Neighborhood watch in interior design

Illustration: Adobe Stock

According to research this week by online retailer Furniture and Choice, Londoners want to look smart, Liverpudlians aim to look creative and Edinburghians like to look relaxed.

One wonders how to design one’s house to suggest such qualities to visitors. The former probably involves lots of bookshelves – as long as it’s leather-bound Proust, rather than Danielle Steel paperbacks.

Needlepoint cushions and patchwork quilts would probably be enough to convince guests of your tasteful creativity. And for a relaxed atmosphere, dim lighting, lots of plants and large open spaces are recommended.

But is it true that domestic tastes change in different parts of the country? You would think that with global companies supplying items for homes around the world, 21st century interiors would become somewhat homogenized.

But there are certainly differences in different parts of the country, and if you spend your professional life looking at high-end properties – as I do – you can certainly guess where a home is just by looking at interiors, long before verifying the address.

“Who lives in a house like this? was the famous question asked by Loyd Grossman on the TV show Through the Keyhole in the 1990s. But a more interesting question, at least for me, is: where is a house like this?

I think the most obvious distinctions tend to be between the two big cities in the middle belt.

Expensive homes in Glasgow generally have a different vibe to those elsewhere, with designer furniture and bold color choices.

The trend for brightly colored kitchen cabinets – in very bright neon – was widely seen in homes in Glasgow’s West End a few years ago, but I haven’t seen many, if any, examples of it. in the capital.

Leather banquettes in a kitchen-dining room are a surefire indicator that you are also in the West.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh locals have embraced the recent gray wardrobe trend far more than their western neighbours.

There is also a particular type of antique rug, usually dark red in color, which features in a high percentage of houses in Edinburgh, which you don’t often see outside the city. I often wondered if this was a standard issue – one per household.

Elsewhere, Aberdeen’s style tends to be neutral and minimalist with crisp white interiors, while Perthshire homeowners are most likely to have bespoke local items – sheepskin rugs by the beds, carved wooden tables and even the odd tartan rug for a shoot. lodge look.

Border homes, on the other hand, tend to reflect the aesthetic of a pretty cottage. This is where you’ll find the most gingham, open kitchen shelving and umbrella stands.

Some of the differences are explained by the various blank canvases provided by vernacular architecture, of course. But maybe we have a lot more influence on our personal style from our immediate neighbors than most of us would like to think.

Betty K. Park