Olivia Bowen on her nursery decor plans and finding a signature interior style
We caught up with Love Island star and TV personality extraordinaire to talk all things interiors...
It’s hard to believe it’s been seven whole years since Olivia Bowen burst onto our screens as a contestant on ITV’s smash hit dating series, Love Island.
Since finding love with now-husband Alex and leaving the villa, Olivia has gone on to become an accomplished presenter on the likes of This Morning and TLC’s Say Yes To The Dress, but did you know that one of the star’s lesser-known talents is interior design?
After moving into her dream home in February 2020, Olivia enrolled on an interior design course to learn the tricks of the trade before beginning an epic, room by room renovation of her Essex mansion.
Slowly but surely, Olivia has transformed her house into a gorgeous home full of light wood flooring, classic carpentry and calming neutrals, all while documenting the entire process on her second Instagram page @thebowenhome.
Now, as she awaits the arrival of her first child, Olivia has embarked on the process of turning her beautiful space into a cosy family home. We caught up with her to talk all things home décor, personal style and plans for the future…
Olivia Bowen interview
Hi Olivia! Thanks so much for chatting to us today! For those who aren't familiar with your home account, how would you describe your style? I think I would describe my style as modern and homely, but with a twist of country! It’s hard to describe my style exactly, as I tend to go for different looks in different rooms. One of our guest rooms has a 70s vibe to it - which is a bit random!
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What are your favourite homeware stores? Wow, that’s hard to answer! I do love George at ASDA, it's such great value for such a lovely range. I would also say Maisons Du Monde and Homesense are my go-tos for finding beautiful bargains!
If you were faced with a completely blank room, how would you go about designing it? Firstly, I'd take into consideration the shape, size, height and light of the room, then I would think about how I would want to feel being in that room. I find that working out how you want to feel in a room is a great place to start - do you want to feel cosy? Fancy? Inspired? Energised? This will lead you to find the colours, textures, furnishings and lighting that will work for you! I then always head to Pinterest, Instagram and interior blogs for mood board inspiration before then creating my own vision board, adding plenty of colours and products.
What’s your favourite room in your home and why? I absolutely love our kitchen, it’s the hub of the home and our 6.6m glass doors flood the room with light all day. It’s such a social space which is what I always wanted from an open plan kitchen-dining-living space.
How can those working with a tight budget put their own stamp on their home? Keep walls and expensive furnishings like sofas neutral - you can then add pops of colour with less expensive items like cushions, throws and accessories to add a bit of spice. That way, its easy to switch up the room should your style change! I always love adding affordable wall art from places like Desenio to fill up the wall space. It always changes the mood quickly, and on a budget!
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What's your secret to making a space feel homely and cosy? Texture! Adding numerous textures into your home can really create that cosy vibe we're all after on a cold evening! Shaggy rugs, boucle cushions and linen lamp shades are my favourites at the moment. I'd also suggest considering avoiding bright white light and using soft warm lighting instead. Window furnishings, like roman blinds and curtains, are also a very good way of making a room feel less cold and bland.
How much does Alex help you with the interior decorating? Do you often agree on styles or have to compromise? Alex kindly gives me free rein, he's learnt to trust my instincts and vision! Our styles match which is a great start, but I definitely always get his opinion on everything we do - I would never buy something new for the house without checking he likes it first! Although, if he doesn't, sometimes things just miraculously turn up at the house anyway...
What’s your favourite colour to decorate with? I absolutely love Farrow & Ball colours; they have such great tones. We're just about to paint with Oxford Stone and I think that colour is just so workable for so many palettes. It’s such a nice warm beige, with a hint of brown and grey. I really love using black as a contrasting accent colour too!
What’s your most treasured possession in your home? That is difficult! One part of me wants to say our hot water tap from Quooker - that thing is a god-send in the mornings! However, my more sentimental answer has got to be our two little doggies. They make a house a home.
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Finally, massive congratulations on your pregnancy! How is the nursery decorating coming along? Thank you so much! It's been so enjoyable; you can really let your inner child run free with imagination and we've decided on a neutral safari theme with giraffes, elephants and a beautiful wallpapered cloud ceiling. I've spotted some great cribs on Silvercross and we are also working with The Modern Nursery to bring all my ideas together with some gorgeous boho style pieces from their range! We're not finding out the gender of the baby so we're making sure it works either way - it's so exciting!
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.