At The Lounge Co., we’re lucky enough to get to know some talented interior designers who use our furniture in their projects. Gemma Shield stood out to us with her elegant designs and sophisticated styling. We asked Gemma about her career and got some top tips on interior design.
How did you become an Interior Designer?
I only became an Interior Designer last year after starting my Instagram page. I had people approaching me asking if I could work with them. Initially I always thought you would need certain qualifications to trade as a designer but this isn’t the case. I completed a course with IDBS online which teaches you how to run a successful Interior Design company and my own business has gone from strength to strength. I’ve had a passion for design from a young age, with a creative eye and a love for styling, but never pursued it until recently.
Examples of Gemma’s interior design
Have you got a ‘signature style’?
My Signature style is ‘Classic Contemporary’, I love to be able to use old and modern together. Many of my clients approach me due to liking this style themselves, but I can adapt to what a client requires.
How do you combine form and function?
I combine Form and Function together by finding unique items that are a visually pleasing focal point but at the same time offer a function and purpose. For example, a sofa may look nice and be made of a luxury fabric but it needs to be comfortable and suitable for that environment. I advocate the ‘try before you buy’ process and order fabric swatches, the best way to see a fabric in different lights and match to paints and accessories. You can order up to 8 FREE swatches from The Lounge Co. to begin your 'new sofa' journey.
What inspires you?
Mother nature inspires me every day, it’s a great way of finding colours, textures, patterns and shapes. I always say if you're struggling for ideas, go out for a walk and look around you. I’m lucky to live in the North of England, where we have a lot of beautiful countryside and coast from which to find inspiration.
If you could makeover a celebrity’s house – who would you choose?
Hugh Jackman. He’s the nicest, most genuine celebrity on the planet. I can imagine he would be great to work with, have a lot of stories to tell and plenty of interesting objects from his travels with which to style his home.
What is your favourite project to date?
To date, it has to be my ongoing ‘Surrey’ project. I was lucky enough to be offered a big overhaul on a 6 bedroom house which requires a full makeover from top to bottom. Such a great opportunity at the start of my career, so I am very thankful to my clients for this choosing me to work on this project.
What do you think is going to be the biggest interiors trend of 2020?
My prediction for 2020 is that we'll be going back to our roots and having more handmade, eco-friendly furniture. Reducing plastic use and wastage by incorporating natural materials like straw and bamboo matched with earthy colour palettes like pale terracotta, greens and blues. We’ll see plaster effects and finishes on walls and accessories.
Do you consider sustainability / environmental issues when designing?
I certainly take this into consideration when I am sourcing as I am always trying to help where I can to reduce our use on plastics, a product that is used a lot in Interiors. I will always offer the more sustainable option or recommend buying second hand if possible.
If someone wants to freshen up their living room but haven’t got a huge budget, where’s the best place to start?
The best place to start is to focus your budget on main items like sofas. You need to invest in these because they're the main item in your lounge. Accessories and extra furniture can come along the way, don’t worry about filling a room with impulse buys just to finish it. My favourite places to buy accessories, particularly if you’re on a budget, is The Range, TKmaxx, Next Home and Wayfair.
Interior Design schemes by Gemma Shield
What key points should people consider when buying a new sofa?
Always make sure you sit on a sofa before you buy! You’ll also need to take the following points into consideration: • Sizing • Function • Comfort • Style • Price
What is your favourite Lounge Co. Sofa?
The Mallory Corner Sofa in Family Friendly Soft Velvet – Moss Opal.
This is a great sofa as its soft neutral colouring is a great base for adding in extra colour with cushions and accessories. It‘s effortlessly stylish and a perfect pick for a contemporary living room.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into Interior Design?
My advice would be always be prepared and always do your research. The design process consists of a lot of factors, it’s a lot more than just fluffing pillows. Try to stand out and create a style that resonates with you; it’s easy to fall in a pool of the same types. Most of all though if you desire it so much go for it as your gut feeling is usually correct.