The Insider with Laurie Davidson

Interior stylist, writer and co-host of The Secret Styling Club, we took the opportunity to speak with Laurie Davidson to see what life is like as a professional stylist, how she’s decorated her own 1930s home and which interior trends are here to stay.

Tell us a little bit about yourself – where did your love for interiors stem from?

I’m Laurie (@lifeofaninteriorstylist on Instagram), a professional interior stylist and writer and I work for a huge portfolio of clients, from interior magazines, to online newspapers and brands. My background is in publishing – I’ve worked on magazines for around 20 years and my last full-time role was as the Homes Editor on Style at Home magazine. Just over a year ago I left to go freelance and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made – my weeks are so varied and there’s such a sense of pride that comes with working for yourself. I think I’ve always been passionate about interiors but it took working on an interior magazine to realise just how much I love everything about the industry. I remember when I was younger and living at home I used to buy items for my ‘home-to-be’ and squirrel them away in anticipation of having a place of my own to decorate. My mum always says I had crazy ideas about decorating my bedroom too – one week I’d want every wall a different colour, and the next I’d want to decoupage them all!

Laurie Davidson

What does a typical week look like for you?

I don’t really have a typical week as it depends what features or shoots I have on. Sometimes I’ll be shooting for a week, other times I’ll just have a one-day shoot but lots of features to write or meetings with interior PRs and magazine editors. I also have to find time to prop for upcoming shoots, so my house regularly has deliveries coming in and going out – it’s like a revolving door of boxes! Recently I’ve set up my own interior styling workshops with @welovehomeblog called The Secret Styling Club, so we’ve also been busy organising those events. It’s a busy job but I wouldn’t change it – I tend to thrive when I’m busy and juggling multiple tasks.

Maxine & Laurie hosting The Secret Styling Club

Tell us about your own home – do you find yourself regularly wanting to switch it up and change the colour scheme?!

My house is a 1930s semi-detached property that was almost derelict when we bought it eight years ago. My boyfriend is amazing at DIY and has pretty much carried out all the work himself, which has saved us a fortune – I like to think I have the vision and he has the skills! I’ve learnt over the years to stay true to myself with my own style… in this job I see so many trends, and different patterns and colour that I actually like to come home to something a bit calmer. I much prefer texture to colour – give me concrete, metal, bare brick and marble any day. Anything touchy-feely screams to me too and I’ve got lots of throws and cushions dotted around – those are the items I tend to switch up regularly to give my home a refresh. I love monochrome, metallic finishes and vintage touches, plus lots of artwork.

So you’re a woman of many talents – writing, styling, crafts and travel features – if you had to choose, which do you enjoy doing most?

That’s a tough one as I think it’s the variety that I really love. I get lots of inspiration from travel and I love writing, it’s what I started out doing fresh from college at the age of 17. I think styling is probably top of the list, though, if I had to pick – there’s something so satisfying and creative about designing a set or a look from scratch. I also get to work with different photographers and it’s a really nice team effort to get great pictures that you can be proud of at the end of the shoot.

Browse Oak Sideboards

Where does your inspiration for interiors and styling come from? Tell us about some of your favourite interior stores and trends. 

I take inspiration from all over the place – sometimes it’s a design element in a hotel, other days it’s the colour of a top I’ve seen or a pattern on a fabric. Fashion and architecture play a big part in my inspiration too, and I love following different people on social media to get ideas. I tend to take small parts of different trends on board if they appeal to me – I love the botanical look but I’m not the best at keeping plants alive and I seem to kill them with love unfortunately. I’m lucky enough to see products from stores way before they’re available – we often work six months ahead of time – so that’s always quite inspiring too. One of my favourite shops is West Elm, and I love Cox & Cox and Heal’s for their mix of designers. For affordability, I think Sainsbury’s do homeware really well and I love browsing Etsy for finding unique products from small businesses.

Camille Limewash Oak Collection

How do you feel social media platforms – especially Pinterest and Instagram – have influenced the interiors market and designers?

I think that the amount of ideas, inspiration and choice available to us now on social media is amazing and it’s a great tool for designers to be able to see what products are working, and what people want more of. Plus, it’s a great platform for small businesses who don’t have the budget for a shop front, but can now sell online. It’s exciting to see where social media is heading next, it’s developing at such a speed and, without sounding completely ancient, I remember the days before we even had the internet, which seems almost unbelievable now.

Which interior trends, in your opinion, will always stand the test of time?

I think calming, timeless interiors are something that people will always appreciate and it’s something that The Cotswold Company do so well. Life is just getting busier than ever for many of us, which means we often want our homes to be more of a sanctuary – our own cocoon if you like. Coastal style is something that comes back year after year too, whereas I think trends like maximalism are lots of fun but probably have a shorter shelf life.

Malmesbury Painted Collection

Tell us about some of your favourite shoots to style – are there any trends or accessories that you always find yourself wanting to implement?

I love creating schemes with big bold patterns – they’re so much fun to use. One of the advantages of being an interior stylist is that you get to create all these looks without actually having to live with them, which means you can be as bold and daring as you like without the fear that you’ll go off it. Also, Christmas shoots aren’t always popular among stylists but I really enjoy them – last year I’d set up and decorated 15 trees before the end of August! It’s hard work as it’s often a longer day, you have triple the amount of products to unpack and repack if you think of all the decorations and baubles, plus you’re often covered in glitter at the end of it, but I still love creating festive schemes.

If someone is looking to forge a career in interiors, styling or writing, what advice would you give to them?

I’d start by saying not to give up. It’s a hard industry to get into – much harder than when I first started out – and you’re likely to get a lot of knock-backs, but if you can be resilient and persistent you’ll get there in the end. When it comes to styling or writing, creating your own blog and using it as a platform to showcase your work is a good way to start, as you’ll need to be able to prove that you have an eye for interiors, or that you have a good way with words. As a stylist you’ll need to get some styling experience assisting on shoots too, so research different stylists (whether it’s on social media, or finding their names in a magazine) and contact them to ask about assisting – it’s the best way to learn.

The Secret Styling Club

Lastly, what’s on the horizon for you? Is there anything else you’d love to try your hand at in the future?

I have so many ideas that sometimes I think my head is going to burst! For now, I have lots of plans for The Secret Styling Club (and not just workshops), which I’m hoping will come off in the next year. I’m also discussing a book deal, which is really exciting and I’d love to cross into TV one day. Who knows where life will take me, but so far, the last year has been jam-packed with opportunity. A very smart lady once told me that when a door opens, walk through it – and it’s something I plan on doing much more of, so watch this space!

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