A Place for Everything – Gwendoline Alderton talks Interior Design

Gwendoline Alderton left a high-profile career in the IT industry to launch GA Interiors in 2007. Her unique interior design philosophy puts happiness and mindfulness at the core of every project to bring positive energy, warmth, and imagination to homes across the UK. BIID registered, she also works as a radio correspondent, conference speaker and ‘House Doctor’ for numerous publications. We grilled Gwendoline for tips on how we can all inhabit happier, tidier homes with minimal effort.

Our homes are a reflection of our lifestyles, hopes and dreams. How can the services of an interior designer help someone trying to overcome the problems that untidiness and clutter can bring?

A messy or untidy home shows that you are struggling in some part of your life. Maybe you’re feeling tired and exhausted, you’re overwhelmed with life or grief, or you’re suffering from physical or mental illness.

We can usually cope with some mess in our lives, but then it gets to the stage when you want to do something about it. I help by starting at the root of the problem. Firstly, I identify your clutter personality and the triggers that might be hindering you. From there I work out a plan of action to create a home that is easy for you to organise, tidy up and keep on top of things.

As well as having the right storage solutions that suit your clutter personality, I’ll make sure you have the right processes in place so that tidying becomes effortless.  If your space isn’t organised for you and your lifestyle, then it’s like sweeping the dirt under the rug because you never get rid of it, and the pile just gets bigger and bigger.

When I talk about the importance of organisation, it’s not to say that I want you to live in a stark and lifeless show-home. My aim is for your space to be perfectly presentable, which means that you’re able to make a mess and live in your home, but when you want it looking neat and tidy then it should be a simple and painless task.

What are the most common mistakes that people make when sprucing up or renovating their homes?

I read a statistic recently that said 90% of people are dissatisfied with their homes, even after they’ve just decorated. All that worry, pain and money they’ve spent, only to feel disappointed with the results. It’s such a shame.

The most common mistake I see is when people focus purely on current trends instead of creating a design that’s personal to them. A healthy home can be stylish as well as being individual to you. Your home should nurture and support you, making you feel safe and secure. Ideally, it’s the place you can relax and unwind whilst feeling invigorated and energised at the same time.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I get inspiration from everywhere, but I always remember to look up as well as down. So many people miss the detail when they only focus on where they’re going. I like to add a little more contingency into my journeys so that I have time to look, see and explore the world around me.

Handbags need to look good and work hard. What are the key aspects to consider when you’re researching your next purchase?

I often go from a client meeting, to a construction site and finish the day shopping for interiors, so I need a bag that looks great, and saves me time with pockets to organise my things. It has to be able to cope with the dust and dirt of building works, strong enough to take my laptop and décor samples, and be easy to carry by hand or slung over my shoulder when my hands are full. Sarah Haran’s Daisy is my weapon of choice because it has so many features I adore, and can adapt to my changing needs easily and somehow still manages to be stylish as well as totally practical. In the same way as interiors are not just about the wallpaper or carpet we chose, an outfit is so much more than just clothes; it’s the accessories, the make-up, the hairstyle and your perfume. People see the complete picture – rather like a canvas walking down the street!

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