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Freshly Squeezed: Hugo Tugman’s design ideas for making that WOW factor: Part 1 of 3

Freshly Squeezed Interior Design Ideas from The Unexpected Chic

Hugo Tugman is an experienced architectural designer, having founded and then run one of the UK’s leading architectural practices for over 15 years. He is the author of the Architect Your Home which helps to make architectural design accessible and affordable for everyone.

Last weekend at The National Home Improvement Show I watched Hugo’s extremely informative talk on ‘How to Create the WOW Factor’ when designing or altering your home. He presented eleven ideas, each of which can be applied creatively to any home. I found myself nodding along to a lot of the things he was saying – he made it so clear and applicable! Hugo really analyzed what it is that makes people say ‘wow!’ when they walk into a space, and pulled it apart so that it could be re-created for your own purposes.

Hugo Tugman speaking at The National Home Improvement Show

Over the next three days I’ll be going through each of Hugo’s eleven points and demonstrating them with beautiful, inspirational images! I will do my best to explain them as well so that you can understand the thought behind everything! I really appreciated the way that Huge kept stressing that the incorporation of wow-factor design features should only follow from the function that is required of the space – it has to work well. The space should be more functional (and of course more beautiful!) than it originally was – as opposed to introducing gimicky, fiddly features which might look impressive but don’t work in the space at all.

WOW FACTOR POINT #1: Heavy and Light

This idea involves contrasting visually heavy things with visually light things. This can be due to the properties of the material – for example a heavy-looking stone contrasted with a light-looking translucent glass, or due to the size of the mass – ie large juxtaposed with small. Creating visual contrast or, even better, impossibility is key here to create the ‘wow’.


The heavy concrete wall and fireplace is accentuated by the dark colour, making it almost seem to sink down below the pale wood floor and fluffy hides placed ontop. More lightness is brought in with the suspended mobile sculpture and the pale floating shelves.


A very heavy-looking stone wall looks amazing with impossibly huge glass windows cut into it.


This large, heavily-anchored table is nicely contrasted with the suspended candle feature and makes the ceiling soar even higher than it otherwise would.


WOW FACTOR POINT #2: Materials

Using quality materials and having this as something you focus your funds on will always pay off.




A splashback is a great place to invest a little bit of extra attention and budget, as it will last forever and it’s almost like a piece of art! Marble and mosaic are classic materials that can work great in either a traditional or a modern space.


Natural materials are very on-trend right now, and for good reason. Reclaimed distressed wood or even driftwood is a great way to add texture, and add sustainability-factor to your design!


WOW FACTOR POINT #3: Depth and Layers

This point refers to visual depth and layers, created between spaces and also within them. You can do this by thinking about the view through from one space to another and leading the eye from focal point to focal point. Good lines of sight are essential, and you can create these by introducing architectural and visual elements such as archways, cut-outs through walls and mirrors to create new views. Drapery can also help to frame views and conceal some things to create interest and suspense.


Placing an inviting piece of furniture at the end of this hallway creates an interesting view, plus the long and luscious yet simple draperies lead the eye along.


An archway is a great way to frame a view, and is definitely worth thinking about incorporating rather than completely knocking a wall down. It’s a lovely way to introduce some architectural detail and divide the space mentally so that the layout is ordered but not segmented.


This floor plan has been centred perfectly along one line of sight so that the spaces flow off of each other. Visual excitement is created by framing this view from the kitchen; the frame is echoed with the two columns between the living and dining spaces.


Check in tomorrow for some more WOW Factor tips!






3 thoughts on “Freshly Squeezed: Hugo Tugman’s design ideas for making that WOW factor: Part 1 of 3

  1. Pingback: Draperies - Curtains Draperies

  2. Pingback: Freshly Squeezed: Hugo Tugman on how to create that WOW factor – Part 2 of 3 « the unexpected chic

  3. Pingback: Freshly Squeezed: Hugo Tugman explains how to create the WOW factor – Part 3 of 3 « the unexpected chic

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