At Home with Sophie

As 2020 progresses into the crisp evenings and light drizzle of autumn, there is no doubt that we have all been on a journey this year. A journey that has been somewhat different for each of us, but a journey that has encouraged us all to spend more time at home and given us all a new focus.

One thing to note is that our homes have been given a new lease of life, they have become our sanctuary, our safe place. With hours spent at home, tittivating those accessories and restyling the best way we know how – we thought we would give you a helping hand. ‘Staying Home’ is no trend or fad, staying home and investing in your home is just that, an investment!

We often speak about elevating your dining experiences at home, after all it’s what we know! But what we also know is that Sophie Purser of Black Velvet Styling is one of the best around at styling. Whether it is food or your tablescape, Sophie has a wealth of experience that we are excited to be sharing with you.

About Sophie…

Sophie is a still life/food stylist and photographer, with over 20 years experience in styling and marketing. She also teaches ‘DIY Styling & Content Creation’ 1-to-1 and in group workshops.  Sophie is passionate about helping people succeed with styling their work, ‘I love sharing my experience to help people develop the skills to thrive with their passions and businesses’, says Sophie.

Now that we have unveiled our brand new, Collection One, we wanted to help you get the best out of your new tableware (not that it needs much help, of course!).

Here Sophie shares her top tips for styling in the home:

1. Embrace your own style. My first tip has to be to embrace what you love and build confidence in your own ‘style’. It is so much easier when you allow yourself to surround yourself with colours, patterns and textures that you genuinely enjoy rather than forcing what you think is in vogue. 

This way nurtures an eclectic and authentic style, often mixing old and new which just feels more natural and time-loved.  It might feel random at first but over time your key themes will emerge as repetitions and a ‘look’ will come to life.

Not convinced you have a signature style? Ask your friends and I bet they can tell you at least three things you are naturally drawn to in your fashion or homewares!

2. Buy the best you can. Following on from the first tip, I always encourage my styling students to buy the best you can afford and only buy things you absolutely love – this applies to photography props, homewares, fashion, cars, houses! 

This can be hard when decorating or styling on a budget, but I think it’s more important to collect items with integrity and craftsmanship over time than get things done quickly.

Build shopping lists like mood boards on Pinterest and Instagram – you’d be surprised what loses its shine after a while and gets deleted!

And try to put some money aside regularly so that when something on your wish list comes up you have the cash available to go for it (especially useful if its vintage or one of a kind!). 

Collecting individual pieces or sets from Burleigh and mixing them with other heritage and well-crafted pieces is the perfect way to build something truly unique and special over time.

3. Bring nature in. Collecting garden flowers, beach combing and hedgerow foraging are some of my favourite things to do and are an amazing way to bring nature and the seasons into your home and styling. 

Dried flowers, shells, acorns, twigs and berries all make beautiful displays and table decorations – go big and low in the centre (low enough so people can talk across them easily), use lots of old jars or glasses to spread along the table or simply dot them about organically.

 4. Switch up with texture. Another way to evolve with the seasons is to change a few soft furnishings and accessories to match the mood you want to create.  Moving into autumn I have rearranged our sitting room with more footstools, cushions and rich-coloured blankets in anticipation of cosy movie nights and fires as the temperature drops and we spend more evenings indoors.

Thicker, more textural fabrics make the house feel snugger already and I’m adding more organic, flowing fabrics to my dining table in place of the crisp summer linens.  Consider it a ‘winter wardrobe’ for your home!

5. Make decadence easy. We all love to make a special occasion of meals at the weekend; but it can be a chore to find all the nice bits and bobs that make it extra special.  Have a specific drawer or box to keep your weekend dining items together - the toast rack, egg cups, honey drizzler, gravy boat etc – to make easy work of setting the stage.

My children love to help set the table when it’s a special occasion, so we make it one most weekends!

For more styling tips, workshops and online courses from Sophie visit

To see more about collection one click here

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