Kevin McCloud reveals the one thing that all the best-looking homes he's seen have in common

All you need is something 'old, new, borrowed, and blue'

Kevin McCloud
(Image credit: Alamy)

It's no secret that Kevin McCloud is somewhat of an icon to us. Having overseen nearly 25 years of Channel 4's much-loved Grand Designs and witnessed countless transformations, best believe there's nobody more well-versed to speak on the many facets of the homes and interiors world.

Considering the presenter has followed a myriad of home renovation journeys, he's certainly seen some of the best of the best among all things home design – and despite all the differences between the homes he's stepped foot into, there is one thing all his favourite homes have in common.

Speaking to Ideal Home, Kevin lets us in on what he believes to be the key to creating a truly unique and personal space that looks great, no matter the size. Yes, that means even those sporting small living rooms and small kitchens can make their home look better with his tip.

Blue panelled and painted kitchen cabinets and drawers, wooden worktop

(Image credit: Future PLC/Caroline Mardon)

'The homes that excite me are not those that look like showrooms or which are beautiful, sheer, and impersonal, but actually, those which are sort of idiosyncratic, really,' explains Kevin.

'So often people when they design and decorate, they just look up stuff online. They go to Pinterest, they go to magazines, and they create an artificial version of themselves. But some of the best homes, the most inspiring, are those where you walk in and you think, “Somebody's life is here.”'

Living room detail with teal walls, cream carpet, vintage blue green velvet sofa and orange leather sofa, 1970s ombre glass pendant

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

'So I love those houses, whether it's old and new and borrowed and blue furniture, where things are still in progress, and where there's a big record collection or a big collection of books or where people have just not tidied up fully,' continues Kevin.

'The idea that the home has to be the sort of perfect, immaculate version of who you're not, seems to me utterly bonkers. I think it's when we have the courage to expose the soft underbelly and show to people, “This is who I am, this is how I live, this is my mess and my rubbish and all the stuff that's unresolved in my house. It's all here in my house,” then things start to really get interesting.'

A living room corner, a bookshelf and chesterfield sofa with side table and floor lamp

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

We don't know about you, but this is a huge sigh of relief. With countless home decor trends flooding our social media feeds and vision boards upon vision boards of living room, kitchen, and bedroom ideas piling up, there is often this pressure for our homes to be flawless all the time.

However, following the presenter's sentiment that our homes are reflections of us, it makes sense that maintaining a showroom home simply isn't possible – and that's okay. In fact, stepping away from a super 'themed' home is exactly what will elevate its appearance. Homes are meant to be lived in and be filled with nods towards our character, personality, and interests – even Kevin's own home is the same.

Kitchen diner with pink and blue units, kitchen island, white worktop and walls, wooden flooring, large sky lights and French doors to garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Kasia Fiszer)

'I've got stuff from IKEA, I've got stuff I've bought at Grand Designs Live, I've got stuff I've inherited, and I've got stuff which I've had since I was a student which I keep meaning to get rid of and haven't,' he reveals. 'This is why I come back to that original point: our homes are as unresolved as we are.'

'My biggest piece of advice is don't fret, don't worry about it. Enjoy it. Enjoy the ride.'

Kevin McCloud was speaking ahead of Grand Designs Live, the premier home exhibition, taking place at London ExCel between 4th 12th May.

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is Ideal Home’s Junior Writer. She’s always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham in 2022. Previously, she was an Intern Editor for ArchDaily. Now focused on news stories, Jullia can be found down the TikTok and Pinterest rabbit hole scrolling through any new and upcoming trends, hacks, and home inspiration.