For travellers who seek the finest that the world has to offer

Make your home a resort with these interior design tips

From fluffy white towels to being bold with brilliant colours, these three world-renowned designers are masterful artists in interior design.

Bill Bensley, Philippe Stark and Kelly Hoppen share how to recreate and reawaken a space with splashes of colour, fun prints, crisp cool tones and sophisticated arrangements. They’ve painted the world in every shade of luxury living, and now you can learn from the masters and make your space the heaven on earth you deserve.

Bold colours, greenery and finishing flair

Bill Bensley’s illustrious career has seen him design more than 200 resorts, hotels and palaces in 50 countries. Walking into a Bensley property is a carefully curated feast for your eyes with trademark bold colours, draping fabrics and lush greenery. His inspiration is drawn from impeccable research with no two projects the same. He shares how to transform your abode into a spectacular space.

Bill Bensley interior design © Wasan Puengprasert

“Pick your battles,” says Bensley, “If you have a star piece – a patterned sofa or a wild rug – give it space to breathe.”

“I am always reading, watching and listening to stories,” he adds. “Often unusual discoveries end up becoming the heart of a project. For Hotel de la Coupole, it all started with a Vietnamese hat I found in Paris covered in pink polka-dotted fabric. The hotel was all about French haute couture meeting hill tribe fashion.”

This eclectic design ethos is not something Bensley shies away from in his own home either.

“We turned our bathroom into a shrine to our travels in Africa and India. The door frame is from Rajasthan, the walls are covered with statues, beaded marvels, masks from Benin, Yoruba, Congo, South Africa, and even shell vests from the island of Nias. The finishing touch is speakers playing songbirds – a full sensory experience. It’s as comfortable as ever while taking us on a journey.”

Good bedding and fluffy white towels

Bensley says bringing pieces from your travels home helps keep your adventures and holidays close. And, importantly, it reflects who you are to your visitors. But, he warns, don’t arrange your pieces without thought.

“Know and respect what you have collected. I hate seeing artefacts, especially Buddhas, on the floor. Give them a home – table, wall, niche – and group them by colour, type and size, and then rearrange them until they sit just right.”

And if there was just one piece of advice he could give?

“Good bedding and fluffy white towels will do wonders, not just visually, but also psychologically.”

It pays to be brave

Creating the right space will impact your mood, as Bensley notes, saying it pays to be brave.

“At our house, while our shower is small, we have a three-and-a-half metre palm tree in there that curves over the shower itself. It gives me the feeling of showering in the jungle. If you have a smaller shower area, use big hanging ferns.”

With Bensley’s mood as vibrant as his designs, it might just be the best advice you’ll get.

Bill Bensley interior design © Wasan Puengprasert

Light, colours and curiosity

Described as one of the most famous designers and architects of our time, Philippe Starck has been setting international benchmarks since the 1980s. He spent his childhood in France under the drawing tables of his aeroplane building, aeronautical engineer father, and says he’s “still a kid who dreams, and I’ve got that simultaneous light-heartedness and gravity of children… there is no work in my life. There’s only playing, curiosity, generosity and vision.”

His work is, however, by no means child’s play. In the 2000s, he was responsible for the design of SLS Hotel Beverly Hills, his foray into the luxury hotel space. Since then, he has designed restaurants, lighting, tableware, technology, cars, motorbikes and yachts, with awards as long as his list of creations. Inspiration, he says, still comes from his childhood curiosity.

“I am not interested in stones, steel or concrete; I am interested in people, in the evolution of our species. I like to talk to the people, or just observe and feel the energy of the country. Then I like to add some surprises as a little gift… a wink, something to make people laugh. And of course, natural light, and if possible, a fire.”

Starck says light is pivotal to any design.

“I think it is important to be surrounded by light colours. Each colour has a meaning. For example: white that should be warm. A pale yellow, an extremely dynamic colour. A very pale pink, which is very human and lively.” Adding that anyone can apply that to their own home.

Philippe Stark interior design © c/starcknetwork

Use lighting to your advantage

It was her relentless passion for design at 16 years old that saw Kelly Hoppen CBE chase a career in the field. The South African-British interiors expert now has more than four decades’ experience and has put her stamp on homes, jets, hotels, bars, restaurants, and suites on Celebrity Cruises’ ships.

Such has been her contribution to the industry, she was awarded an MBE for her services to interior design in 2009. Hoppen agrees with Starck: that it’s vital to lean into good lighting. Layers are also important to consider.

Hoppen says, “Alternating tiles, sleek wood and patterned carpets or rugs not only adds depth to a room design by layering textures, but it also creates a clear sense of flow and movement between the individual zones of an open-plan room.” But, she add, whatever you do, “take your time with decisions”.

“Good lighting adds depths and accentuates certain areas without looking too busy,” she says. “Opt for a combination of lights, from hidden wall lights to sculptural lighting pieces that make a statement.”

Celebrity Beyond © Kelly Hoppen

This article originally appeared in volume 42 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine. Subscribe to the latest issue today.