Evermore Guest: Clare Marie

As we welcome the light back into our lives and celebrate the arrival of spring, we've invited interior designer Clare Marie as a guest to the Journal. Clare gives us her top tips on making the most of the light in your home or space this spring and beyond.
Interior Designer Clare Marie

I am a freelance Interior Designer, based in South-East London. I believe that our surroundings change the way we feel and I love creating spaces which do just that. After renovating my family home, I was often asked if i’d ever considered Interior Design as a career. Having a background in music, I always knew I wanted to work in a creative industry and in my early twenties, I relocated from Cheshire to London to work with an Orchestra. Here I was introduced to the world of fundraising Gala’s which led me to the Royal Horticultural Society where I worked on events, such as the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show. During my time at the RHS, I studied Interior Design at KLC School of Design and am now working full time as a freelance interior designer.

Making the most of the natural light:

When you cannot make structural changes, there are many ways in which you can increase natural light through your home furnishings. Starting from the ground up, if you’re able to change your flooring then opting for wooden or tiled floors with a polished finish will reflect light more than carpets. If you prefer the softness of carpet, then opting for lighter shades will help. For soft furnishings, favour lighter shades where possible, especially for larger pieces. Pops of colour can be added through smaller items and accent pieces. Choosing the right window treatment is also key – blinds are a great option, offering privacy and light-filtering control. If you are able to place a mirror across from your window, this will double the amount of sunlight that enters the room.

The importance of colour:

Colour is one thing that can be changed relatively easily and is a cost-effective way to transform and bring joy into your home. Again, keeping colours light will help, but they don’t have to be just neutrals, you can also use pale tones of brighter colours. The fifth wall is also very important and having your ceiling the lightest shade of your colour scheme will make the room feel larger and brighter. Consider also using a more reflective paint finish such as satin, semi-gloss or even gloss.

Embarking on bigger projects:

If you’re embarking on a project which involves structural changes to your home, it’s the perfect time to consider adding or changing the style or size of any existing windows or doors. Skylights are great, as not only do they not require planning permission, but they also allow three times as much brighter light to flood into the room. It’s also worth considering the outside space around your home and how you use it or want to use it in the future. For rooms that look onto a garden, it works well to replace any windows with glazed doors such as bifold, sliding or French doors. Having that connection to the garden all year round will not only bring in more natural light, making the room feel larger and brighter but having that connection to nature will ultimately bring more joy to your home.

Once the light fades:

Artificial light will always enhance any natural light that your home has. As well as creating the right ambiance, it’s also needed for task lighting – for example when you’re reading or cooking. To achieve the right lighting plan, you need to assess how you want to use the room, any dark spots that need addressing and the overall mood you wish to create.

There are many ways in which to achieve this from wall lights, down lights, table lamps and candles. My top tip is to always have your lights on dimmers so that you can control the brightness as the natural light alters throughout the day.

If you would like more information on Clare’s work, please visit her website or Instagram below.

Visit Clare’s website: claremariedesign.com

Follow Clare on Instagram: @claremariedesign

Images by Liz Seabrook