Looking to decorate, renovate or spruce up your home? Interior designer, Justin Coakley(@design_at_nineteen), shares his top tips and tricks...

There’s nothing quite like a clean slate; a chance to reinvent and breathe new life into the old. Decorating can be like that, although for some the initial excitement of choosing a paint colour, new furniture or finishing touches can lead to indecision. Wallpaper or tiles? Curtains or blinds? Minimalist or Opulent? These are just some of the questions would-be decorators might find themselves asking.

Justin Coakley (@design_at_nineteen) knows a thing or two about breathing new life into old spaces and making them feel more inviting in the process. The London-based interior designer and Instagrammer, who grew up with a “keen interest in interiors and gravitated towards all things home related”, has been working in this field since he left university.

Take one look at his Instagram account and you’ll see that Justin has a knack for transforming homes into sophisticated, calm and relaxing spaces. A fan of darker neutrals and calming colour palettes, Justin’s style is elegant to a tee. But one of the first things you’ll notice scrolling through his account, are the pops of green in all of his photos. “I’m a fan of all things green and use greenery to bring all my rooms to life,” says Justin.

Here he speaks to us about design, styling the perfect shot and the power of Instagram…

Can you tell us the story behind @design_at_nineteen?

I decided to create Design at Nineteen as a visual diary to document our renovation journey at the beginning of 2017. It was a way for me to look back on the process and see how far we had come, and I soon came to realise that our small terraced home was also giving people inspiration in their own homes. The name was born out of the number of the house, number 19.

What role does Instagram play in your day-to-day life?

Instagram has become an integral part of my day to day life. It connects me with like-minded individuals that also have a keen interest in all things interiors and design. In addition, it is a constant source of inspiration for me.

What are your favourite accounts to follow?


What are your top three tips for taking photos of interior design?

1. Lighting is key to taking a good picture. Without good lighting your photo is not going to portray what you want it to.

2. Styling the shot. Always ensure your shot is styled as you want to create a mood in the room – it’s a looking glass into how it ‘would be’ if the viewer would be living there.

3. Find your angles. As there is generally a lot going on in a Room it’s important to find your angle, makes sure the shot works and is not missing vital information. I always find that wider room shots always work better as people can see a room in its entirety.

What camera do you take your photos on?

I use my iPhone XS Max to take all my photos.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I’m inspired by the city. I’m definitely a city person and love the sights, sounds and green spaces that we have in London. The city breathes energy into me. I’m also inspired by travel and contemporary architecture.

What are the best apps for budding (or pro) interior stylists?

Morpholio is a great app for creating mood boards on the go.

Pinterest is a great source of inspiration and ideas, just be warned once you go down the rabbit hole it’s hard getting out!

Photoshop Express is a great app to have if you need to edit photos and content on the go.

Houzz is my go-to app for sourcing most things interior related, it gives me lots of inspiration and you can also buy directly from the Houzz app

What apps can’t you live without?

Instagram, Deezer, Pinterest and I have to mention Citymapper – it’s got me out of a pickle many a time!

If I could only use one app it would be…

I am biased, but I think I would say Instagram as it’s become such an important part of my day to day life. I find it hard to think what life would be without it.

Favourite podcasts?

Clever – the podcast by Amy Devers and Jamie Derringer.

The Great Indoors – by Kate Watson Smyth and Sophie Robinson

Top five songs currently on rotation?

Sam Fender – Hypersonic missiles

Half Moon Run – Full Circle

Hot Chip – Melody of Love

Friendly Fires – Silhouettes

Lana Del Rey – Doin’ time

You can check out more of Justin’s work by following him on Instagram.com/design_at_nineteen.

Prefer fashion over interiors? If you’d rather take shots of your stylish outfits than your kitchen tiles, check out the apps fashion blogger, Carrie Harwood, swears by.