Leigh Crymble
2 minute read
27 Feb 2014
6:00 am

The Lo Down: the beauty of design

Leigh Crymble

It can be the most subtle thing: a softer light angled in a certain direction; moving from tiled flooring to a plush carpet; space in between bookshelves revealing some wall colour.

Subtle, at least, to the average person – but all calculated decisions if you live in the world of John Jacob, a South African interior designer.

John started his own interior design company in Cape Town in 2005 and has since made a name for himself as a designer of unique and stylish interiors characterised by his clear attention to detail.

“It’s about creating environments to house beauty,” John tells me from within the Luminance store in Hyde Park, Johannesburg, where he was responsible for the complete architecture, design and refurbishing. “Just as we dress ourselves, we need to dress our space. And just as we need to know what compliments our skin tone and body shape, we need to apply these basic beauty and fashion principles to interior design.

“You have a unique personality and should want your interior to say something that resonates with you,” John stresses. So, successful interior design is really about speaking a particular design language to portray your own style and character. Here are some tips:

Beautify your space

Although a full interior re-design may not be feasible for the majority of us, there are small changes that John suggests making to give your home a facelift.

Opt for au naturel

Enhance the finer details of a room but don’t impose a style on any space. Keep an eye on local and global trends, sure, but let the space dictate what it needs when it comes to colour, lighting, and furniture. Work with the architecture of any building – accentuate the positive aspects and downplay the negative ones.

Layer lighting

Pay attention to the light sources in a room. A bedroom needs more ambient light for mood, whereas a study or kitchen space requires more direct light.

Pressed for space

In smaller spaces, see what you can discard. Replace a traditional coffee table with an ottoman topped with a tray, for example, to save space, as well as give a room a more unique look. A simple design with well thought-out detail is more aesthetically pleasing than an overcrowded, fully decorated house.

Mix and match

Don’t be afraid to use contrasting patterns, colours and textures. For the adventurous, you can even have different styles of chairs in your dining room. Too often we feel the need to match everything in a space, but this can end up looking quite contrived.

For more information about John Jacob and his work, visit his website: