While most people know Daniel Hopwood as a television personality, the interior designer is much more than a reality TV host.
Part of what we enjoy about watching programs like Daniel Hopwood’s Britain’s Best Homes and The Great Interior Design Challenge are the finished products of the show. Whether an extra bedroom converted into a study or a living room turned into a cooler living room, the designs pop off the screen and into our memories. While fun to see, it can frustrate you when you realize that your own home doesn’t look anything like the luxurious spots designed by Daniel Hopwood that you see on the telly (as our British friends say).
It’s not just Daniel Hopwood who believes interior design is one of the most important aspects of making a house feel like your home. The design of a space often serves as a reflection of the person who occupies it. Of course, for those who are creative and expressive, but not experts in interior design, you can turn to the work of folks like Daniel Hopwood for help. By looking at some of his designs for others, you can cherry-pick specific ideas or develop your own using the guidelines and rules he does.
Of course, if you want the luxury look of a Daniel Hopwood design, you can just hire him. He runs a studio he opened at the age of 30 in London. So, if you’ve got the cash and can wait for an opening in his schedule, you can have a Hopwood home. However, because he’s also a television presenter for BBC and online for GQ in Britain, you can mine his advice to help make your space more luxurious by yourself.
Who is Daniel Hopwood anyway?
For folks who aren’t fans of interior design outside of Britain and the U.S., this name may be unfamiliar to you. Daniel Hopwood got his start working for a furniture buyer and soon realized his love of design. He enrolled in school pursuing an architecture degree, but switched majors to interior design. At the age of 30, he founded Studio Hopwood, and he has designed spaces for the rich and famous.
Hopwood doesn’t just work as an interior designer, however, but rather serves to help bring about the next generation of professionals in his industry. As the president of the British Institute for Interior Design, he leads the group who offers free membership to budding designers. Through BIID, they can learn the skills they need, compete in design challenges, and apply for apprenticeships and jobs. He is also a guest tutor at the KLC School of Design and even works as an instructor at trade shows across the globe.
It’s this diverse background and experience that led to his role as a media personality in the U.K. He first hosted the show Britain’s Best Homes on Channel 4, a surprise hit. More recently he is know for The Great Interior Design Challenge where budding interior designers compete to see who can come up with most amazing work. Produced by BBC Two, it’s also seen international guilty pleasure thanks to Netflix.
So, is Daniel Hopwood any good at design?
While we'll take a look at Daniel Hopwood’s work for others, we will also look at how he used his expertise to design his own home. He purchased a flat, an apartment to those of us in the States, 12 years ago. The building was bombed during World War II, but the Georgian terrace came to be rebuilt in 1958. It was a bargain buy—purchased before his television fame—and still it took him ten years to complete the design of the home.
Not even 1,000 square feet, the apartment is not a large space. Therefore, Hopwood’s designs had to be more than just expressive, but also serve to maximize space in his loft. Comprised of just two bedrooms, two halls (one “pointless”), and a combined living room and kitchen area, he had his work cut out for him. After a decade of meticulous work though, Daniel Hopwood’s home is transformed. It’s also a pretty great example of his abilities.
As you can see in the video above, produced by Minotti, London, Hopwood made the most of the space he had. He explains how he used sliding walls and discreet design on the floors and ceilings to create “rooms” where there really aren’t any. It’s small but beautiful, and the flat looks like a very cozy place to live.
Will Daniel Hopwood designs work for me?
If you want tips about interior design, from Daniel Hopwood or any accomplished designer you admire, chances are they are available. However, this advice is usually geared towards those who want to do interior design for a living. If you find while decorating your own space that you have a knack for it and love it, then maybe that’s the new career for you. But if you just want to hook up your own place with luxury and style, then looking at his work for others can give you the ideas to make your place shine.
This isn’t to say that we are advising you to crib these designs piece by colorful and expensive piece. Though, if you wanted to and the space you’re decorating allows for it, you could do that. Rather, we are suggesting to use the foundation of these elements of designs mixed with your own creativity. This way, your place reflects your own tastes and style. Because, frankly, who cares what other people think of where you live? You have to live in it, so you might as well love it!
Daniel Hopwood Designs to Kick-Start Your Creativity:
The following images are taken from Daniel Hopwood’s professional Facebook page, and you can use them for inspiration. However, these images are simply the first step on a long journey towards finding your inner interior designer. Find what excites you, and find what can best help you express yourself. Of course, no one wants to live in a work of abstract expressionist art. Don’t just think about how these rooms will look, instead imagine what it might be like to live there.
1. Pick a theme and stick to it.
The above image shows a design Daniel Hopwood did for a bachelor living in the U.K.. Even still the design is suitable for couples or families, too. Imagine how much children would love the jungle on the wall, with little animals they can name and make up stories about. Even the study itself, with it’s glass desk and workstation, maintains the feel of the jungle theme. The floor is hardwood with a throw rug that could have come out of an explorer’s tent in the wild hundreds of years ago. The shelving is simple and functional, with the top shelf reserved for artwork inspired by indigenous cultures in tropical areas.
What this image shows is that it is important to commit to any sort of theme you feel will make your home a work of art you want to live inside. For example, if the jungle isn’t your thing, you could do a beach theme. Sand colored carpets or floor finish, gradient blue walls, and ocean-themed knick-knacks like coral or driftwood sculpture. Just be careful, because this can be a larger effort than you might expect. If you commit to a theme, stick to it, but let your imagination run wild.
