A lesson in interior style: learn from the pros from the comfort of your own home
Style advice, design tips and decorating wisdom.
Mélanie, can you introduce yourself?
I have been an interior designer for more than ten years now and have founded my own design studio, Mwell Studio.
I wear a number of different hats: decorator, interior designer
(I design furniture too), curator for design professionals (I source
pieces from new designers) and speaker (I have been organising workshops for the past six years).
I did my first workshop in 2014 at Merci in Paris and since then I have also done a few with Le Monde Sauvage. I fell in love with the brand and the team years ago.
I have also been on the jury of Maison & Objet and have been a television presenter for La Maison France 5.
If I had to sum up my approach I would say that I have a fairly unconventional view of decorating. My work is centered on creating emotion and I love to use
colours and prints without limitation...
Your decorating mantra?
« The only limit is the one you create for yourself. »
I always try to encourage my clients, whether they be professionals or individuals, to step outside their comfort zone.
What do you think of the concept of good taste?
My grandmother liked to say
« To each their bad taste... »
Even if I always try to make a project as harmonious as possible I like the little accidents, the upsets, that give a place life and authenticity.
If you were a room?
I would have to say the kitchen… I am naturally quite greedy! On a more serious note, I am rather fed up of all the sterile kitchen you see everywhere at the moment.
I'm nostalgic for the kitchens of our grandmothers' era
where all the family tragedies and celebrations happened.
I recently had the chance to work on a kitchen « like a restaurant » (in the words of the client's brief) in a house designed by a pupil of Franck Lloyd Wright.
I learned about colour in London so you might say I have been influenced by punk! I like to take risks, mix between 3 and 5 colours, even if there isn't really a correct response to the 'how many colours' question. I like to use contrasting colours. Intensity and depth really draw me in.
I believe you should always bear these 4 questions in mind:
- How do colours communicate when you move from one room to another?
- When all the doors between rooms are open, what do you see?
- How does a room inform or affect the next one?
- When colours coexist in harmony, the effect can be truly magical.
Wallpaper: all over or just here and there?
I absolutely adore wallpaper. When a room is quite simple and pared back, like a corridor or an entrance for example, I love the option of wallpaper on a ceiling.
I tend to use it as a tool to redesign the layout of a room, to play with height and space.
The eye needs to be stimulated every day to be consistently drawn to a space. I recommend creating a really strong wall which gives a room another perspective.
Try to find a wallpaper with a timeless pattern, or something you can look at again and again!
The question of cushions comes up again and again in my workshops! It's really important to mix different heights and shapes to bring your sofa to life; ditto for mixing patterned cushions with plain ones.
Remember, the key number in decorating is an uneven number!
functional or show stopping?
esthétique de la pièce.
J’aurais tendance à l'imaginer dans
une couleur sombre puisque de toute manière,
en général, cette pièce manque de lumière ;
autant accentuer le côté théâtral.
Et puis, donner le ton du reste de votre intérieur
à ce stade avec des accents décoratifs forts.
And what about some lighting tips?
I don't like giving orders but frankly, try to avoid spotlights.
Above all, don't be afraid of shadows: they give a room mystery,
a particular charm. I love to put really big lamps on the ground, to give a sitting room a real 'chill out zone' feel.
Lighting can help to transform even the most boring room.
What will be your lasting lockdown memory?
I feel blessed to have been able to disconnect from the day to day grind and to look for inspiration for my work.
I have been doing a lot of Instagram lives.In our area in particular, we are starting to move away from trends as it's proving impossible to know what tomorrow's consumers will want.
The individual vision of a brand will be worth much more than fashion trends and predictions.