In need of some home décor inspiration? Look no further than interior designer Laura Butler-Madden. We caught up with her to find out exactly how she creates such stylish spaces.
How did you get into interior design?
I sort of stumbled into interior design through developing property with my husband. For the last eight years, that has been our main business – first in Mallorca, then in London and most recently in Dorset. After sharing the finished designs on my blog and social media, people started to get in touch, asking if I could help them with their homes and so, it has slowly evolved from there.
When designing a room, where do you start? What sparks your imagination?
I think it’s always different from room to room. Sometimes, there is a lovely feature in the room itself, which will be the inspiration – a beautiful fireplace or original floorboards, for example. If there isn’t anything that immediately jumps out at me, I will look at the use of the room, the proportions and the amount of light, and start from there. Sometimes, I fall in love with a piece of furniture and that will be the focus for the design – it just really varies.
How would you describe your style?
This is always so hard to answer. I take inspiration from Scandinavian design, but I also love the Jonathan Adler/Slim Aarons Palm Springs look. I enjoy working with soft, pale paint shades and then add colour and interest with unique pieces of furniture and natural textures, such as sheepskin, wood, marble or fur. I love light and creating fresh, bright, calm spaces.
What is it about decorating with white that so appeals to you?
I love white because it’s so calming and such a good basis to start from in any room. Luckily, there are so many shades of white available these days and I just adore the serenity decorating in light colours and white allows.
What do you think works best with white?
It very much depends on the room I’m working on, but often it’s allowing colours to contrast or pop against it. I love the combination of grey and white – one of my favourite warmer greys is Cornforth White by Farrow & Ball, which looks amazing with a white ceiling and details. You can also add colourful artwork and furniture to white walls to create a more modern, fresh look.
What is your favourite part of the house and why?
In our house in Dorset, I love the kitchen – it’s a huge room as it was originally a stables (we’ve recently renovated a Victorian Carriage House). The room is vast and the ceilings are 4.5m high – I love the sense of space . We have divided it into kitchen, dining and relaxing areas and it’s such a beautiful, light room. It’s perfect when it’s just Patrick and me, but it really comes into its own as an entertaining space, particularly at Christmas.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome when decorating and how did you manage it?
I find larger properties more of a challenge to decorate and dress; you want to keep a synergy between all of the rooms, but it can be hard to find new ways to be creative in each space. In the Dorset Carriage House, I found the bathrooms most challenging – we had a budget to keep to and I wanted them all to be individual yet flow together. We got there in the end by using similar tile combinations in each, keeping the flow, but giving each its own personality.
Are there any finishing touches you always use?
I love to use textures and natural elements – sheepskins, wood flooring and real stone for tiles and surfaces. Sourcing tactile fabrics for cushions and throws, such as velvet, wool and feathers, adds a sense of luxury and elegance. Fresh flowers and plants, including indoor trees and succulents, always lift my mood.
How do you make a room feel more spacious?
By keeping the colour palette pale and fresh, and not over cluttering with furniture.
What are your favourite homeware pieces from our new collection?
Focusing on my love of natural textures, here are my top three picks from The White Company collection.
Any final tips?
Follow your instincts and be brave when choosing items for your home. If you totally fall in love something, but feel it’s a bit out there – go for it! Just keep the rest of the room quite simple and neutral and let that item do the talking.