Design Service: How to Decorate a New Build Apartment

Here's how the Laura Ashley Design service executed a timeless and classic look in one of London's most contemporary new apartment buildings... read more

A new build property provides the perfect blank canvas. A fresh space to decorate and design from scratch, with the ability to create a new space to reflect the unique style of the inhabitant. Understandably, however, knowing where to begin can be a very daunting task.

Luckily, we have a few experts on hand via the Laura Ashley Interior Design Service, who were recently tasked with the challenge of fully furnishing not one, not two, but three brand new apartments in the heart of London’s regenerated Vauxhall location. Today, we hear from one of our Interior Designers, Emilie to see exactly how the Laura Ashley Design Service approached these new build apartments. Emilie talks us through the design process, key considerations, and how the team work closely with clients to establish a design plan that reflects the client’s needs, ensuring the project is finished to the highest quality and standard.

Design Service: How to Decorate a New Build Apartment | Laura Ashley

0B8A9690 What was the brief for this project?

There was little or no brief for this project; in fact the only specification was that the client wanted a timeless and classic look, which still worked well in the very contemporary apartments. I was also told that everything was needed; from beds and sofas to mirrors, lamps and table settings. Every item that you can see in these photographs is from Laura Ashley.

How did you choose the colour pallet?

As I was given such free reign I wanted to stick to colours that would appeal to most people. In all three apartments, the bedrooms have soft natural and grey base colours where I have then added splashes of colour in accessories. Soft amethyst adds a gentle and calming touch, while seasprays complement the view of the Thames which can be seen from every room. The living and dining rooms are slightly bolder, but the dark wood furniture is compatible with the kitchen and also gives a sophisticated feel. The brighter gold finishes create a modern continuity throughout and also add a warmth to the off-white walls and sheer curtains.

Design Service: How to Decorate a New Build Apartment | Laura Ashley

Design Service: How to Decorate a New Build Apartment | Laura Ashley

What are the key furniture pieces in this project?

For me I think that the footstools in the living area are brilliant. With such an open space like this living and dining area, the last thing you want is a heavy and static coffee table. The upholstery adds a softness, and footstools are just so versatile! As well as being able to pop your feet up you can also use a tray to create a space for drinks, and then when extra guests are present the footstool can be pulled out and used as seating to create a wonderful conversational space. Our Lincoln and Hudson footstools are also buttoned which adds some luxury to their style as well.

0B8A9901 Design Service: How to Decorate a New Build Apartment | Laura Ashley

Which home accessories were chosen and why?

There are many accessories in all three apartments; some functional and practical, and some have been chosen because they are beautiful too! The mirrors and artwork look fantastic as well as providing functionality. Many of the mirrors are rounded which works wonderfully with the curvature of the walls, as well as reflecting the light and the amazing views too. The artwork adds colour and interest to the off-white paint, and many of the pieces reflect nature which is calming and necessary in a busy city environment.

Design Service: How to Decorate a New Build Apartment | Laura Ashley

Design Service: How to Decorate a New Build Apartment | Laura Ashley 0B8A9683 Talk us through how you came to achieve the finished look for each room.

The process began as always with an initial site visit and consultation where I spoke to the client about any primary ideas, requirements and needs, and then took measurements and photographs of the space. I then took away some floor plans and spent some time sketching and coming up with different schemes for each apartment, as well as setting up a detailed quotation. Our wonderful creative team made up some mood boards with tactile swatches of materials and imagery of the furniture that I had recommended, and these were then sent out to the client. They were happy with everything and there were no alterations to be made. However, I revisited the site once more to double-check the size of everything, and mark out where the furniture would sit in order to visualise the use of space better. The order was then processed and in a few months time I was back at the apartments accepting the furniture delivery and dressing all of the rooms. Our recommended curtain fitters also came to hang the blinds at the same time, which meant that the finished look came together quite suddenly which was so lovely to experience.

Design Service: How to Decorate a New Build Apartment | Laura Ashley

Design Service: How to Decorate a New Build Apartment | Laura Ashley

0B8A9926 How do you ensure the interior aesthetic is complementary to the building design?

With Laura Ashley products there is a lot of flexibility regarding the direction of the aesthetic. I visit many properties including quaint cottages, seaside holiday homes, barn conversions, Edwardian townhouses, and modern new-builds like these apartments. One of the most important things to consider in these apartments, in particular, was the curvature of the walls and windows in both the master bedrooms and the living and dining rooms. The furniture had to fit into these rounded shapes and complement the softness. As well as this the carpets were already in place and with their plush pile I knew straight away that velvet textures would dovetail well alongside them. The ceiling lighting was also an existing feature, and rather than let this limit me I realised that it actually gave me the flexibility to have more fun and be bold with both table and floor lamps. Finally, for me, it was important to think about the flow not just within the apartments, but in the whole building. The lobby area is very spacious, with crushed velvet textures and beautiful sculptural lighting, and this is something I felt needed to be coherent in order for the client to feel as though they were home as soon as they stepped into the building.

Design Service: How to Decorate a New Build Apartment | Laura Ashley

0B8A9655 What are some tips to consider when considering a full home design makeover?

I would suggest starting with the window dressings and then generally everything else will fall into place much more easily. I think it is a priority for me to focus the attention in a room on the light, the view and therefore on the windows. The next things to consider are the bigger pieces of furniture and I would measure and mark things out to give yourself an idea of scale. Also, check that the access for the furniture into the rooms is okay too! Decide on wall-coverings and paint colours and whether you want a coherent scheme running throughout your home, or if you would prefer each room to have its own individuality and feel like they are separate spaces for different uses. Finally, accessories can add colour, texture and print, and I would advise being brave with the smaller pieces as they are much more interchangeable.

Design Service: How to Decorate a New Build Apartment | Laura Ashley

Design Service: How to Decorate a New Build Apartment | Laura Ashley

Interested in updating your own property but unsure where to start? Let us help you transform your home with our expert interior design service. For as little as £50 for one room and £25 for each room thereafter, we can work together to transform ideas into reality. To book an appointment, simply compelte the online short form on our Design Service page or contact:


I Love this! Could you do this also for a very
tiny appartment and an also tiny bedroom? Thank you.

Hi Jennifer,

The design team is happy to work with any space. To find out more or to book an appointment, ask in store or contact the Laura Ashley Design Service: or call us on 0333 202 1197 (Calls charged at standard national rate. Calls from mobiles and other operators may cost more. Calls may be recorded and monitored)

The Laura Ashley Team x

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