Sunday 22 April 2018

Designer notes... from Ciara Smullen of SKI Interiors

John Brennan

Ciara Smullen is a director at SKI Interiors. The company has been running for 16 years and comprises the talents of Ciara, her mother Helen Smullen and her aunt Rita Burke-Keane. Specialising in both commercial and residential interiors, they have a showroom in Naas, Co Kildare.

Don't be too anxious to finish a room

The biggest pitfall for people is getting too anxious to fill a room and buying products that they don't really love. Get the items you really love, otherwise you're only wasting money. People shouldn't rush in to try and finish rooms - it's the finishing items that take the longest, and it's those items that make the room. It's the rugs, the cushions and the artwork that finish it. It's about having patience.

Neutral Colour Schemes

What I would consider your base - floors, carpets and wall colour - should be kept to a neutral palette, because you can pull in colour on all your accessories. You can bring in wallpapers for a small bedroom or a bathroom, or add in the colour on smaller items, so if you do get bored of it down the road you can change it. It means having to get just four metres of fabric instead of 20 metres of fabric.

Don't go overboard on trends

With interiors, the big trend at the moment is retro, like retro lighting. I love them, but it's important not to go overboard and make your whole house retro for a certain time in your life, and then four years down the road you're tired of the look. Use elements of it, do a wall light and maybe a lovely floor lamp then pick more classic shapes in sofas. It can be trendy at the moment, but a classic look will always look good.

Use Subtle storage

Built-in storage is great, say, for a townhouse where you're always stuck on storage. Things like DVDs and books take up space. My big thing is going in and throwing out what you don't want or need. Or give it to a charity shop - just clear out the clutter! Utilise attic space for things like suitcases and Christmas decorations. Built-in storage can be hidden, it can be the same colour as the wall or it can be wallpapered, so it is seamless.

Transforming a Small or Dull room

The brave should go dark here - because a small dark room is always going to be a small dark room. For a study, go dark navy and bring in some colour in pattern, chairs and really bright lamps. You could do it in a neutral palette as well. You could do paint and curtains and then do a really strong rug and sofa, and then it's all down to lighting.

SKI Interiors Ltd is among the exhibitors at House 2016, showcasing the very best of homewares and interiors design at the RDS, from May 20-22. Get tickets at a special online price at

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