How to create a unique interior

Written by

08 May 2019


5 min read

Often, homeowners can't afford to kit out their whole house with designer furniture. Chris Heard, who owns contemporary furniture company Bauhaus, recently gave ArchiPro some tips on creating an individualised, comfortable space with a mixture of types of furniture...

Often, homeowners can't afford to kit out their whole house with designer furniture. Chris Heard, who owns contemporary furniture company Bauhaus, recently gave ArchiPro some tips on creating an individualised, comfortable space with a mixture of types of furniture.


What are some key tips around mixing designer furniture with other pieces of lesser value?

As Kiwis, we all seem to be quite eclectic in the way we procure our furniture. We might have a piece of rosewood turned furniture from the mid-century that we inherited from our parents, who inherited it from their parents. We hold that dear and we don’t want to get rid of it, but it doesn’t always sit quite right with our renovated bungalow or villa. It can be hard trying to slot in our new contemporary furniture that is more our own taste.

It’s important to be conscious of the pieces and the colour tones that you’re working with and not try to hide the other pieces too much. They can be used as statement pieces, and when they’re mixed with the right textures and tones they contribute to an individual aesthetic.

The Around coffee table in two sizes, designed by Thomas Bentzen for MUUTO.

What sort of tones or textures do you like at the moment?

For some reason, Kiwis are afraid of colour and of expressing themselves – you can see that on any trip to the supermarket where everybody is wearing black. People often buy beiges and blacks, but I suggest bringing some colour and vibrancy into your life – it makes your pieces of furniture fun. My advice is – be bolder in your design choices!

Throughout Europe, and even Asia, the homes are full of colour because they’re not afraid of it like we are. I have a massive pastel pink Muuto sofa in our home that I bought about 4 years ago and it still looks great today. I certainly don’t regret buying it – even when my 3-year-old rubs chocolate into it!


What is important not to do when mixing furniture styles in a space?

I’m not an interior designer so I’m sure there are a whole lot of rules but, for me, I would say don’t be too contrived – don’t try to make your house look like a staged photo from an architectural digest or a furniture store ad. You’ll tie yourself in knots and your space will come out looking a bit cookie cutter and like you’ve tried too hard.

What are the most important furniture pieces, to your mind, to get right?

The sofa and the dining table are the big ones. After your house and car, a sofa is often the next most expensive thing in your life and, depending on how you live, you are on your sofa a bit of the time. It’s important to get right as it’s often the biggest piece of furniture in the home and is an opportunity to set the tone for your whole room.

You need to think about how you’re using it, is it in a lounge-type room where you’ll be watching a lot of Netflix, or is it a bit more formal and you need to be more upright to have a wine or a coffee with friends?

The dining table is also really important because of its surface area. Once you’ve got one you can dress it up with reasonably-priced chairs. The dining chairs might be a way to reinvent your space too every three or four years, as you can re-do them easily. The idea of finding statement dining chairs and getting them reupholstered with some cool fabric that you find at the back of a textile store is great.

Also, Kiwis are great DIYers and you’d be amazed what you can do to an old dining table just by sanding it back, putting some nice oil on it and bringing it back to life. It’s really rewarding and you’re making a unique, individual piece of furniture. We live in a throwaway society but we can do a lot more in terms of recycling, upcycling and making an effort, instead of just throwing something away.

You've just come back from a buying trip in Asia - what sort of interior design themes or trends did you see on the trip?

I go to all the Asian furniture fairs each year and this year I was in Vietnam, Singapore, Jakarta and Guangzhou. To get the true leading furniture styles you need to go the European fairs, such as Milan, Cologne and Paris, otherwise you often see a lot of the followers or fast adopters.

However, in Asia, I saw a lot of electroplated brass and copper finishes, and a lot of Carrara marble, all of which have been around for a while. With panel furniture, such as entertainment units, bedside tables, kitchen cabinetry etc, the profiles are becoming much thinner to reflect the smaller homes people are now living in. It makes the pieces a bit more delicate and lends itself to the softer, Scandi aesthetic that we’re seeing right now.


Finally, for you, what is the most important factor to take into consideration when planning the interiors of a home?

Be true to yourself and design a space for you and your family, not what you think your friends want to see, or what would impress others. We spend a lot of time in our homes, so it needs to look and feel right for you.

Find out more about Bauhaus on ArchiPro here.

Fiber bar stools, available from Bahaus.
Fiber bar stools, available from Bahaus.