Angela Scanlon on lockdown lessons and creating your very own sanctuary
We catch up with Your Home Made Perfect host, Angela Scanlon, to talk all things decor
The last time we caught up with Angela Scanlon, it was one very strange afternoon in March 2020. Britain had just gone into its first lockdown, and we chatted about spending time at home and what the months ahead might hold for us.
Fast forward to now, over a year on, and we’re talking to Angela about the new series of her BBC2 show, Your Home Made Perfect. Like most of us, she’s spent most of the last year at home, and while her London abode is still full to the brim with crystals, houseplants and plenty of colour, the past year has seen Angela transform it into even more of a sanctuary for herself and her family.
‘I’ve almost kind of surprised myself in the way I’ve integrated my lifestyle into my home over the past year’ says Angela, when we ask if her home has changed much during the pandemic.
Welcome to my home...What’s your most treasured décor possession? I have a portrait that my husband got me for Christmas a couple of years ago, and it's a picture of myself and my daughter when she was really tiny. It's a black and white picture of us on holiday in Mexico by Irish artist, Lorcan Vallely, and it captures us in that moment perfectly.
How would you describe your interior style? My style is quite eclectic. Colours are key, and I try to bring in a lot of textures like sheepskin, linen or velvet.
Where’s your favourite décor shop? I like to buy things that have had a life before, and I try to be a little bit sustainable in that sense. If my friends are selling things I’ll try to pick up accessories up that way, or I’ll go to Sunbury antiques market.
‘Before lockdown, it felt like it was all about whether your home looked a certain way, whether you had a cool wall colour or the latest lampshade. Decorating a home was almost like creating a sterile, Instagram worthy backdrop so you could take pictures of your outfits.
‘Now, a year on, how my home feels is really important to me. There are things on display that reflect me, my family, my values and how I want to live. I talk quite a lot about those minimalist, Scandi, cream and beige with a pop of grey homes, and I love them, but it’s just not me.’
So what exactly is it like to step inside Angela’s home? The first thing you’ll be met with, she explains, is the smell of incense, Palo Santo and sage, which she burns to make her home feel calm, clear and zen.
‘I always say I that when you step into our house, I want you to feel like you can exhale, not like you’re in a show home’ she laughs.
‘I remember, growing up back in the day we would go to one of my Mum’s friend’s houses that was always so trendy and perfect, with everything in place’ she adds. ‘I always remember thinking “wow, this looks amazing”, but it was so pristine that I almost felt a bit rigid when I was in there, like I had to act or move in a certain way. I’m one of 4 girls and our house was always a bit of a mad house, but in that I learnt that comfort is a feeling, not a look.’
Although it only takes one glance at her Instagram feed to see that Angela clearly has a stylist’s eye for design, it seems that in the last year, her home has become less of a place to experiment with the latest interior trends and more of an antidote to her busy working life as a TV presenter and podcast host.
In the depths of the pandemic, she even converted her spare room into a writing and meditation room by switching around some existing furniture. It’s now her favourite spot in the house.
‘I should say the living room is my favourite place because that's where we all hang out’ she laughs, ‘but actually, it's what used to be our spare room. This year it’s become very clear to me not only how I use my space, but how I don't use my space, and this room was just sitting idle, so I've kind of taken it over.
‘All of my potions are in there, all of my books and all my favourite little things that I don't like to have out and about in the rest of the house’ she adds. ‘Every morning I go in, close the door, sit by the window and meditate in the lovely light. It's kind of become my own little sanctuary.’
It’s clear that one of Angela’s biggest learnings from the last year is that your environment can have a huge impact on your mood, and she takes great care in curating her space to make sure it has a positive impact on her and her family.
‘I think one thing I understood by not having a connection with my wider family or society recently is that you do connect with all the things in your house. They live with you, so it’s important to surround yourself with things that you love, whether that’s a painting, quilt, cushion or chair’ she explains. ‘Having some elements of nature inside is really, really important to me too.’
So what are Angela’s top tips for making your house feel like a home, even amidst the stress of a global pandemic?
For her, it’s all about working with what you already have, and taking a slow fashion approach to décor: ‘Obviously, Your Home Made Perfect focuses on big, structural design changes with budgets ranging from 20k up to 105k. The results are incredible, but if you don’t have that sort of budget, I do think you can completely change the way the room feels by flipping your furniture and using what you already have.’
When talking to Angela, it’s clear that she’s learnt a lot from working with talented architects over the past two years. So, as she approaches series three of the programme, what would she say has been her biggest lesson in design so far?
‘I’ve learnt a lot about use of space and multifunctional living’ she says, ‘but the main thing I’ve found is that home design is much more about you, your values and the way you live, than it is working out the measurements and figuring out where to put things.
‘At the end of the day’ she continues, ‘creating your dream home is emotional. It's about much more than where the walls go.’
You can tune in to the first episode of Your Home Made Perfect, Series 3 on BBC2 at 8pm, 24th May. Listen to Angela’s podcast, Thanks a Million, on Apple, Spotify and all podcast providers.
Thea Jeffreys is the Digital Writer on YourHomeStyle.uk, and is passionate about all things home décor. When she’s not scouring the internet for budget-friendly homeware finds, you’ll find her writing about the latest interior trends and handy upcycling tricks.