Katherine Mannell on how to style your home without breaking the bank and growing an interiors blog
Kat from Life at number 63 is an illustrator and interior stylist, I love that she says you can style your home without breaking the bank. I first discovered Kat on Instagram looking at her lovely home photos, she has styled some prints for us really beautifully and she has grown so fast on Insta so here are some tips, hope you enjoy our chat! Kat says 'Believe in yourself and your product/service. Stay confident.'
What do you do and what’s your biz/blog?Hello! Well, I am juggling a lot of balls at the moment (not unusual for me!) As well as being a full-time mum, I run both my own illustration business, specialising in drawing portraits of peoples homes, and also a fast growing home interiors page on Instagram with an interiors related blog.
Kat from Life at 63 beautiful dining room
House painted by Katherine Mannell from Life at number 63
How did you get into Interiors and writing about it?I have always loved interior design. It was my dream to study it in University, but back then in 2000, it wasn’t a popular or well-known career choice and I was steered towards something different. I’ve always regretted that. I did, however, gain a diploma in the subject when I was 23 and have worked as an interior design assistant. I was made redundant from that job when the business closed and then quite unexpectedly ‘fell into’ the job I am doing now. I love my work, but Interiors is my passion and writing my blog and creating my Instagram feed is a great outlet for it.
I love that you support small businesses and you feel that good decor doesn’t have to be super expensive, where do you look to find your pieces, decor, unique items? And what would be one thing that you would invest in?When I was working in the Interiors business, I was dealing with extremely well off clients, who would only choose designer fabrics, wallpapers and furniture for their homes. I believe this isn’t necessary to create a beautiful, unique interior anymore. Retailers on the high street have really upped their game when it comes to their collections, and if you mix high street with beautiful items from small, innovative businesses, your home can look stylish and special without costing the earth to achieve. I love the customer service you get from smaller shops, and also their dedication and the passion they so clearly have for their products. I search Instagram, Etsy and Pinterest for lots of my homewares and often find a small business somewhere offering just what I am looking for. I adore places like Trouva and Not On The Highstreet too, which are platforms for boutique style shops to sell through, with a large selection of products all under one roof. What will I invest in? I am happy to invest in a good piece of statement lighting. I have a thing for lamps and pendant lights, and since the kids don’t usually touch them, they don’t get ruined!
What do you consider when choosing art work/prints for your home?Art prints are my other weakness. I feel art on the walls really brings a decor scheme together and also makes your home ‘yours.’ Art is so personal - the colours, style and type that you choose creates a collection original to you and your home. Personally I love typography art, photos or drawings of the natural world (animals, plants, buildings, landscapes) and the occasional bit of abstract art that grabs my attention.
You have styled some of our Doodlemoo prints so beautifully, what are your top styling tips?Thank you so much. I am honestly learning as I go, but I try to create a colour palette of no more than three or four colours in a room. This creates a beautiful, cohesive backdrop in which your accessories can shine. If I am promoting a product, I place complimentary items in the picture to convey how it works within a room scheme. My style is a mix of scandi, contemporary and boho, and I stay true to these in my decor choices throughout my house - it is important to have some cohesion and flow from room to room. Also I am such a fan of shelves! Instead of just putting a couple of pictures up on the wall, you can create a beautiful display of both your artwork and favourite homewares all in one space on a shelf or picture ledge.
Doodlemoo Panda Baby styled by Kat
Doodlemoo Panda print styled by Kat in her daughter's room
Doodlemoo YAY for today print styled by Kat
I love your Instagram feed and you have grown very quickly, did you expect this to happen? and have you got any tips to help people that are trying to grow their following?Yes, I can’t believe I am approaching 8000 followers in only 6 months. I didn’t expect it at all, but am obviously thrilled. My tips would be to engage all the time, post consistently, play along with hashtag challenges and be kind! You can also read my top tips for taking a good Instagram photo on my blog.
Have you got a favourite colour?My favourite colour is green. All and any shade. It’s such a peaceful colour and the reason why I have so many houseplants!
Favourite item in you home?This is a hard one. Funnily enough though, one of my favourite things is the branch I have in a recycled glass vase on my worktop. I picked it up on a walk with my dog, and it is so beautiful (and free too!) I love to bring aspects of nature into my home. I made a garland from clear wire and white feathers dipped in copper glitter which hangs above my dining table, which I also love.
Life at number 63 home detail
What inspires you?My family inspire me. I want to create a home that satisfies my creativity, but also somewhere comfortable, practical and homely for them to spend time in. I also love to browse Pinterest and Instagram, as there’s so many inspirational homes on there to gain ideas from.
What’s your top tip for someone starting a blog? Creative biz?My top tip is to work hard. I put in all the hours possible because I want to make a success of both my illustration business and my blog/Instagram page. You need to know your goal and do whatever you can to achieve it. Believe in yourself and your product/service. Stay confident.