Designer Matthew Williamson’s north London home is a joyful riot of colour

The British fashion designer invites us into his bubble of colour and reveals the inspiration behind this unique look

Dining room with teal walls, fuchsia door frame and emerald dining chairs
Damian Russell

I’m not an interiors geek, I but I buy what I love and put it together in a spontaneous, haphazard way. I don’t trawl around for the latest, hottest design items and I wouldn’t know where to go for the best Italian furniture – I suppose I just live in a bubble of my own ideas. This house was bought from an architect, so all I really had to do was dress it. It was a joyful project.

Portrait of Designer Matthew Williamson
Damian Russell

Whenever I go into a room I know exactly what colour it should be. I never sit for hours with four swatches of green, or spend days debating which shade of fuchsia to use. Instead I internally log colours I’ve seen, which may be as simple as something in a magazine or a book, but can also be groups of colours – if I see someone inspiring walking by I’ll take a quick mental snapshot of the exact shade of their scarf against the tone of their coat and bag.

Buddha statue adorned with necklaces and jewellery in Matthew Williamson's home
Damian Russell

‘It was Jade Jagger who got me into the whole fluoro thing.’

About ten years ago, I visited her house for the first time and was confronted by a staircase covered in a ruby-red carpet with white balustrades and a fluorescent yellow banister. I was seduced by her whole aesthetic.

White and stainless steel kitchen with green wall and fuchsia and neon lined alcove shelving
Damian Russell

Personally though, with regard to colour, I’m drawn to using hot and cold together, such as shocking pink with cool turquoise. And I guess another constant in my work is the use of the synthetic or contemporary with the aged. This applies to my home as well: modern pieces with vintage ones, natural textures mixed with man-made.

Matthew Williamson's bathroom featuring collage wall behind showerhead over bath
Damian Russell

I don’t think people nowadays live like they used to, all fixed and formulaic. For instance, I can remember my parents investing in a carpet, whereas, even back then, I was constantly changing my room with postcards and posters. Good-quality design is so much more accessible now – much like high-street fashion. You can cheat.

Matthew Williamson's living room with mirrored walls, mirrored armchair and orange framed windows
Damian Russell

The most important thing, though, is to think about how you want to feel in a space. In my last home, I created a pillar-box red dining room. I’d been at the Hôtel Costes in Paris a few weeks previously and loved the boudoir-like intensity of its design. But, as I sat back in London, eating my Rice Krispies for breakfast, I realised that the look only truly worked when I was having an amazing dinner with someone fabulous!


Originally published in ELLE Decoration’s January 2009 issue, Matthew Williamson’s home is an ode to joyful decorating. Underlining the importance of staying true to your style, it encapsulates his flair for combining colour and pattern. More than ten years may have passed – Williamson has now swapped fashion for designing wallpaper, furniture and interiors – but this house still stands out from the crowd.

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