Lucy Searle, Real Homes: Talking Design

Welcome to our brand new feature, Talking Design, where we interview home and garden experts! In this instalment we chat to Lucy Searle, who is Editor in Chief at RealHomes.com, and has also worked as Associate Editor for Ideal Home, Editor of Channel4.com/4homes and tons of other titles!

How did you get started in interior design?

My very first magazine job was as the office dog’s body – I did typing, fetched the editor’s lunch and sorted the competition entries, which in those days arrived by their thousands on postcards.

After I’d been there a couple of months and the editor realised I wasn’t a total idiot, she asked me to take on the DIY pages. Luckily I was just in the process of buying my first flat so I went from novice to expert pretty quickly. The first DIY job I took on, in fact, was tiling my bathroom!

What’s your favourite design trend right now?

I love all the deep, inky colours that are being used in all sorts of rooms – or at least I like looking at pictures of them on RealHomes.com. My own home is pretty monochromatic – rooms are either pretty much wall-to-wall white or painted black. I’m a fan of Scandi style. There’s the occasional blast of colour but it’s pretty limited. I’m also into metro tiles – I’ve got them in my kitchen and bathrooms!

Describe your personal style

Think I’ve given that away already – Scandi style, but on a budget. I’ve got two kids and a dog so there’s not a lot of point in buying anything expensive. I like to buy affordable homewares that, in the right setting, can fool everyone else into thinking they’re expensive.

What’s your favourite range from Walls and Floors, and why?

Any metro tile with contrasting grout! I really like the more muted designs in the Ledbury encaustic look ceramic tiles, too. My hallway has original tiles but if it didn’t I’d love these instead.

What’s your number one tip when it comes to starting a new decorating project?

I’d say preparation because that’s true, but I tend to rush in blindly because I just want to get it done. Then I have to pay someone (or persuade my husband) to finish the job properly. I’m much better at writing about decor and decorating than I am actually carrying it out.

Once upon a time I did all my own painting, wallpapering, tiling and floor laying. Now, I don’t have that much time, and when I do, I do a less than professional job! You can’t be good at everything… so maybe that’s another good tip: know your limits.

What are your trend predictions for next year?

At RealHomes.com, we’re looking hard at what millennials (sorry, we know you probably hate that term) are buying and how they’re doing up rented homes stylishly but on a budget. Following on from that we’re also looking at small space decorating tricks. These aren’t colour or texture trends, obviously, but we think they’re going to influence a lot of what hits the shops moving forwards. Fewer people will own their own homes, so clever, reversible ideas that can be applied to rented rooms will be big.

Do you have a favourite design show?

I always enjoy Top Drawer but I tend to do lots of browsing online now – my new marketplaces are definitely Pinterest and Instagram!

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We’re very pleased to have spoken to Lucy Searle! Go and check out RealHomes.com for thousands of inspiring ideas for your home and garden.

Walls and Floors
Walls and Floors