Behind-The-Scenes: 'The Apartment''s Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen On The Show's Mission Statement

The flamboyant home decor guru on how to make your place look bigger, and his signature three-piece suit.


1. Doing The Apartment is a form of public service.

The 53-year-old British homestyle consultant has been the go-to judge for the reality show — where amateur interior designers vie for moolah and bragging rights — since the series debuted in 2011. Llewelyn-Bowen, whose other décor shows include BBC’s Changing Rooms, says ‘design fatigue’ hasn’t set in yet. “The show allows me to encourage as many people as possible, in as many territories, to take control of their environment through design. Designing your space is a huge part of who you are. I think The Apartment is all about individuality and personality.” 

2. The first step to designing your own place: Say no to conformity.

“Oftentimes problems faced by people trying to design their own place is not so much the size but more to do with the lack of architectural individuality,” says Llewelyn-Bowen. “This is why it is unbelievably important to feel confident enough to make your own statement. There's no right or wrong in interior decorating. I don't judge contestants on their tastes but on whether they are expressing their tastes efficiently. There is no one to tell you how it should be done but yourself.”

3. He has some tips on how to make small spaces look bigger. 

Keeping all the colours light isn’t the answer. “That'll result in a mush,” says Llewelyn-Bowen. “What you need is contrast. If you have three light walls and one colourful or darker wall with more texture or pattern, your mind gets so entranced by the darker wall that it would trick you into believing that the other walls are a lot further away.” You can also make your place sound bigger. “I know a big thing in Singapore is to have tiles on the floor but actually they'll keep the noise bouncing in the room for a long time. Rugs and upholstered furniture can also improve the acoustics of your room.”

4. He’s a fashionista too. 

On his signature colourful three-piece suits, Llewelyn-Bowen says it’s a symbol of his individuality and his belief in personal freedom. “Nowadays people assume everything has to be grey or beige or black or white. But actually colour makes an enormous difference to the way you feel about things. Guys, especially, should wear more colours. We always feel we have to go ‘salaryman’ with our clothes choices but having an amazing suit with an eye-catching colour is a great way of telling everyone that you are worth it, that you are at the top of your game.”

Photo: Sony Channel 

The Apartment: Passion for Design airs Thur, Sony (Singtel TV Ch 316 & StarHub Ch 510), 9pm.


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