When decorating a home, Lucy Montgomery is not just an expert - she's the expert.
This Sydney-based stylist and designer is the interior design editor of Belle magazine. As such, she's the driving force behind some of the most stunning interior imagery we've seen over the last 10 years. With a degree in interior architecture from UNSW and an impressive list of collaborators and private clients, she's a goldmine of interior tips and styling advice. So, it makes total sense that she's now branched out into her very own interior collection.
We got the chance to chat to Lucy about all things interior styling. From favourite trends to must-haves, we asked her all our burning interior design question. Read on to see her advice on how to create a beautiful home of your own.
What’s your approach to creating a beautiful interior?
I am always drawn to artistic, layered interiors that express the interests and idiosyncrasies of their occupants, bringing together beautiful objects of mixed provenance in a way that feels effortless and unexpected. This kind of eclectic panache needs to be underpinned by structure, so I like to begin by defining the living zones within a space – especially if it is open-plan – with a beautiful antique rug.
Within the space delineated by the rug, a hero sofa with neutral upholstery should be positioned in dialogue with stylish armchairs (even where there is a television present, the setting should promote conversation) and there should always be a side or coffee table within reach, as well as lamps for practicality and ambience. This creates a timeless and liveable setting onto which artworks, sculptures, books, blankets, cushions, objets d'art and other collected treasures can be introduced over time or as the season dictates. There should always be an element that throws the look off or plays with scale in an arresting, slightly off-kilter fashion.
What are your favourite trends in interiors and home decor at the moment?
I think it’s less about trends as it is about having a constantly growing mood board filled with visual material that reaches back through history and across various cultures. It’s always exciting to see creative people mix unexpected pieces, bespoke finishes and references to obscure moments in art or design history within their spaces, and to emulate this is to be constantly searching for inspiration. Personally I am drawn to classical Mediterranean architecture and this reference point was certainly a major influence on my collection of lamps and cushions, especially in terms of the sculptural forms and chalky, nuanced patina of the plaster lamp bases. However, I also think these pieces are timeless and sit beautifully within a variety of interior schemes so they avoid being overly ‘trendy’.
What are your styling tips for those wanting to update the interior design they already have?
Beautiful art reference books can be as eye-catching as works of art, so display them on the coffee table in stacks and keep accessories neatly contained within trays (you can be as minimalist or as maximalist as you like so long as there is an underlying structure to keep things neat and stylish). Cushions and blankets soften a space and can be updated seasonally.
When trying to reinvent or redesign a space, where is the best place to start?
Change up the furniture configuration. Most people haven’t changed the layout of their space since the day they moved in and by moving some furniture around you might experience a new focal point. It’s important to think about how the configuration promotes conviviality and conversation while also offering moments of flourish and interest via artworks, sculptures and plants in oversized pots.
If you were refreshing an interior and could only pick three pieces to replace which would they be?
Replace unflattering overhead lighting with ambient lamps that double as sculpture. A statement lamp can be a functional work of art, adding personality and character to a simple sideboard, desk or bedside table. An upholstered bedhead flanked with practical side tables creates a sleeping zone that’s neat as well as cocooning.
What are the simplest ways to elevate your space?
Softer elements such as cushions and window treatments offer an easy refresh, finishing a space and making it feel liveable. Lighting and artworks are crucial elements as well. Playing with scale can also make a space feel more exciting and idiosyncratic, avoiding a bland, cookie-cutter look.
What are your decor must-haves?
Art, fashion and design reference books are inspiring as well as beautiful when clustered on a coffee table. A sculptural lamp creates ambience and gives a striking silhouette. Cushions in a mix of solid neutrals, graphic stripes and painterly prints introduce texture and colour.
Do you have a favourite interior aesthetic?
Collected, curated, classic and refined with a twist.