A David Hicks interior, courtesy of the family archive

David Hicks didn’t just have a way with colors and patterns and visually appealing rooms — he had a way with words, too. Here, in advance of our Hicks-inspired Spring/Summer 2018 runway show on Friday, we present 10 of his guidelines to great design, courtesy of his 1979 book Living with Design.

1.
“Good taste is something you acquire. You can teach it to yourself, but you must be deeply interested. It is in no way dependent on money.”

2.
“Even the most ordinary, everyday objects benefit from careful arrangement. When I buy grapefruit or oranges I arrange them in a large pottery bowl to be a decorative feature until they are consumed. I arrange utensils in our kitchen with a sense of design; I buy soap which will go well with the color scheme of the bathroom. One can enhance one’s life visually all the time if even the simplest things — the way magazines are put out on a table, logs stacked, suits or dresses hung in a wardrobe, gum-boots lined or cassettes stored (mined are in perspex boxes stacked on top of each other) — are arranged with style.”

3.
“Expensive antiqued velvet is hideous yet plain coarse linen is inexpensive and elegant.”

4.
“There is, in fact, an acceptable way of using almost everything. If someone asked me to design a room for them, but confessed that they collected gnomes, I would make a gnomescape on a table. If someone had a passion for flights of ducks I would say that I would use not just one but nine flights and would arrange them in a Vasarely-type way, painting the ducks black and white alternately.”

5.
“Fluorescent lighting has no place in the home.”

6.
“I have always loathed plastic flowers, and would categorically rule them out. On the other hand, I have sometimes quite liked flowers made out of gauze or chiffon.”

7.
“Taste is choosing a tie to go with a shirt to go with a suit to go with an occasion. It is the way you arrange oranges in a greengrocer’s shop; the way you light your room; the color you choose for the outside of your motorcar.”

8.
“Good lighting is subtle lighting; the more sources of light, the subtler the effect.”

9.
“I like to have a real fire burning in the fireplace — always a most welcoming sight. One of my great delights is to put a small twig of juniper into the fire for two minutes and then, having blown out the flame, carry it round the room, because the smoke smells absolutely delicious.”

10.
“I like rows and rows of tonic water bottles, apple juice and tomato juice, two or three syphons and several backup bottles of spirits lined up behind each other; it gives a generous welcoming atmosphere and if a busload of friends do descend upon you, you are ready for them.”