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Interior Design Tips: Peggy Bels

Nest Property

Peggy Bels is all about minimalist chic with warm undertones. The French-born, Hong Kong-based interior designer is known for transformative projects that rework a property completely. She reveals her best interior design tips.

What brought you here, and what’s special about working in Hong Kong?

I worked in interior design in Paris for 12 years, then moved to Hong Kong for family reasons in 2008 and started my company the same year. Hong Kong is very interesting to work in. You can easily knock down every wall in the flat, start from scratch, and make your own design.

Do you have a signature touch that clients can look out for?

My style is contemporary. I like minimalist designs, yet with warm interiors. All the places I design have one thing in common: a warm, grey palette, mixed with strong brights and graphics elements to give character to the space. I like neutral colours, especially the grey palette – but I’m always careful to choose the warm ones. I also like to use black metal as cladding for walls, doors, stairs and cabinets. These dark backgrounds allow light colours to pop, creating more contrast and deepness. It gives character to a space.

You’ve taken on a lot of pretty challenging projects in Hong Kong, completely transforming spaces. Tell us about some of them.

My own place in Sheung Wan used to consist of eight neon-lit units, each with 275 sq. ft. They were tiny rooms facing a deserted roof area full of piping. We knocked down every walls and begin from scratch. I worked on a 3,000 sq ft basement in Mid-Levels that we transformed into two flats, which were 1,500 sq ft each. The most challenging part was that there were no windows, so we had to open up the front walls and let the light circulate inside though some internal “atelier” windows.

Top interior design tips for Hong Kongers who are looking to redecorate their home?

Hong Kong spaces are often limited in size. Open up the space by knocking down walls. I recommend opening up the living room and kitchen to give a more spacious feeling. Extend windows to get more natural light. Lighting always come first in architecture. Let light circulate in the flat. Incorporate multiple points of light. Use a combination of floor lamps, table lamps, and down-lights from a false ceiling. Use a directional recessed spotlight to bounce reflected light off walls, in order to open out the space. Put all these lights on dimmer switches to allow for flexibility, depending on the time of day, event, or mood. Lighting fixtures are essential in adding character to a space. Use a neutral color palette, but with some contrast and graphic finishes to help to create some deepness in the flats. Be minimalist. Don’t overfill the space with too many furniture and accessories.