Here, interior stylist and busy mum of 5, Clara Willis, shares her tips on how to create a bedroom sanctuary, what her pet peeves are when it comes to bedroom interiors and how she unwinds from a busy day styling and mummying her 5 girls.
How did you get into interior styling?
I’m originally from England and lived in London and France as a youngster. Interior styling has always been a passion of mine, and I have my Mum to thank for it. She was always very on trend with interior design and as a child our family home was constantly being redecorated with furnishings regularly updated. As a teenager I found myself always wanting to help her update our home. When I started to travel the world in my early twenties I found further inspiration from the exquisite interiors and architecture throughout Europe. I moved to New Zealand with my kiwi husband Ben in 2008, and started an interior consultancy with my sister-in-law, Two Creative Design, which we ran for a few years. I became a mother to five daughters Annabel, Claudia, Honor, Tallulah and Coco, and two pets, a Cavoodle called Bertie and cat called, Louis, and decided to take a slower pace. Nowadays, I consult on a freelance basis.
What do you think are some crucial things people miss when they design/ curate their bedroom space?
Lighting is extremely important. The correct lighting and dimmers for a bedroom are crucial for practicality and ambiance. An absolute must is the single spot light above each side of the bed for reading at night, this is key so you can read at any time without disturbing your partner.
Black out curtains for warmth and to block out unwanted light.
Sun filter blinds to stop your new bedding from fading.
And don’t forget scatter cushions (a favourite for most women!) They provide a lot of texture to a space and can create a sense of comfort. Scatter cushions always make me think of that funny scene from ‘Along Came Polly’.
Bedrooms are not just for sleeping but also for living, relaxing, and unwinding. Give us your top 5 decor and styling tips to turn your bedroom into a sensory experience?
A nice comfy reading chair with lighting.
A cosy blanket or throw.
Clean smelling freshly laundered linen.
Calming colours, recommend muted and earthy, natural tones. Blue is the most relaxing, and toned down or muted shades promote better sleep than more vibrant primary ones.
Your top 5 bedroom essentials and why?
Good quality NZ made Comfi mattress is a must! (yes I have one and I love it)
French linen sheets.
‘Slip’ silk eye mask.
A latex and a feather pillow.(Yes, I sleep with both)
Ventilation - fresh air or a breeze is so important to me, I always have a window open.
Your top 5 pet peeves when it comes to curating the bedroom and why?
Clutter: Bedside tables with old clutter are not a good look or vibe, neither are fully cluttered draws in the tables/ stands.
An unmade bed or bed that hasn’t been made properly with intention.
Old and wonky mattresses and flat pillows. Even with linen on you can see that they need to be renewed.
Not investing in correct lighting for the space as this is key for the unwinding in the evening.
The most beautiful looking and feeling bedroom you've ever been in?
Obviously, my own bedroom! I’m a sucker for lush bedrooms! But one of the most beautiful bedroom’s I’ve stayed in is a Castle in the south of France. With the views, smell of fresh lavender, French linen, stone walls the whole experience was amazing.
How important is sleep to you?
Sleep is top of the list and very important to me. I’m a busy mum of five so every morning I have to be refreshed and ready for the day.
What is your bedtime routine like?
I’m very English and always have a bath before bed. Once I’ve had my bath and ready for bed each of my girls come up and we enjoy a game of cards or just chat about their days. I then snuggle down with a good book and Bertie my Cavoodle. I always said I wouldn’t have any animals on the bed, but here we are and I wouldn’t change it for the world!
Clara was the stylist behind our recent shoot at our Comfi Hub. Get in touch with her if you’d like to find out more about her services. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hero shot- Photographed by Tam West @tamwest
Shot of Clara- Interior Stylist, Clara Willis.