How to make your home a European escape

Just because we can’t jump on a plane to visit our favourite European hot spots doesn’t mean some of the joys that come with an overseas holiday are off limits.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have grounded flights for now, but you can still immerse yourself in the beauty of exotic holiday destinations with some clever design and decorating moves in your own home.

Porter Davis lead interior designer Patrizia Romeo has captured some of the most popular style aspects of iconic getaways — including Spain, France, Italy, Denmark and London — as part of the builder’s World of Style themes.

“You can make every day at home feel like a holiday escape,” Ms Romeo said.

Here, she reveals how to add a little decor flair from five Euro faves.

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Taking cues from the vibrant city of Barcelona, this look embraced timeless elegance with a modern edge, Ms Romeo said.

“It’s a beautiful blend of old and new and explores heat and adventure, so let these elements inspire your decor choices,” she explained.

Timber furniture plays a big part. Ms Romeo advised sticking with pieces that had a rustic appearance, and mixing the timber species up a bit.

She said handmade ceramics, lamps with coloured glass bases, arched mirrors, furniture with matt-black or brass detailing, and lots of greenery, including palms, succulents and exotic florals, went a long way in enhancing this look as well.

With colours, she recommended a base palette of soft greys combined with inky blues and charcoals.

“Then layer in some pops of brighter colour, such as mustard or a sunburnt orange, to bring in some vibrancy and keep the home fun and fresh,” she added.


For those after a relaxed summer-lifestyle vibe, Ms Romeo suggested shifting focus to the island of Capri.

“Keep things light and airy with inviting colours such as blue, lemon and pink,” Ms Romeo said.

She also encouraged maintaining a strong indoor-outdoor flow with the main entertainment areas, and accentuating some connection with the garden.

“Keep windows and doors quite open and use beautiful, flowy sheers to soften the space and light entering the room. It will add to that resort feel,” Ms Romeo said.

Go for a rustic-style dining table, but take it up a sophisticated notch by pairing it with a set of curved-back upholstered chairs.

“Greenery is also essential here to elevate the feeling of being among nature and being on holiday,” she added.


This look is as classy as they come, with plenty of romantic touches woven through.

Ms Romeo said layering and natural light were key to keeping rooms comfortable and filled with French character.

“It creates a softness that underpins the whole feel,” she said.

Dusty blues and pinks — and even touches of lemon — combined with inky blues and sage green is the colour palette you’re after. But Ms Romeo cautioned against using too much colour.

“You’re looking for small hits of colour, nothing too overpowering in the space,” she said.

Classically ornate furniture — picture a beautiful marble-top side table next to a freestanding bath or ornate, framed mirrors — are must haves that will elevate the room’s charm.


Mid-century furniture is at the heart of this look that beautifully speaks to Denmark’s capital city, Copenhagen.

Ms Romeo advised sticking to a black-, white- and grey-based palette, then layer with smoky greens, mid-tone dusty blues and amber accents.

“Introduce warmth and elegance to the space with refined timber furniture (either walnut or oak) and soft furnishings, such as natural linens,” she added.

High-quality ceramics, organic-shaped feature lighting and matt-black or brushed-brass fittings get a big tick. For the walls, contemporary abstracts or black and white imagery worked best, Ms Romeo said.


Hyde Park and the grand homes and apartments that surround it serve as inspiration for this decorating theme. Ms Romeo said the London look was classic and refined with wonderful attention to detail.

“A touch of tan leather adds elegance,” she said. “And when it comes to colour, you’ll want some richness, so choose olives, merlots and inky blues for some of your accents such as cushions and throws.”

Heavy drapery will build on the luxurious feel and create a heightened sense of class.

“However, heavy drapes don’t mean a heavy colour. Pick a neutral colour and take the drapes from wall-to-wall on larger windows, and pressed to the ceiling to really soften to space,” Ms Romeo said.

Chairs or sofas with button detailing mixed in with sleek-lined contemporary seating, patterns including houndstooth and check, brushed nickel or matt-black frames and upholstered bedheads will round out this look.

“All the different warm tones and textures that come together is what makes it so comforting,” she said.

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