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The book cover of The Home Style Handbook by Lucy Gough

10 Mins With: Lucy Gough

 An interview on how to master styling your home with renowned interior stylist, Lucy Gough 

An image of interior stylist Lucy Gough and the front cover of her new book, The Home Style HandbookImage credit: An image of Lucy Gough and the cover of The Home Style Handbook by Lucy Gough, Published by Octopus Books with Photography by Simon Bevan

We have been lucky enough to work with the brilliant talent that is Lucy Gough over the years as she sourced furniture and accessories when styling the pages of our favourite interior design magazines. As an interior stylist for both brands and magazines, Lucy is responsible for some of our favourite inspirational images of all time! She also started her own interior styling school in 2020, with a range of courses perfect for anyone looking to explore styling as a passion project or profession. A joy to work with and an expert in the art of home styling, we sat down with Lucy to find out all about her new book, The Home Style Handbook

A bible for any interior design lover, The Home Style Handbook teaches you how to understand and nurture your individual style identity to help you on your way to creating your dream home. With a wealth of knowledge, tips and tricks from her impressive career as an interior stylist, the book covers everything from creating a moodboard to translating inspiration from magazines into your home and helpful styling guides on decorating, room-by-room. As expected, the book is full of beautiful images of real homes and is the perfect addition to your coffee table or bookshelf. Read on to find out more about Lucy's career, her interior design school and The Home Style Handbook...

You can also check out our previous blog post on How To Become An Interior Stylist with Lucy here

Lucy Gough sat on a bed against a gorgeous neutral bedroom, arranging flowers
Image from The Home Style Handbook by Lucy Gough, Published by Octopus Books, Photography by Simon Bevan

1. Let’s start at the very beginning, tell us all about yourself! 

Thank you for asking me to be part of your blog! I am an Interior Stylist and Art Director - my job also falls under freelance creative director too but it depends on the job that I am doing! I am currently living in Australia and working as the Head Stylist at Home Beautiful magazine where I get to style their decorating shoots every month, which I absolutely love. I also work for freelance commercial clients on the side too (including flying back to London for work). So, I have the best of both worlds.

2. A dream job for many, how would you describe the role of an Interior Stylist and Art Director?

To get to where I am now I have worked for close to 15 years as a stylist in London creating inspiring imagery for amazing brands, magazines and designers. My whole job is about coming up with a look for a brand or a product to make it look the best it possibly can, which makes it more desirable for people to buy. I am helping to sell a lifestyle. I can’t achieve it on my own though - it’s a partnership with a photographer. I style it and they bring their lighting and photography skills so we can create a series of images that can be used in magazines, web, advertising etc. 

Two images, one showing an industrial setting with rustic furniture and a neutral living room with natural textures.

Image from The Home Style Handbook by Lucy Gough, Published by Octopus Books, Photography by Simon Bevan

3. As a team of interior obsessives, we were so excited when you launched your interior design courses. Can you tell us more about the courses available?

Absolutely! In 2020 I launched my online interior styling school which is one of my proudest achievements to date. It has given me a platform for me to teach my interior styling techniques and I currently have 1600 students enrolled in my school. My main courses are ‘How to become a professional interior stylist’ and ‘How to style your home like a magazine’. I also have smaller masterclasses too and all of the courses on my site are pre-recorded so you can learn at your own pace. I have taken a number of courses since I started my career so I know what a lot of them offer, and when it comes to becoming a career stylist, my courses offer the most in-depth teachings that I am aware of online. I possibly give a bit too much away but I can’t help myself, I am a natural over-sharer and the same can be said for my courses!

A wooden desk with bench seating in an industrial home against a wall of books.Image from The Home Style Handbook by Lucy Gough, Published by Octopus Books, Photography by Simon Bevan

4. Congratulations on the publication of The Home Style Handbook! Please tell us a little more about the book and how people can use it in their own homes.

When I was approached to write a book in 2021 I couldn’t believe it – I have wanted to write a book since I was a child - so to think that I could offer anything that a publisher thought was worth reading was a dream come true. Fast forward now to 2023, the book is out in stores and online all over the world and I have just been made aware that it has sold so well in Australia that the distributer has requested a reprint (and it’s only been a month!). Pinch me now… The book is called The Home Style Handbook and it’s a combination of a beautiful coffee table book that you can just flick through and admire the stunning imagery…and it’s also a teachable book where I show you how to style your home using all the techniques I use a professional stylist (see, I told you I am an over-sharer!). I show you how to start your project with a moodboard, where to find inspiration, how to create your own colour palette and then all the fundamentals of styling the different rooms around your home step-by-step.

