Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen shares top home decorating tips


When it comes to decorating living spaces, there are few characters in the scene who are funnier, quirkier and more informed than Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. The star, known for his original and revived presentation role on the hit show Changing rooms, is all about making Britain’s homes colorful, fascinating and original.

If you’re looking to freshen up your home after spending most of the time in the living room over the past 18 months, you’ve come to the right place. Good household sat down with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen for using his main advice on interior design, from the living room to the garden …

What mantra do you live by when decorating your home?

In my head it always rumbles: “Don’t dream it, be it!” – the iconic line of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. When I design houses, I like to think of myself as Frank-N-Ford’s character; splash around in the swimming pool with all these crazy ideas!

It’s about bringing in your own personal flair. Your home is yours; the only corner of your world where you can express everything you feel and not be judged. It is always a missed opportunity when people feel compelled to make their homes look like “show homes” as it basically creates a look that is just not their own.

Tom Wren

What design techniques can make a home look better right away? What else is important to avoid?

The most important thing to avoid is something that you are not. Don’t let others put you under pressure, just choose designs that you like. The pandemic and lockdowns made us all aware that living rooms are a really important space as we’ve spent so much time in them, so go for designs that you want to look at every day.

I’ve noticed that we British are afraid of patterns, but my advice is to accept it. Pattern is a good thing. The majority of our housing stock was built between 1880-1930; That means our homes are designed and built from patterns, so enjoy playing around with them.

What styles do you think will hit the market in the next few months for home and garden decoration?

Something that is very interesting at home at the moment is the popularity of picture book illustration patterns. These patterns have intricate details and integrity, with references to exotic locations. Designers like Emma Shipley and Wendy Morrison offer unique pattern repeats. We’re certainly moving away from the soft geometry of the 1960s-inspired patterns and towards something more engaging and romantic. This is great because the more conversations you have with your room the better, even your curtains should tell a story.

The garden is quickly becoming a place to be annexed as a design experience, with outdoor carpets, furniture, and lighting becoming increasingly available. Unfortunately, much of what is currently on the market is gray. For me, garden design is about amazingly saturated colors like blue and vermilion as they perfectly balance out green foliage. So I would definitely like to see this as a gardening trend.

Laurence Llewelyn Bowen decorating tips

Tom Wren

How can people design and decorate their gardens to make the most of them all year round?

Take a look at your shed – it doesn’t have to be just an Airbnb for spiders! Sheds can be incredibly fun and entertaining spaces. There is definitely an opportunity to find some exotic shelter even if the weather is terrible. For example, I recently had a gin shed with the Craft Gin Club. The idea is that I can sit here with friends and enjoy it as a gin bar all year round and I would encourage others to think about it too.

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