Nicky Haslam was probably having a bad day when he described fellow interior designer Kelly Hoppen's work as 'window dressing rather than proper design'. True, her decorative goldfish bowls (containing everything from leaves and twigs to white sand and coral) remain a trademark. But in her latest book, Kelly Hoppen Style: The Golden Rules of Design (Jacqui Small, $425), the British socialite-cum-interiors guru shows she's not simply a decorator. Useful information on symmetry and balance, colour and texture, lighting and cabinetry, among others, accompanies inspiring images. Handy for those who have difficulty matching colours are checklists for sympathetic schemes. For instance, Hoppen - who famously loves 'greige' matt neutrals - warns against trying to mix taupe, her favourite hue, with yellow, beige-coloured stones or golden woods such as oak. The book is worth dipping into - except if you prefer your colours loud and fish in round bowls. Available from Dymocks, Page One and the Hong Kong Book Centre.