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How to make a house a home with Carolyn Parker

We spoke to highly-respected interior designer Carolyn Parker about what makes a house a home. With 30 years’ experience in the luxury interiors market, Carolyn is now listed as one of the top 20 designers in the UK by The Telegraph. From making your home feel cosier to adding a touch of luxury to a bland room, Carolyn provides us with her top tips on how to make your living space homelier.

 And her one big piece of decorating advice before we start; don’t try and fight the architecture of a space, work with it!


Over to Carolyn for more tips on how to make a house a home.



If you could only have one piece of furniture in your home, which would it be?

It would be my Savoir bed! A good night’s sleep is crucial and I worked with Savoir when I first went into business, after wondering what the fuss was about I finally bought one. I would even have to take it onto a desert island, it is bliss.


How do you make your living room feel cosy?

I am a great one for subdued lighting, candles and lots of scatter cushions. We live in North Yorkshire and it is very draughty, I am never too far away from a cashmere throw. So the luxury in life for me would be a scented candle and a cashmere throw.


Is there a certain colour scheme you have in your house to make it feel homely?

I tend to go for warm whites, the Yorkshire light especially in winter is dreary and the evenings are long. I like a neutral background with injections of colour. I have purples and camel colours in our sitting room.


How do you make an interior feel summery?

Lots of fresh flowers, floral prints and crisp colours. Crisp cotton fabrics and cool linens.




What’s the best way to add storage to a room?

Alcoves are great to fill in with bookshelves, I like solid cabinets with drawers in that can go beneath televisions. Wall mounted televisions can have slim shelves built around it with drawers and shelves beneath to hide kit and DVDs etc.

I like storage ottomans at the end of beds, they help complete a look and can store clean bedding etc. Lots of baskets for children’s toys and clothing.

Go for bedside chests that have drawers and shelves rather than just a table.


Would you rather have dark or light-coloured furniture? Does it depend on the room?

I love both, it all depends on the scheme. Dark furniture can look amazing in a pale contemporary scheme and equally pale furniture can look great in a pale surrounding as it looks fresh and airy. On the whole, antique furniture will tend to be dark and I never turn my back on a treasured piece of furniture.



You’ve had years of experience with luxury interiors – do you have any great tips for making a room feel luxurious?

I think the best value way of adding luxury is the choice of fabric. Velvets immediately spring to mind, lots of layers of cushions in velvets and wools. Throws give an added layer of texture.

Another tip is to change handles on furniture, it’s amazing what a gold or glass handle can do to give an ordinary piece a lift and a touch of glamour.

Wallpaper is a great way to add luxury, even if just a chimney breast or one wall is decorated.


And finally, the big question, what makes a house a home?

Love, a home full of photos, music softly playing and scented candles. The owner’s personality whether it be an old rug that’s been in the family for years or a souvenir from a holiday. I am a great believer of having a place for everything but that doesn’t have to mean locked out of site in a cupboard. A home is not a magazine set or a particular style, it’s a living breathing space, a retreat from the rest of the world. My eclectic nature shows in my own home but I am very lucky in that it is a very eclectic building!



Carolyn Parker Biography


Carolyn is the founder of Carolyn Parker Design, a company offering a bespoke interior design service for a range of clients in the UK and abroad. With a complete design package helping clients from planning to completion, a home styling and personal shopping service to add the finishing touches to a home, and a turnkey design package for clients abroad, Carolyn Parker Design covers all aspects of interior design, and always with the client in mind.

Carolyn’s company has been going from strength to strength thanks to her partner and daughter Abigail Owens. With ten years’ experience at Carolyn Parker Design, Abigail brings in a fresh flair to the business as the Design Director and has been creating a buzz in the industry with her exceptional attention to detail and creativity.

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