sarah akwisombe interior stylist

Hey! I'm really excited to share this with you. Recently I was asked by Dwell to go into their brand new store in New Malden and style some areas for display whilst at the same time getting some fab images. I've been trying to build up my styling portfolio over the last few weeks, so of course I was really up for it and called in the awesome Kristy Noble to shoot it. I thought you might be interested in a little behind the scenes look at how I went about prepping and styling the shots, so read on!

First, I picked out 4 main areas that I wanted to style. A bedroom, living area, workspace and dining setup. After choosing my faves from the Dwell website I went about doing a little bit of propping, which is essentially going and buying cool, quirky things to use as props. I know, it's a hard job right! After a little shopping and a raid around my flat I had a selection of things to use as props including:

Coloured masking tape

Funky paperclips and stationary

Loads of coffee tables books and magazines

Plants and cacti

Little storage boxes

Coloured paper

Funky postcards and black and white photos

Random objet d'art ( a posh way of saying little ornaments)

I didn't take much else because I knew Dwell had a big selection of their own pieces, which is always helpful when styling as it means less prep time. The bits I brought were more like the salad dressing if you get what I'm sayin! Or the sugar sprinkles if you have a sweet tooth like me. See if you can spot where the props were used in the shoot.

Now, on shoots I can have as much of a picture in my mind as to what I want to create but then when I arrive I might see a different piece of furniture that catches my eye, or I may decide to change direction completely. It really is a creative process and I like to just go with the flow and see how things 'take shape' as we shoot. Just changing one piece of furniture or an accessory can totally change the colour palette or style of a picture.

I wanted to create a 'story' between the 4 images (i.e a continual theme or style, like the same sort of person would shop all 4 looks). I wanted quite bold colour and a young, eclectic and energetic feel. 

The first look we shot was this bed setup. I love to mix and match pillowcases with bedlinen so these lilac ones added a nice little bit of contrast and a pop of colour to the bed. The cushions with brass zips were such a fave that I had to include them and the doggy lamp and cow hide rug added a little bit of a playful nature to the shot. 

sarah akwisombe interior stylist
sarah akwisombe interior stylist

Next we moved onto the living area. I loved that as soon as we added the pink paper (held up with a pair of clip trouser hangers by the way - great way to display art!) it all started to come together. A pop of snooker table green was added with Kristy's hanging cardigan on the cool copper coat rack. I think this is my favourite shot. 

akwisombe interior stylist
interior stylist sarah akwisombe

For the desk shot I wanted to keep it again quite young and fun, a little bit of a young creative's space. The scrunched up paper by the bin was something silly we added at the end and really loved it. It's a bit of a surreal, stylised little addition which I like doing sometimes. I like when shots have a hint of being a bit unreal. I don't believe that every shot should be something you could just jump into and live in, otherwise it's all just a bit boring!

sarah akwisombe interior stylist
sarah akwisombe interior stylist

For the last shot I wanted to do a slightly more grown up version of the bold and vibrant other looks. Dwell have some lovely glassware and ceramics so I pulled my faves and created a bit of a glam look. I also especially love that gold sculpture on the sideboard. Might have to get that for myself!

sarah akwisombe interior stylist
sarah akwisombe interior stylist

I'm really pleased with how these turned out. Kristy worked her butt off to make sure we got the perfect shot and her assistant kept everything running smoothly throughout the day. We were a bit of a dream team if I do say so myself! The staff at the New Malden store were also super helpful, carrying things and moving bits around to accommodate us. Really nice bunch of people!

After the shoot I picked out a couple of pieces to try out at home. What do you think? I chose the sabre floor lamp and the pinboard, which is actually on a bare plaster wall after we had our penetrating damp treated (such a joyous thing to spend money on... not). I have to say there is something so satisfying about bare plaster!

So that's a little bit of my thought process for this shoot, I hope you like it! Which is your favourite shot? It's really interesting to see which ones resonate.

S x