Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen may be best known for his flamboyant dress-sense and countless TV appearances, but he made his name as one of the most innovative and sought-after interior designers in the country. This week we’re going to see what you can learn from him to add a little sparkle to your living spaces.
Born in Kensington of Welsh descent, Laurence gained his fine art degree at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts before going on to work for the design firm Peter Leonard Associates. He started up his own design consultancy in 1989 and started to develop his trademark vibrant style – a decision that led to his TV success.
The Llewelyn-Bowen style
Laurence himself admits that some of the early Changing Rooms designs had more than a hint of craziness about them, but what they showed is that he’s never been afraid to embrace fun in interior design.
His style is all about taking risks - even silly ones - if it’s what really moves you, so if you want to clash your colours, you go ahead and do it; if you want to cover every surface with sculptures and trinkets, you go for it! In his own words, ‘hell yeah, I’m worth flock, hell yeah I’m worth rose gold’, so if you want a little bit of over the top opulence don’t be afraid to do it. These days he’s more about striking a balance between a strong neutral base and the excesses of his early days – a style that’s increasing in popularity as we become more confident in expressing ourselves in our living spaces.
What you can learn from Laurence
Despite his obvious love for grand statements, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen hates waste. He insists that getting rid of the boxes full of stuff you’ve been hoarding is crucial to the design process because it frees up valuable space for your fabulous creations!
It’s important to remember that if you’re going to go for a slightly over the top design, you need to create a sense of space by using mirrors, keeping your windows clean, and thinking about how your decorating affects the sense of spaciousness.
For example, Laurence suggests making your feature wall the one furthest away from your sitting area to prevent it from dominating the space. Instead, hang a large and colourful canvas print on the wall opposite your sofa because it’ll add drama without unbalancing the room.
We hope that you’ve been inspired to take some risks with your next interior design project – but it’s up to you whether you go for the traditional Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen style, or his new and slightly more tame version!
11 February, 2021