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Georgina Burnett on decor do’s, don’ts, and disasters

Goodbye grey! It's time to bring a splash of colour into our homes and who better to advise on how to create the perfect space than TV presenter and DIY expert Georgina Burnett?

TV presenter, DIY expert, author, vlogger and property developer Georgina Burnett is never happier than when upcycling a piece of furniture, and once painted for 24 hours straight (on camera, while giving interior design advice!), for Children in Need.

The Brewers Decorator Centres ambassador has refurbed countless properties, doing much of the work herself. She chatted to Muddy about getting it right (and wrong!) and when she and her husband disagree on decor…   

Hi Georgina! Can you tell us all about your favourite room in your home?

Georgina’s living room. Credit: Veronica Rodriguez

I love my lounge. It’s a multifunctional room because I relax, sometimes work in there and it’s also where my piano is. It’s a great entertaining space as well (although not whilst I’m playing the piano as I’m not very good!).

I’ve gone for really rich teals and turquoises but livened it up with accents of orange and it never fails to make me smile. With low lighting in the evening I find it really relaxing, but with the sun pouring in during the day the orange comes alive and injects me with motivation. 

That sounds like a colour combination that could go wrong – how do we avoid a dog’s dinner with bold colours?

They’re not combinations that I would suggest someone afraid of using colour goes for. But you do need to experiment a bit and be confident to go with it when it looks right to you. In this country we’re so good at playing it safe with the greiges, but it’s a shame because colour can really boost your mood and confidence. A good way to start is go with a colour you like and get yourself a colour wheel for a quid online. Find the opposite colour on the wheel and use that, then it’ll really pop. I really love the new Emotion of Colour range from Albany – you can buy it at Brewers. Actually, you can buy everything to do with interiors at Brewers!

What are the on-trend colours now?

I’d be careful about going with what is in fashion and go with your gut. Lime is really singing to me at the moment. Lime is playful and I wanted to bring it down to earth with darker richer colours – so I went with the plum in a recent bedroom scheme. Teal and orange isn’t an unusual combination – they’re opposite ends of the colour wheel as well.

Ok – but you haven’t always got it right… or have you?

I’ve just been clearing out the loft and I had kept furnishings from the flat that my husband and I first bought that set us off our journey. I found these curtains that are a taupe colour with a strong black pattern on them. I look at them and just think what were we thinking – I don’t ever see them coming back. But at the time we loved them.

It’s all well and good following a fashion but you have to make yourself feel a certain way – you’re the one that’s living there all the time and it should make you happy. When we lived in that house, we loved those curtains!

That doesn’t sound too awful – there must be some other horror story…

When I was at uni I moved a lot and every single time I would decorate my own room and I put so much effort into it. I hung old CDs from the ceiling once because I thought it was cool, and draped nets. I’m not sure that will come back.

Any design trends now that make you shudder?

Georgina is hands-on when she’s refurbing

At the moment there’s a thing about shiplap – horizontal cladding with a gap like the side of a ship – and it really worries me because it’s just the kind of stuff I have had to rip out of properties I’ve updated. It looks like a sauna. I mean, wood is a warm material and it’s cosy but you’re losing space and I don’t see that lasting, plus, it’s such a dust trap. You’ll regret it within a couple of years. I mean, how was woodchip ever a good idea?

Do you and your husband agree on interiors?

One of Georgina’s marbled paint artworks. Credit: Veronica Rodriguez

My husband calls me his ‘angel of thrift’ because I’m not a fancy interior designer spending a fortune on things. When I first buy a property I look at what I can keep. Do you need to rip out a huge kitchen, when you can just replace the doors – and you can paint tiles instead of removing them, or re-grout in a different colour.

We do disagree on art though. He thinks of himself as an art buff and has bought a few pieces over the years. For me the room needs to complement the art, so I’ve only recently started doing my own artwork to hang in a room, especially with marbled paint. He thinks the art can hang regardless of the décor around it.  

The property market is bonkers at the moment. What advice would you give to people who’ve blown the budget on the mortgage?

A lick of paint and colourful accessories are a good start…

If you’ve spent a lot on the property, it’s not actually a bad thing. Every property has a ceiling to what it’s worth so if you put in a ridiculously expensive kitchen you may never get that money back.

For a short-term facelift, start with a neutral background on every surface, then add colour with accessories. A lick of paint will completely transform a property, but get a decent trade durable paint.

If you use cheap paint, it’ll need more coats, they fade, and they mark terribly. If you’ve got a family home, it’s game over. I’ve got a six-year-old and we have playdates all the time. I just wipe the wall when I need to. They still look new six years after we renovated.

More interiors inspo…

Layer up your living room
Kitchens 2021: the latest designs and colours
Trends: ‘Cottage-core’, colour and clashing

Georgina has worked with Brewers Decorator Centres on a series of videos about redecorating, tips and trends. Brewers is the trade’s best-kept secret, with 13 Sussex locations (179 nationwide) packed with luxe brands like Farrow & Ball and a new Albany collaboration with Ideal Home called Emotions of Colour. Pick a colour from the range to set the mood in your home.

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