An Interview with… Claire Lawlor – Stylist

Claire Lawlor is one of the UK’s leading stylists and art directors, having worked in the industry for over 17 years on some of the country’s best loved brands.  

She’s the creative genius behind Funky Chunky Furniture’s photography, having art directed all our location shoots, setting the vision and bringing the brand to life through her inimitable style and talent.

Alongside her styling, Claire also has experience in visual merchandising, designing exhibition stands as well as product design and creation.

With Autumn fast approaching, so too is our next seasonal shoot which will be within real homes across Yorkshire and Northumberland. We’ve been working closely with Claire, planning and prepping, but we stepped away from the mood boarding and designing, grabbed a cup of coffee and had a chat about all things interior and trends. Claire also gave us some tips and tricks to take your styling to the next level and of course, some fabulous new designers to get inspiration from.

Claire, can you tell us a little bit about how you got into styling?

It wasn’t the route you’d expect actually! After university, I got a job as a booker at a model agency which was loads of fun but after a few years, I felt creatively unfulfilled but had no idea what I wanted to do. Around that time, I bought my first house which was a complete wreck, I had no money but loved experimenting with my house and a friend of mine said one day “ooh you should be an interior designer”! This was a real ‘light bulb moment’ and I just thought I would absolutely love, to do that!

I tried to get a junior interior design job but without any relevant qualifications, I struggled. Then a photographer friend of mine suggested becoming a stylist. I did my first test shoot with her and then began working on my portfolio. That was really the start of my career and I’ve never looked back!

And where would you say you get most of your interior inspiration from?

I have always loved Living etc and Elle Dec. Pinterest and Instagram are amazing visual tools, but I have a real love of the natural world which is a constant source of inspiration and I always try to incorporate natural elements into my schemes. That’s why I love our shoots, the combination of natural wood furniture and of course all the foliage and flowers that I incorporate into our schemes. It’s a great look!

 

Are there any particular designers at the moment who you are loving and why?

Kelly Weartler is a genius, she is such a fearless designer. Each of her projects are so different and her use of materials is amazing. I love the work of Roman and Williams – they create such layered spaces, and I love the calm and serene vibe that Athena Calderone creates in her home.

What would you say are the top colours for the upcoming months?

Well, it’s right up my street! You know I love natural tones and textures. This Autumn it’s  warm earthy tones like terracotta, ochre and peach hues are here to stay, as well as deep greens. Whereas, cool grey is being replaced by warmer more neutral stone-like colours. 

And are there any trends that you are loving right now?

I mean, obviously I am loving the warm earthy tones, natural aesthetic and pale woods. I am also a fan of the gloss ceiling trend that is around at the moment but have yet to do it in my house! However, I do love a painted ceiling.

If you had to describe your style in 5 words, what would they be?

Earthy, layered, textural, eclectic, natural.

What are your top do’s and don’ts with interior design?

Don’t be a slave to trends! Your home should reflect you and tell a story of your life. Develop an idea of your own personal style (creating a Pinterest board with stuff that you love will help you do this) and see what you want your end overall look to be like, then you will buy with the future in mind and not be tempted by random purchases or the latest trends.

What is your favourite space to style?

I don’t really have a favourite, I love the variety of each project.

What do you love most about interior design and styling?

I love that no two days are the same and the alchemy of putting stuff together and seeing the magic happen. I especially enjoy creating mood boards to then see the end result when it all comes together.

Are there any secret tips and tricks you can share with us?

If you restrict your colour palette, you can then go crazy and do whatever you like in terms of mixing patterns. You should always have lots of textural interest too and play around with scale.

Do you have any top tips around styling specific spaces, like smaller living areas or open-plan spaces?

With open plan areas, create a cohesive space plan with a materials palette that runs throughout. Zoning is also really important for open plan spaces, this can be done through a variety of ways, either furniture positioning, paint, flooring or a physical partition.

Thanks for speaking to us Claire!

 

Feeling inspired? Head to our Pinterest or Instagram to get some new ideas for your home.

Brits Confess to Living Room Loving and Hallway Hell when Redecorating

A recent study has found that when it comes to home makeovers, living rooms get the most attention while hallways get left behind.

Time to give the home a spruce up? Well, it’s the living room that is getting the most love from us, with 70% of people agreeing that this room is the first to get a new lick of paint and lease of life. But right down at the bottom of the to-do list is the hallway, which surprisingly is the first room guests are greeted with when entering your abode! So why is it that we redecorate in the first place?

When it comes to redecorating there a lot of factors to consider, such as keeping up with the latest trends and changing to fit within the seasons. However, according to new research conducted by Funky Chunky Furniture, 49% of people stated that the real reason they redecorate is because they get bored of their current style easily, with 54% of people admitting its not their favourite thing to do.

But let’s face it, the redecorating process can be long winded and tedious, some of us can feel overwhelmed and find it hard to know where to start. Moodboarding the design feels like an obvious starting point, especially with some many visual tools such as Instagram home bloggers and Pinterest. So, it is surprising that only 30% of people claimed that this was their favourite part of the journey. However, buying furniture was a firm favourite with almost half of the people asked agreeing that they found this the most enjoyable part of a home makeover.

A question that most of us want answering is how often we should be picking the paintbrush up or sourcing a new stylish wallpaper, with 88% revealing that this only happens every 2 years and longer. So, should we be making more of an effort with our interiors?

