Talking interior design with Lucy Barlow

Lucy designs her schemes with a fearless and luxurious sense of print, pattern and colour. Here, she gives us her ten key points to an interior that's bold, vibrant and full of warmth.

1 Don’t overthink things

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

2 Buy what you love and be happy with 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.

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.

4 Not everything needs 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.

5 Try to 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.

Find out more about buying and styling your home with vintage pieces.

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 organic-ness 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 interior design trends, make for very showroom style space.

7 There needs to be a thread throughout a home

Something that makes for a cohesive design atmosphere. 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.

8 Avoid gimmicks

Gimmicks such as feature walls should be avoided.

9 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.

10 Measure things you’re about to purchase

Measure them again and then measure them again!! I cannot tell you how easy it is to not check sizes of things (even as a professional) and it can be a v expensive avoidable mistake.

Read more about Lucy Barlow of Barlow & Barlow.


Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites

A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written  for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.