Two images, one showing a warm yellow living room with a beautiful green velvet sofa and one showing a green hallway with a wooden bench.Image from The Home Style Handbook by Lucy Gough, Published by Octopus Books, Photography by Simon Bevan

5. How does The Home Style Handbook work alongside your interior styling school? 

Some people have asked me how my new book differs from my ‘How to style your home’ course and I would say that the book teaches the fundamentals (as well as being a keepsake on your bookshelf) and the course is much longer - I narrate the whole thing so it goes into much more depth. 

6. With so many sources of inspiration out there and endless paint and fabric choices available, the process of decorating a home can be overwhelming. Where do you recommend that people start when styling a space in their home?

I would start with a photo! A favourite photo of yours taken in a place that you love for it’s visual beauty. Take a look at the colour palette, the colour ratios and pattern and texture in the images and try to bring them into your room. That’s what I do!

image of a cosy living room with neutral walls and mustard yellow and rust furniture, art and accessories.

Image from The Home Style Handbook by Lucy Gough, Published by Octopus Books, Photography by Simon Bevan

7. As a must-have tool for any interior designer or stylist, what are your top tips for curating a moodboard?

Find a whole bunch of things in your favourite colour palette. Find too many things. It’s easier to start with more! Then start to pair, back one by one, until you are happy with colour, scale and texture. Keeping the colour palette minimal is the one way that you can create a more considered home without hiring a professional.

An image showing stylist Lucy Gough sat on a bed arranging hydrangeas and an example image of a moodboard with paint and fabric swatchesImage from The Home Style Handbook by Lucy Gough, Published by Octopus Books, Photography by Simon Bevan

8. With Christmas coming up fast, we always look back over your incredible Livingetc photoshoots from past years for inspiration. Where do you find inspiration for Christmas styling?

Thank you, my Christmas shoots for Livingetc were a real highlight of my career as they really let me play around with unique ideas! I actually have a masterclass on my site for How to style for Christmas’ it’s a short 1 hour class showing you how I style for the season. I tend to choose a loose theme: I have styled themes in the past based on the Circus, Mary Poppins, colour-focussed ideas and classic Xmas themes too. Christmas is meant to be a bit bonkers - I say go for whatever makes you happy!

Image of an open display cabinet styled with Rockett St George Christmas decorations including paper stars, honeycomb trees and a gold foil star curtain.Image by Rockett St George

9. How do you like to decorate your own home at Christmas? 

I always have a tree (a fake one as I am allergic to real!) – we have a beautiful fake tree from Balsam Hill and I plan on keeping it forever. I also have a small tree (about 6ocm) that I keep in a pot in the hallway and the kids decorate that one in whatever they would like. They love that they get their own one to play with.

I like to start by winding the fairy lights on green cord around the core of tree (I should have bought a pre-lit tree but I didn’t…) then I add my large flower picks – peppering them around. Flower picks are fake flowers on long metal skewers - you just pop them in the tree! Then I place my ‘statement’ baubles evenly throughout - these are the special ones that I have been collecting over years. If maximalism is your thing then find the brightest and most metallic ones you can find! Then to plug all the holes, I use small, fairly inexpensive, low-sheen-metallic baubles to help fill out the tree. Following these three main layers will help to make your tree feel full to the max!

Finally, it's time for quick fire questions...

I am happiest when… I am hosting dinner for friends and family! I love cooking and having a house full of happy chaos. Nothing better, in my opinion.

My favourite podcast is… ABC radio ‘Conversations with Richard Fidler’.

My dream holiday would be… Japan – it’s always been on my bucket list! But I want to do it properly so I want to save up and really make an adventure of it.

My ideal day would be spent… Walking around an outdoor market with a coffee in hand!

My personal motto is… ‘Dreams don’t work unless you do!’

My guilty pleasure is… Scouring charity shops for treasures. I can’t help myself and I never leave empty handed!

The last film I saw was… Nyad. What a woman!!

My favourite book is… I have too many favourites – I am a book worm! However, I read Hitler’s Canary by Sandi Toksvig when I was 20 and it’s stayed with me all these years. Such an amazing story.

In five years’ time, I want to be… Happy, healthy and living in our forever home.

The three things I can’t live without are… My family, my career as a stylist and Yorkshire tea!

 

To see more of Lucy Gough's styling, including her famed Livingetc Christmas shots, don't forget to follow Lucy on Instagram @style_by_lucy

Shop The Home Style Handbook here or visit Lucy Gough's styling school here to book onto one of her courses.

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