2. Make the most of your space. It's bigger than you think!
This design makes the most of a tight corner. Had you seen this space without the design, you might be puzzled about how to use it. While we can only guess at the rest of the space, this sun porch in an apartment doesn’t look that big. Typical porch furniture and accessories wouldn’t fit out there. Or, if they did, there would be no space for anything else. That’s probably why Daniel Hopwood went with a single wicker chair and some throw pillows, with ottomans to fill out the rest of the space. While the addition of plants on log tables does crowd things a bit, it adds a more natural feel to an otherwise antiseptic setting.
Approach spaces in your home like this with a similar ingenuity. That weird nook in your family room or a hallway you never use isn’t just wasted space. With a little creativity such places can go from those you hope no one notices to ones you want everyone to see. And like Daniel Hopwood did above, you almost can’t ever go wrong by adding plants to your space. Conversely, you can add artwork or even a strange piece of kitsch, like a life-size version of some movie monster you loved as a kid. Those little useless spaces are the places where you can really let your creativity shine.
3. If you love color, take a risk and use it to anchor an entire room.
Do you really love one color? Pink? Purple? Orange? If so, why not take a risk and ceter an entire room around it. In the caption for the above image on Facebook, Daniel Hopwood says making such a choice is “brave.” It makes a bold statement, and the trend of late has been to use muted or neutral colors as a foundation, adding brighter colors sparingly. But remember, who cares what trends are hot right now? This is your place. So, make it feel like you.
The reason Daniel Hopwood says this is brave, however, is because it can very easily go wrong. Over do it, and the color you once loved will haunt you every time you enter that room until you hate it. Be too conservative, and it will look half-finished and won’t give you that “wow” feeling. The way to overcome this is, as Hopwood advises, to use texture to your advantage. Using different fabrics, like the smooth, silky pillows and the fuzzy ones above, add variety to the visual effect. Make sure that the accentuating colors in the room compliment your main color so as not to clash.
4. Use different design techniques to accentuate spaces.
As Daniel Hopwood noted in the video about his own home, open spaces help a small place feel bigger. However, differentiating between “room” in an open space can be difficult. So, in these cases, use diversity of design to create rooms where there aren’t any walls. Notice in the above image that we see two rooms that are separated by an incomplete wall. This could mean these room bleed together, but thanks to the two different looks of each part, they are clearly separate rooms.
The left side, with the fireplace, evokes metal and marble surfaces, while the right side has a softer feel thanks to the wood paneling surrounding the TV and the wooden coffee table. Even the accents help create this separation. Compare the golden bowl on a pedestal with the wooden sculpture sitting next to a vase full of lemons.
Notice in the photo how difference is achieved by shape and color, rather than more drastic design differences. Each half of the image evokes a kind of retro, late-1960s, early 1970s vibe. So, the two halves look good together. Yet, they are distinct. The left side features a palette of mostly white and black. It also has many rounded edges, from the mirror, to the end tables, and the fireplace itself. Meanwhile the right side has a more natural, wooden color palette. Thanks to the television, the table, and the paneling, it features ample right angles. You can use similar techniques for your open spaces.
5. You don’t have to make your space look brand-new.
So far, all of the designs we’ve examined have looked like brand new spaces created for the picture. While that makes for great photos, a few hours of living in it and things can look very different. Just know that you don’t have to get items fresh from the store, they can be just new to you. In this image, from one of Daniel Hopwood’s “early projects,” this looks like a lived in space. (Though, cleaned up for the photo.) What’s old in this photo is new again, at least to his client.
For example, Daniel Hopwood wrote that he reclaimed the chandelier from a hotel in Mayfair that has since been demolished. The table underneath it is an original Regency dining table. The decorations, even the books, all look like they came with the house when it was built centuries ago.
Yet, it doesn’t look dated or unappealing. If you have a vintage home, instead of trying to make it look brand new, perhaps embrace its history. Instead of going to fine furniture stores, trawl estate sales and antique stores. If all these other designs don’t really feel like you, maybe start looking to the past for designs you love.
6. Ensure your space is visually appealing and functional.
It’s easy to make a static, two-dimensional image of a place look great, and it’s another thing entirely to live in a space to keep it perfect. When designing your space, you want to keep utility in mind along with aesthetics.
For example, this Daniel Hopwood design makes a lovely photo of an inviting workspace. Yet, no desk where anyone does actual work will ever look that clean. While the glass decorations on either side of the computer monitors look beautiful, they’d likely get in the way as soon as you started to do any work.
Therefore, while you may want to make your home look like photos from inside a design magazine, remember you also have to live there. It will be frustrating to have a space that you have to change or un-decorate in order to actually use. When planning your design, make sure that you account for how you plan to use the space.
For instance, say you want to design a fabulous kitchen but end up putting cooking utensils and pans in an inconvenient place. Instead of cooking in your luxurious kitchen, you will likely end up ordering a lot of take out because it’s just not worth the bother. With a little creativity, you can set up your space to be both great to look at and great to work in.
You don’t have to be Daniel Hopwood to implement a great design.
Like any art form, interior design takes skill, a keen eye, and a clear vision of what you want. You can turn to professionals to do this, but you don’t have to. Just by looking at past examples, you can learn the fundamentals to create a space of which you are proud. Whether you start with a fully-formed design plan, or decorate little by little over time, you can express yourself and feel great about your home all at the same time.
We hope you enjoyed this list and find the designs by Daniel Hopwood we shared inspiring. You can always follow him on Facebook or Instagram for more images from which to draw inspiration.
Do you love Daniel Hopwood's designs? Let us know in the comments below your reactions, feelings, thoughts, or suggestions for design tips! And of course, please share this article with others you think will find it helpful.
Related Article: How to Live Your Best Luxury Lifestyle – A Complete Guide