Emily at Funky Chunky Furniture explains: ‘It is important that we redecorate as it is an outlet where we can express our own personality and style in a creative way. We are constantly influenced by the things surrounding us and we can use this in our homes by experimenting with patterns, colours and prints and accessories. Our environment has a strong link with our mental health and even something simple such as switching up a colour can have a positive impact.’

This study is particularly interesting as the results have revealed that nearly half of us are bored of our current style, yet lack interest in moodboarding or planning a design. Perhaps it is time to get more inspired with the world of interior design and all it has to offer. Looking for a new source of ideas? We have plenty of inspiration to get you started. 

Mantel Makeovers

Quick makeover or complete renovation? Our shelves and mantels transform houses into homes full of character.

Whether it’s utilising space, creating a feature wall or making a statement, our solid wood shelves and mantels will do just that. We have a style for everyone ranging from chunky and rustic to contemporary and refined, all available in a choice of lengths and wax finishes.

 

Are you in the middle of a renovation project and want some inspiration, or do you just like to see a room transform into something completely new? Well, scroll below to see how some of our customers have taken their homes to the next level.

Catherine has transformed her blank canvas living room into a stunning space with dark blue walls, plenty of storage, a statement neon sign, completed the look with one of our 4×4 solid wood mantels.

Issy has decided to give her kitchen a full new look. Complete with crisp white units combined with natural wood which gives a fresh and bright feeling to the room. One of our solid wood mantels has been used above the hob, which adds warmth whilst providing extra space to display accessories.

JP and Liz shared their amazing living room transformation with us and to achieve this stunning look, they replaced the dark red carpets with parquet flooring, freshened the wall colours and added the finishing touch with one of our 4×8 oak mantels in English oak. It has made such a huge difference!

The final transformation comes from reno.vation57, and you wouldn’t believe that this is the same room. The existing fireplace has been ripped out and replaced with one of our 6×4 oak floating shelves in English oak, which has created a real statement within the room.

We love it when you share your transformations with us, have you got a renovation project you would love to share with us? Then tag us or use #myfunkychunkyhome on Instagram to be featured.

July Collaboration – thedoctorscottage

To give you a new source of inspiration, we like to work with Instagrammers each month who have inspired us with their beautiful homes. And of course, they’re big fans of Funky Chunky Furniture too.

 

Alongside Becky from boos_home, we have also been working with Rebecca from thedoctorscottage this month, who is just a lovely as her home! Rebecca’s Instagram feed features gorgeous images of her 1760s grade II listed cottage which is full of rustic charm by using lots of neutral colours mixed with wood to add warmth. With images of every corner of her home.

 

Rebecca’s feed provides a vast amount of ideas and inspiration. With her latest project being her garden and how to get it looking its best for a summer of dining and entertaining

Rebecca wanted to update her outdoor space with some new accessories that would bring her alfresco dining to life. After having a browse through our new collection, she decided on our Rattan and Glass Jug, Large Glass Drinks Dispenser and Black Metal Lantern – Large

Our Rattan and Glass Jug is the perfect summer accessory, with its Mediterranean inspired design that makes your drinks look just as fabulous as they taste. Rebecca has used it to serve up a delicious, colourful cocktail and it has brought her outdoor dining table to life.

And the drinks don’t stop there! She also decided to go with our Large Glass Drinks Dispenser, which is the perfect summer refreshment. This dispenser can hold up to 3.5 litres, so it is great for making sure there’s always refreshing drinks on hand and with its handy tap you can help yourself! Doesn’t it look wonderful as part of her tapas night? Our Solid Oak Platter has also been used to create a tasty display that is ideal for sharing.

Our Black Metal Lantern – Large has been added to the patio area and it works so well with the existing garden accessories. Made from black metal with a central glass holder in the centre, this lantern is perfect for adding a candlelit glow as the sun sets, creating a wonderful atmosphere for outdoor dining and entertaining.

Feeling inspired to restyle your garden? We have even more outdoor accessories available on our website, head on over to see the full collection. 

July Collaboration – boos_home

To give you some new ideas and inspiration, we like to collaborate with Instagrammers who showcase their beautiful homes, and of course they are big fans of Funky Chunky Furniture too!

 

Throughout July, we have been working with the lovely Becky from boos_home. Becky’s feed is jam-packed full of new interior ideas, as each square shows her home journey and how she has incorporated her own style into every room. If you’re looking for a new home account to follow, we are sure you’ll find everything you need on Becky’s page, it’s hard to stop scrolling!

 

Lately, Becky’s focus has moved from inside the house to outside, to get the garden looking gorgeous for the summertime. After having a look at our new outdoor collection, Becky fell in love with our Wylam Solid Oak Trough and opted for it in our dark slate colour to complement the rest of her garden.

She has styled our trough using simple plants and some decorative accessories which has created a gorgeous display. Becky’s favourite feature of the Wylam Solid Oak Trough is the fact she can move it around the garden depending on where she would like it, making it very versatile and creating plenty of opportunities to be creative. 

Have you got some plants that you’d like to make a focal point of? Then shop our Wylam Solid Oak Trough on our website, it’s part of our Wylam Outdoor Collection which is full of products to make your garden look perfect this summer such as the Wylam Outdoor Dining Table and Benches and Wylam Outdoor Garden Seat. Head on over to our website to see our full Wylam collection.