Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen Home Truths - we reveal the unusual scent he finds festive

Interior designer, author and TV presenter Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen reveals where (and how) he celebrates Christmas

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen close up portrait
(Image credit: Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen)

Interior designer, author and TV presenter Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen lives in the Cotswolds with his wife Jackie and their three dogs. 

The couple have two daughters, Cecile and Hermione, who live with their families in the same grounds as their parents.

Here, he talks us through how he spends Christmas, from his festive non-negotiables to the way him and his family spend the big day.

What is your favourite time at Christmas?

Everything! We just let our hair down, feast and have a riot, in as controlled a way as possible!

What’s your non-negotiable, must-have at home at Christmas?

My family of course. However, unlike most families we all live in close proximity to each other so they absolutely have to stay put, they can’t go anywhere! 

We spend so much time together as a unit; my kids, their husbands and my grandchildren that we are all great friends.

What part of Christmas planning do you love the best?

I love doing the decorations! I am super big on Christmas garlands and my favourite part of the festival is decorating the fireplace with them.

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen standing beside a brightly painted bathtub

(Image credit: Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen)

What part of Christmas planning do you dislike the most?

I dislike the expectation that comes with feeling you have to have a good time. You can’t force that feeling, it has to happen organically!

What smell says ‘Christmas’ to you?

Spring bulbs! That might sound strange but I love to put them all over the house at Christmas time, planted in containers with moss. 

I make small displays around the rooms that recreate little gardens and with the fresh air mixed in from the local countryside, it gives a wonderful smell. 

I love the fact that we can be living in the depths of winter, yet my home smells of Spring!

How do you decide on what decorations go up?

My wife Jackie loves doing all the decorations and it really depends each year as we have the same disagreement over the Christmas tree. 

We live in a home that has very low ceilings so I don’t find the Christmas tree fits in nicely as it can look squashed and stumped. I’d be more than happy just to stick with garlands, over a tree!

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen lying on a bed drinking a cup of tea

(Image credit: Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen)

Are you a Christmas minimalist or do you prefer to go all out?

Ah, you see this is an interesting question as my new book More, More, More is all about not being a minimalistic and encouraging clutter and all your objects of desire in one room. I believe the home should be a museum of You, so the more the better!

Do you have a favourite Christmas song?

I dislike Christmas music more than anything. I have a real problem with songs that have anything about rocking around the Christmas tree in them.

Do you have any traditions at Christmas?

I am not sure if it is a tradition or a rule we stick by but Christmas lunch should not be had late afternoon like a lot of people serve it. It should be at 1pm, lunch time! Many people in my family have low blood pressure so the sooner they eat the better chance there is that no arguments or tired dips will occur.

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen in a loft room fileed with decorative wallpaper and patterned cushions

(Image credit: Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen)

Do you host friends and family over the holidays?

Our home is full of family, friends, waifs and strays at Christmas. You won’t find less than twenty people in our home on Christmas day.

Quick fire questions with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen standing beside a console table and lamp

(Image credit: Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen)

Decorations - traditional or modern? Traditional!

Tree - real or artificial? If I had it my way it would be a fake one, but I don’t have it my way! 

Presents - do you treat yourself? No way. But I do love giving gifts – the more packaging the better. 

Stockings - yes or no? Yes to stockings. Always! Even for my grown up kids! Sometimes in January my wife and I may even start looking for stocking gifts. We then tend to lose them though by the time Christmas comes around. 

Do your dogs get a Christmas present? Yes! My three Spaniels are part of the family.

Christmas meal - lunch time or dinner time? Always at 1pm!

Christmas turkey or something else? We never go big on the turkey. Instead we will have plates of gammon and a variety of crowned meat.

More More More: Making Maximalism Work in Your Home and Life by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen | £12, Amazon

More More More: Making Maximalism Work in Your Home and Life by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen | £12, Amazon

Anyone who has watched LLB on the telly over the years knows that he doesn't shy away from maximalism. In this book, he lays out the rules to follow to help you bring a touch of joyful decorative exuberance to your home, too.

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