This article contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made.

Siobhan Murphy on Iris Apfel, interiors that bring you joy and saying ‘no’ to décor rules

We caught up with TV’s newest interiors icon to chat all things interiors and life after Interior Design Masters

Siobhan Murphy

Since splashing onto our screens as a contestant for BBC’s hit show Interior Design Masters, Siobhan Murphy has already become one of the most recognised figures on the British design scene, and it’s easy to see why.

Advertisement

The trained milliner’s flamboyant style, sunny demeanour and impeccable eye for detail – not to mention her jaw-dropping collection of rainbow-coloured wigs – not only captured the nation’s hearts, but had us all reaching for our paintbrushes to redecorate in her feel-good ‘more is more’ fashion.

Nine months after Siobhan was crowned runner-up to fellow Yorkshire contestant Lyndsey Ford, we caught up with the NHS worker turned designer to chat all things style…

How do you sum up your style? Maximalist, colourful, quite fun and flamboyant. I’m all about making spaces that are fun and a little bit playful. I’m definitely in the ‘more is more’ camp.

Favourite high street stores? I love Matalan and Asda, and I get a lot of stuff from Homesense – they have some quite unusual pieces. I also get loads of stuff from Ebay and Amazon – it’s all about shopping around!

Old or new? They always say in every room you should have some new pieces and some older pieces to give your room a little bit more depth. In interiors, and fashion, you don’t want to be shopping in just one place. It’s all about taking the best bits from a variety of different places and different sources.

Siobhan next to her bar in her Art Deco home, Chatelaine
Siobhan next to her bar in her Art Deco home, Chatelaine

Splurge or save? I love mixing high street stuff with a few designer items. I also love going to a charity shop on a Saturday morning, as you never know what you’re going to find. When you find vintage pieces you’re buying a little story. It’s nice to wonder, ‘who had this before?’ and think about the little journey the item has had.

Your style icon? Iris Apfel. I think she’s amazing. I’ve got loads of her books and I’ve watched lots of documentaries on her. What I really love is that she wears couture, but then she’ll go down to her local market and buy loads of jewellery for a dollar. She’s obviously in the ‘more is more’ camp like me, and I love her saying, ‘more is more and less is a bore!’

Where do you go when you want to feel inspired? I get inspired from all over really, travel is a massive inspiration. The Beverly Hills Hotel is really iconic for me. I love the colours and the Martinique wallpaper, so I did my bedroom in that kind of style after me and my husband went on honeymoon there. I also recently did an ombre paint effect in my guest bedroom and the inspiration for that was Ibiza sunset. I used lots of reds and oranges, and instantly it made the room feel twenty percent warmer.

Siobhan's Beverly Hills-inspired bedroom
Siobhan’s Beverly Hills-inspired bedroom

Can you describe your home before Chatelaine? Before we lived in our big and beautiful Art Deco house, we lived in a very modest two bedroom, 1970s semi. There were literally no redeeming features, it was just like a box! But even then, I injected personality by going for a very dark aesthetic, making the space like a cocoon with lots of pops of gold, colour and artwork. The black paint really made it pop.

Someone gives you a new-build home to decorate. Where do you start? My first step would be to live in it and see how you use the spaces. Sometimes you can look at the floor plan and get one idea, but until you live in the space, you don’t really know where the light’s coming in. The next step is to really have a think about what colours you like, and inject personality with paint and wallpaper. Use wall murals on the ceiling or to create a feature wall, and don’t let having a house without period features dampen your style.

Your most recent project? I recently just did my reception room up like a Marrakech riad. It’s a strange, square room that you come into from the hall, and it has seven doors, so I did it with full floor to ceiling bespoke wall murals. Even the ceiling’s got a wall mural on it now. It’s pretty bonkers.

Siobhan with fellow Interior Design Masters contestant and friend @moneypennyinteriors
Siobhan with fellow Interior Design Masters contestant and friend @moneypennyinteriors

Your top budget-friendly style tip? If you’ve got a collection of something, like handbags, books, or things you’ve collected over the years from various different countries, have them on display. Anything that’s important to you, have them out on display so you see them, rather than having them tucked away in a cupboard.

What’s a décor rule you swear by? To be honest, I don’t really like to go for all these rules. We’ve had all these rules shoved down our throats for all these years, about what you can wear or how you can decorate, you shouldn’t you shouldn’t do this and you shouldn’t do that. For years I was like, ‘oh my god, I can’t paint my woodwork any other colour than white’ and it’s like who actually said that? Why can’t I have whatever colour I want?

Your design philosophy? Trends come and go, so fill your home with things that you love. Design is all about creating your own little sanctuary, somewhere that brings you joy and makes you happy.

Siobhan is working with William Grant & Son’s new e-commerce platform Clink*, which offers cocktail recipes, drink ideas and inspiration, as well as exclusive offers and events from the group’s spirits brands and industry experts. The platform has been created in part due to the increase in people building their own bars at home over lockdown – Siobhan being one of them. And Clink*s research shows that she is note alone: 2.7 million households have put together a home bar since the first lockdown was introduced, with 60% saying they would benefit from guidance on the latest spirits and cocktail recipes.

You can find out more about Siobhan, her upcoming collections with Freeman’s and her new book, More is More, on her Instagram, @interiorcurve. 

Advertisement

Siobhan Murphy is working with Clink*. Visit clinkspirit.com for the latest cocktail recipes, drink ideas and inspiration, exclusive offers, events and launches from some of the world’s leading spirits brands and industry experts.