be super intense but I reassured him that it would work. Chinoiserie does, somehow, make a space look bigger, I think because it gives the illusion of looking through a forest, so this worked really well when countering any bold colour used as it balances beautifully, and he loves it!

Colour, although powerful can still be harmonious. In this particular room, as an example, all the furniture is blue, so it almost camouflages the intensity. I had the coving, skirting and shelving all painted to match the background colour of the wallpaper, to make it invisible. I wanted it to feel calm, even in amongst the pattern of the paper.

Throughout the rest of the house, I’ve used shades and textures to bring neutrality to the colours used. They’re still there but are tonal. Sanderson paint is amazing for this. I really enjoy injecting colour with non-permanent pieces like cushions, artwork and lampshades too. Rugs as well. Pieces that you can change and move about. This makes it more adaptable to changing tastes and personalities too.

Aside from Chinoiserie, what design styles speak to you and how do you like your home to feel as well as look?

I like my home to be bright. My family can’t believe how much light I need in my life. It has to flood in, and I think this relates back to my love of summer. In my studio, I have two huge LED daylight panels so I’m always working with ‘daylight’. But at night, I love lamps and candles, for a cosiness that comes from the warmth of good light and good fragrance too. I love having people at my house. This is a really social space. It’s a hub for family and friends. Full of colour and warmth.

You took the Harlequin Quiz, what were your results?

I was Retreat, which makes total sense! Mixing second-hand pieces with colour, it hit the nail on the head – feminine, glamorous with hints of deco. I love having special pieces that are repurposed, combined with colour and always an element of glam and gold.

What does owning the room mean to you?

Being happy and content, knowing that this is you. Homes should match the way you dress in many ways. If you dress in full colour but have a beige interior, it’s in conflict, a mismatch. Your clothes are very suggestive of how you like your interiors. If you look at a colour palette in life - for me, it’s pink and turquoise - and it makes you happy, then work with it.

Finally, I’d say, take light inspiration from others but always feel empowered to go your own way – you’ll never get it right if you try and replicate it. Owning the room means going with your gut and searching for your own personal solution to design harmony.

Diane took our Own the Room Quiz and is the Retreat look, tranquil and full of feminine glamour.  Which of our four looks will you be? Find out by taking our Quiz and discover design that reflects you.


posted on 09 Aug 2022 in Interiors

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