Bedroom style advice from the founder, creator and mastermind of 13 Interiors, Kelly Donougher
One of the many things we love and admire about Kelly Donougher, aside from her prowess when it comes to creating mood through colour and texture, is her considered and relevant business philosophy. 13 Interiors is an interior design business named after the 12 elements of design, with you in mind. And who wouldn’t want their individual personality, tastes and requirements (including budget) tailored for, especially by someone with the experience and talent of Kelly? This ‘design-aphile’ with a passion for creating beautiful spaces that are both original and practical, has us wanting to know more. It doesn’t hurt either that we think she has extremely good taste in bed frames (hehe) already featuring two Snooze beds in her lovely home. The Dusk bed frame with trio headboard is always styled to perfection in her master bedroom (and often featured on our instagram feed). The Paddington storage bed in slate is featured in her guest room and is styled with rich grey tones and deep textured cushions and throws. So, we asked Kelly a few questions to try and get inside her mind and borrow (or steal) a few styling tips.
When did your love of interiors and an interest in interior design develop?
For as long as I can remember I’ve always had a passion for creating spaces. My Mum is a Dressmaker and my Nan was a Pastry Chef, so creativity is definitely in our blood! I remember as far back as being 10 years old drawing floor plans with my colouring pencils and creating my dream bedroom. I still remember the exact floor plan of this room I created and the dream of having an upstairs level. I was always wishing that Mum and Dad would add another level to our family home, ha, yes true story. I spent many a weekend exploring display homes with my parents waiting for them to decide whether we were going to renovate, extend or build again. My brother and I would race through each display home dreaming about which room was ours, marking our territory before the other got their hands on it! I’m laughing looking back at how much that probably impacted my design style and my expensive taste! Thanks Mum!
But I think it’s safe to say I was born with an attraction to the world of interior design.
When it comes to creating bedrooms, how do you ensure you take both partners aesthetic & personalities into consideration?
I still laugh when I think back to the hot pink and black themed bedroom my Mum created in the 80s. She declared the pink was for her and the black was for Dad, yes another true story. Thankfully times have evolved and there are plenty of ways to create looks for all personalities, although don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that hot pink and black was an ‘on trend’ look in the 80s. It’s important to remember how each person uses the space, and I’m not just talking about sleep. I ask questions - are they a couple that likes to read, watch TV or just lounge around and relax? Our bedrooms are so much more than just a place to sleep - they need to be inviting and a place to escape the whirlwind outside...and the kids if you have them!
For my linens I like to keep it clean and simple, layered with rich textures and warm tones which can be moved around to create different looks. I feel dark and moody tones create a sophisticated look and suit any aesthetic. I love big high bed heads for the master suite to give it a feeling of grandeur, creating a focal point to the room, hence the stunning Dusk bed frame in my own home. I love to position art on a different wall to the bed so that the bed frame remains the main feature. I always leave the flowers on the bedside for the flower lover and create a stylish bedside area with ‘on trend’ lamps and a stack of books that are being read. I add a comfy chair or ottoman in the corner draped with a throw if, and only if, there is space.
What tips do you have for creating a masculine look and feel, without taking away from the luxe element?
Clean lines, uncluttered surfaces and warm tones achieve luxury without being overly masculine. I love using shades of grey as the base palette and then introduce two other colours using the 60% / 30% /10% rule. Creating an inviting mood is so important in any room and lighting plays a huge part in that. Warm lighting is also perfect for ‘relaxing’ spaces, and can add magic to a bedroom without coming across as feminine. For a sophisticated element I pair darker fabrics and materials with different textures and patterns to keep that luxury feel alive.
How can one add texture without going overboard and over styling?
To me texture is so much more than cushions and throws and can be brought to the bedroom in so many ways without over styling. I love introducing, timbers, leathers, marbles and metals to create pockets within a room of styled texture. It allows each corner of the room to flow to the next whilst maintaining those clean lines and uncluttered spaces. I love to incorporate the timber of the bed frame with textured bedheads, marble and metal elements into bedsides and lamps, abstract art and of course beautiful faux furs and linens for the throws and cushions. All whilst still creating an inviting, luxurious and sophisticated space without looking over styled.
Where do you turn for styling inspiration?
Gosh there are so many people and places to draw inspiration from but I am a huge fan of Grand Living designs and the very clever Houzz app. Houzz gives me 24/7 access to a world of images and articles from designers, builders and architects all over Australia. Plus I’m a huge magazine lover. My ‘go to’ mags are Adore, Home Beautiful and Real Living. They are an ‘Interiors’ heaven!! There’s nothing better than sitting back with a coffee and my favourite mag and flicking through the latest goss on trends and homes. Lastly, the daily dose of interior design reality tv - who doesn’t love watching The Block right?! LOVE it.
What advice would you give to ‘you’ in the very early days of starting your own interiors business?
Collaborate and align with brands and people who are speaking your language. In a digital world where social media is crucial to getting your brand out there, it’s important to build a network of people who you trust that can provide support, guidance and networking opportunities. Don’t ever be afraid to put yourself out there and ask questions and volunteer. And of course, be true to your brand, vision and your goals from day one.