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At Home with Linda Barker

April 2015

From Changing Rooms to This Morning, designer Linda Barker is never far from our screen. We chatted with the TV star about her own home style and interiors inspiration.

You’ve had a long and illustrious career in interior design. What do you love about working in the industry?

I’ve done this job for so long now I think I’d struggle to do anything else.  Often people think it’s a career that sees me buying furniture and fabric and making creative decisions all day, every day, but the reality is quite a different story.

There are certainly days which see me in the home stores shopping for clients but then, there are certainly more days than I’d like when I’m simply sat at the computer doing endless administration and spreadsheets then hanging on the end of a phone chasing builders, carpenters and the like.

Organising work to be done can be a stressful part of my job – even for me – to get tradespeople on site when/where they are supposed to be etc. But of course I love it and feel fortunate to be able to work with some incredible people.

On TV I have had an introduction to some of the most famous people in the business and I never take this side of my work for granted, it’s a pleasure to work on TV. With all the opportunities my work throws at me – there are very few dull moments.

Tell us about your own home and its interior design style.

My own home has a distinctly bohemian edge – I love colour and pattern so both make a noticeable presence in my home.  I’ve used a bold patterned, metallic wallpaper in both my living room and my bedroom from a collection by Jocelyn Warner, and mid-grey paint is used throughout my home as a background for my favourite pieces of art (I used to be an art student)

My kitchen is amazing – it’s from my own collection from Wren, of course, and it is a dream to be in.  More and more people these days want their kitchens to be the main hub of the home.

Like most people the kitchen is the centre of my home. I work there as well as craft and cook there.  I like nothing more than having friends around that share the cooking and pour the drinks while someone gets on with the DJ-ing. That’s my perfect night in.

How do you accessorise your home?

I’ve always seen interior accessories as the icing on the cake really – a final layer to sprinkle some personality over each finished room. However, the beauty with accessories is that it’s the cake you can ice over again and again, depending on the seasons outside and the mood inside. With this in mind, I always seem to end up with about twice as many accessories as any house can actually hold, but I hide half of them away and constantly switch things around.

Are you a city or a country girl?

I’m both, actually.  I’m from a farming background so I’m often happiest with my bare feet on the ground but I love the bright lights of the city too.  The theatre and cinemas, art galleries and home stores are places that will always inspire me and I love stolen days just wandering around the capital trying to get lost.

What are the most prizes pieces of furniture in your home?

My handmade bed!  It’s ‘dreamy’ – quite literally – and I also have a great sofa.

Where do you look for inspiration?

All around me – wherever I am.  I keep looking, looking, looking. One of the very best spots is on the top deck of a bus just as it’s getting dark. That way you get to see right inside people’s living rooms – it’s one of my favourite places to spot how people live their lives.

What’s your house like on the weekend?

It’s usually fairly chilled and relaxed.  If I’m in Yorkshire it’ll be catching up with my family – cookbooks will be strewn everywhere, book marked and pages turned over searching for suitable recipes for our evening meal.

There’ll be short trips to the deli, and the wine shop – long muddy walks and bags of recycling at the end of the two days to wrestle with.

What interior design trends are you enjoying at the moment?

LED lighting is changing the way we illuminate our homes – particularly in the kitchen.  It’s exciting to think you can have at least four or five different ways of lighting a space – all without needing to see one light bulb! And it’s not going to blow the bank either as this type of lighting is very economical to run.  Technology on all levels is exciting at the moment – it seems that our homes are becoming very technologically savvy places to be.

Heating that is controlled from your smartphone and that you can turn on when you are an hour away from home, washing machines that intelligently wash only for the load that you have put into the drum, and ovens like those from Neff and Siemens that will take all the guess work out of cooking times.

The Kitchen that Linda designed at home

The Kitchen that Linda designed at home