New series of Changing Rooms returns to our screens

Cult interior design show Changing Rooms returns to Channel 4 this week
New series of Changing Rooms returns to our screens

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and presenter Anna Richardson on a set designed by Laurence for the new series of Changing Rooms on Channel 4

DAPPER Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen is known for his bold design choices, but his thoughts on how the UK Prime Minister and his wife should decorate their Downing Street flat might still raise eyebrows.

It should be unashamedly “quirky”, the interior designer and TV personality asserts. “Put a bit of paisley on the front door, for sure,” he suggests.

Laurence, aged 56, is speaking in the run up to the long-awaited return of cult interior design show Changing Rooms on Channel 4 on Wednesday, August 18, at 8pm — which will see him back as a designer alongside host Anna Richardson.

Whether viewers tuned in to pick up interior design inspiration or just in the hope someone was really going to hate their new-look home, Changing Rooms was one of the most talked-about shows of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Now it’s back, bringing with it more colours, patterns textures and imagination. 

The new series also features designers Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead, and carpenter and joiner Tibby Singh in what long-standing fans know as the Handy Andy role.

In the first episode, they head to Swansea, where florist Claire is hoping her postal-worker neighbour Lisa can turn her beige living room into something a little more ostentatious. Will we see plenty more tears and copious crockery breakages?

Meanwhile, Laurence is warming to the idea of making strong interier choices for Boris and Carrie Johnson’s flat. 

“Surely the whole point of Downing Street is to act as a showpiece for what British design is about and how incredibly exciting it is?” he contends. 

“I would much rather our leader presented a vision of British interior, British craft, that was incredibly relevant and that was very much about leading the pack, that was very inspirational, rather than just being off the shelf from John Lewis or out of the tin from Farrow & Ball.”

It’s clear Llewelyn-Bowen is as fond of flamboyant style as he ever was. But when Changing Rooms comes back there will be some changes, he promises.

Newly acquired by Channel 4, the cult programme which ran between 1996 and 2004, will mark 25 years since the first episode.

“That is a very, very long time,” says Laurence, noting the “big changes — we’re still doing two days, we’re still swapping neighbours, we don’t know anything about our client, but we’ve got really serious, decent budgets.

“So often with the original series, the designs were great —but they just never ended up being that well-built. With the best will in the world, it was kind of like a Crossroads set!”

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