I first became a fan of designer Kelly Hoppen’s inimitable style when I visited her store in South Kensington, London. I had just graduated and was living in a poky rental in Islington with vivid pink walls and unsalubrious neighbors. Her store seemed like a refuge of tasteful calm.

Kelly Hoppen is sometimes referred to as the queen of taupe. But her style is anything but drab, as her latest book, Kelly Hoppen Interiors, proves. It’s full of deeply glamorous spaces, rich with luxurious texture, seductive lighting and exquisite attention to detail. Best of all, it reveals some of the trademark secrets that define Kelly’s unique style. So, for those who aspire to a Hoppen-like home, here are my favorite tips.

Doors and floors
Kelly’s interiors are often characterized by spectacular decorative doors and door hardware. Large-scale, full-height doors are a regular feature, especially when they’re sliding or folding. She views door handles as being as important to a room as earrings to an outfit, and the range of crystal, metal and glass fixtures in her spaces proves why.

Floors are equally important. The book is full of interiors with beautiful dark wood floors and custom silk rugs with contrasting borders. Hoppen says she treats floors as art works, and it shows. She’s not afraid to mix different types of flooring in a single space, in order to define different areas.

Banners and buttons

A key signature detail that any homeowner could emulate, is Kelly’s banners. These are contrasting bands of color or material that run up a wall, over a floor, or even around a pillow. A run of dark wood across a white resin bathroom floor, for example, can link a window to a freestanding tub. Even a simple band of contrasting fabric around a pillow can make a bed seem custom-designed. Banners are a simple way to bring cohesion to a space.

Buttons are another regular feature on upholstery and pillows, especially these over-sized horn buttons, which are a simple way to ensure a pulled-together, luxurious look.

Organic shapes

Kelly uses organic shapes throughout her interiors, including furniture, lighting and architectural elements. While a coffee table made from carved tree roots might not be in everyone’s reach, the principle can be applied to every budget. Wood blocks as stools, ornamental sculptural stone balls and round mirrors are all cost-effective ways to get the look.


Where do I start with this? The book is packed full of rooms with every imaginable luxurious texture: from glossy lacquered surfaces, to quilted velvet, to silver chain fringing. I also love the more homely materials, such as the wood cladding used in this chalet bedroom below. Although the oversized bedspread would drive me crazy, you have to admit that the combination of exposed wood with sumptuous fabrics and glamorous lighting is pretty special.

Decorative displays

Kelly is the master of the display. She uses repetition, grouping and color to create an effortless effect. Some memorable tips? Reflective glossy surfaces are great for displaying silver and glass.  Rows of goldfish bowls can be filled with moss, shells or candles for a cost-effective display. And, never display a pair of items at jaunty angles. (This last was a revelation to me – after years of arranging everything at angles, I’ve now gone round and straightened it all out and it looks miles better – much to the amusement of my family…)

Overall, Kelly Hoppen Interiors fits the bill as both coffee-table book and text book, with plenty of images for inspiration, but tips to create the look at home too.

Credits: all photographs by Mel Yates.