Lucy Barlow shares her interior design secrets

Lucy designs her schemes with a fearless and luxurious sense of print, pattern and colour.

Lucy Barlow set up Barlow & Barlow, the Holland Park interior design practice in September 2013 with her brother, Max, the studio’s in-house lighting designer.

The design duo quickly gained a reputation for creating spaces that are both fashionably elegant and fun, playfully reinventing the traditional English interior for a young and dynamic clientele.

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1. DON’T OVERTHINK

The biggest thing I witness is people overthinking their choices as if picking the wrong shade will ruin the house.

Lucy Barlow interior design

Image credit: Barlow & Barlow

2. BUY WHAT YOU LOVE

If you surround yourself with colours, possessions, art, holiday mementoes etc that mean something to you or make you feel happiness your home will be your sanctuary.

Lucy Barlow interior design

Image credit: Barlow & Barlow

3. BE BRAVE

When faced with two choices people will unsurprisingly opt for the safer choice. Working with an interior designer you are encouraged to make choices that you wouldn’t necessarily make yourself and in the end our clients are always so thrilled.

Lucy Barlow interior design

Image credit: Barlow & Barlow

4. NO NEED TO MATCH

Too matchy, matchy makes spaces look like show-homes and lack character. Cleverly layered interiors are what set successful interiors apart. Colours and patterns that on first sight might not seemingly match can work brilliantly together in a wider scheme. You need to take a whole view of the space, Including the art, objects, cushions, upholstery, curtains etc.

Lucy Barlow interior design

Image credit: Barlow & Barlow

5. MIX THE OLD AND NEW

Antiques/vintage furniture add a patina/history/richness to interiors. Not only do they add character but they are sustainable and of much better quality than buying cheap(ish) modern furniture.

Lucy Barlow interior design

Image credit: Barlow & Barlow

6. BE PATIENT

Spaces don’t need to all be finished at once. Successful spaces happen over time and are layers and layers of interesting things (fabrics, art, furniture) that evolve over time. An organicness to how you accumulate things leads to more thoughtful/rich/personal spaces. Buying too many things at once from similar shops, or that adhere to very specific trends, make for very showroom style space.

Lucy Barlow interior design

Image credit: Barlow & Barlow

7. CREATE A COHESIVE SCHEME

Not that all rooms have to be in any way the same but jumping around too many contrasting styles will make for a confusing environment.

Lucy Barlow interior design

Image credit: Barlow & Barlow

8. AVOID GIMMICKS

Gimmicks such as feature walls should be avoided. If you love a certain tile, wallpaper or paint colour, use it to your hearts content.

Lucy Barlow interior design

Image credit: Barlow & Barlow

9. USE YOUR SPACE

Rooms need to be used. Make sure you organise your layout so that every room gets used on a semi-regular basis. Rooms that lie empty through non-use will feel cold and unwelcoming and really affect the atmosphere.

Lucy Barlow interior design

Image credit: Barlow & Barlow

10. MEASURE EVERYTHING

Measure everything twice. I cannot tell you how easy it is to not check sizes of things (even as a professional) and it can be a very expensive avoidable mistake.

Lucy Barlow interior design

Image credit: Barlow & Barlow

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