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My Happy Home: Lilah Parsons

We speak to the presenter about decorating, homewares and the decor trend she would avoid.

lilah parsons interview with house beautiful uk
David M. BenettGetty Images

As part of our brand new interview series, My Happy Home, we sit down with Lilah Parsons to find out about her favourite interiors — and what her ideal night at home looks like.

English radio DJ and presenter, Lilah Parsons, 33, is best known for co-presenting Capital Breakfast and hosting a solo radio show on Heart FM. First scouted at a party in her twenties, the presenter has previously modelled for Chanel and Vivienne Westwood.

Most recently, London-based Lilah launched her own interiors Instagram, @lilahparsonshome, where she documents her renovation journey. When she's not upcyling furniture or painting walls in her flat, you can find her running art sessions at her local youth club.

What's the best decorating advice you've ever received?

LP: That's a great question. I wish I had known to start with the electrics and lighting. For example, before you paint anywhere, decide exactly where you want to place plug sockets and lights. It's sounds incredibly straightforward, but I didn't do it in my house and it's a huge shame.

You suddenly realise that when you decide on lighting, you might end up digging out the whole wall again. I'm not the most practical or organised person, so I always tend to get over excited and want to put up the wallpaper. You definitely don't think about plug sockets. Well, maybe some people do.

Where do you shop for the best homewares?

LP: I've definitely been to John Lewis a lot recently. I got my curtain poles there, my placemats, and a large Picasso print that I love. Someone saw it on Instagram and asked me whether I had painted it! I told them it's definitely Picasso and not me.

I also love Pooky and Jim Lawrence for lights. Sofa.com is also great, and is where I got the sofa for my old flat, although sadly it doesn't work in my new home. It was a corner shape that fitted perfectly in my old house, but doesn't work in my new place.

When it comes to bedlinen, my go-to place is Cologne & Cotton. They do pretty bedlinen, which you can buy online and in their stores.

Describe your perfect night at home

LP: My ideal night in would be having friends over, enjoying yummy food, drinking lovely wine and laughing lots together. I'm not the best cook in the world, but I do enjoy it. I always love making the table look really pretty, for example filling jam jars with short flowers. You could either pick some cheap ones up from the supermarket or cut fresh ones from the garden. Just pop a rose in each.

I also love table linens, especially Indian Block printed ones. There's a wonderful small business called Willamo Designs who sell really beautiful linens.

Which room do you spend most of your time in and how did you decorate that space?

LP: I probably spend most of my time in my bedroom – a former children's playroom and a space that I love. It previously had brown blinds and white walls, but I refreshed it with Edward Bulmer's grown-up Cuisse de Nymphe, which warmed up the room. It's not a sweet sickly pink, but rather a bit duskier.

I got some curtains that were a hand-me-down from a family member, and they were too short for my windows. But, with the help of a clever curtain maker, I was determined to make them work. They had a frilly curtain pelmet, which I knew I wasn't going to use, so we worked out that if we took that off we could make the curtains longer. Once we did this, we added in two green stripes. I really loved the idea of giving something old life, plus the added green stripe makes the curtains feel more contemporary.

Elsewhere in the bedroom, I also have two duck egg blue cupboards which I bought from the previous owners. I might one day get fitted wardrobes as they're more functional, but I'd get windows in the top half with fabric behind it. Sometimes a whole wall of fitted wardrobes can feel very harsh, so adding that fabric will really soften it up.

I spent ages looking for a dressing table because they were all so expensive. My mum suggested I use the wooden one I had as a teenager, which we polished up and it looks so perfect. The good thing is that it has heaps of storage. I'm someone that needs plenty of drawers and cupboards.

What would top your list for the worst decor trend?

LP: It's personal taste, but for me, it's the crushed grey velvet with the mirrored furniture. I find that tastes do change, because when I was painting my first flat I wanted everything to be grey. After a few years I thought I really need some colour!

What is your favourite memory at home?

LP: Growing up I lived in a house called The Old Stables. The house was on top of some beautiful 18th century stables, which were listed and couldn't be touched. They became the most wonderful play room for me as a child and my friend Victoria who lived next door. We used to spend hours playing make believe games. It was all very wholesome!

What is your most treasured possession at home?

LP: In my drawing room I have a trunk that belonged to my great grandfather when he was in the army and it still has his name engraved on the top.

If you could have a snoop around anyone’s house, whose would it be and why?

LP: I'd love to explore Rita Konig's home. She's such a brilliant interior designer and I love her use of colour.

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