At home with Julien Macdonald

Julien Macdonald OBE has dressed divas including Kylie and Beyoncé in his signature glitz and glamour. And, yes, his taste in interiors is just as fabulous as you’d imagine...

Ideal Home had the pleasure to meet designer to the stars Julien Macdonald to talk about his Notting Hill home, decorating trends and his latest bejewelled collection for Designers at Debenhams.

Julien studied at the Royal College of Art in London, before being recruited by Karl Lagerfeld to work for Chanel, becoming creative director at Givenchy, then, in 2013, starring in Strictly Come Dancing. He still designs for the catwalk as well as the high street – his Designers at Debenhams homeware collection is in its eighth year.

Want home styling advice? Read 10 questions with Abigail Ahern.

Where do you call home?

I bought my Georgian townhouse five years ago. It was previously owned by an elderly lady, and was very shabby chic with textured walls and William Morris wallpaper. She'd stuck shells all over the bathroom walls, and even though I love shells, it was a bit like living in a Victorian grotto by the sea!

white bedroom with bed and windows

(Image credit: Debenhams)

Buy Now: Arienne Double Duvet Cover, £57; Pillowcases, £26 set of 2; Faux Fur Throw, £120; Round Silver Cushion, £26; Metallic Beaded Cushion, £35, all Star by Julien Macdonald at Debenhams.

How would you describe your interior style?

My style is quite flamboyant, yet chic. It certainly has the wow factor! I love old Hollywood and glamorous things. I like to entertain, so I have a great bronze Art Deco drinks trolley for serving cocktails in my living room. It’s my favourite room. There are two gorgeous original marble fireplaces, plus lots of textures and metallics on the wall. It’s very grand and quite masculine in a way. The colour scheme is chocolate and deep plum. One end of the room is silver with an Art Deco feel, while the other is in shades of bronze, featuring figurines of various birds. I also have a taxidermy bird of paradise that’s more than 100 years old and has fabulous feather wings.

fashion designer julien macdonald with black shirt

(Image credit: TBC)

More celebrity homes: Matthew Perry puts Hollywood home on the market for over $13.5million

What's the last thing you bought for your home?

It's rare that I buy anything new for my home. I have lots of old or vintage things and love finding little treasures. I did commission a huge round mirror for my hallway, though. It’s the first thing people see when they walk in, so I wanted it to be really bold and dramatic. It’s by an artist in Cornwall and covered in driftwood, coral and shells. It’s enormous and took about eight men to put it up! I collect Baccarat and Venetian glass, too, including paperweights from all over the world. My favourite is by Lalique and features a tropical scene.

white room with flower vase and glasses

(Image credit: Debenhams)

Buy Now: Silver Glitter Frame, £14; Pearlised Glass Vase, £30; Lustre Glasses, from £8 each, all Star by Julien Macdonald at Debenhmas

What is your best piece of decorating advice?

Decorating is surprisingly hard. Because I’m a designer, I thought it’d be quite easy, but I struggled to understand proportions. I’ve always designed clothes around the body, so when I had a space to fill, I discovered it was quite difficult. My friend, the interior designer Kelly Hoppen, advised me not to try to do everything in one go; to stick to a neutral palette and buy key pieces like a sofa or coffee table, then add items as I lived in the space. I made moodboards for each room then drew the furniture where it’d be placed in the room.

What have you learned about shopping for interiors?

blue room with mirror and sofa

All items above are from Julien's Autumn Winter collection launching in store in August 2017

(Image credit: Debenhams)

Don’t impulse buy! Think how much you want to spend, so you don’t go over budget, then collect images of styles you like before buying pieces you need. If in doubt, leave it out!

What interiors inspire you?

I love the houses of the rich and famous! We went to Tommy Hilfiger’s beach house for dinner and it was amazing. I’ve always been inspired by the places I travel to. The hotel I always revisit is The Tides in Miami, which is decorated in a late Seventies Deco style. All my work is influenced by old Hollywood and I like Marilyn Monroe and old movies. I reference the past, but I present the future in a glamorous, glitzy way.

More celebrity homes: Want to see Harry Styles' house? We hear this TriBeCa apartment block will also be home to Justin Timberlake and Jennifer Lawrence

The next instalment for Julien's Designer at Debenhams range will be in store from August 2017, be prepared for more fabulously glitzy pieces to dress your home.

Heather Young

Heather Young has been Ideal Home’s Editor since late 2020, and Editor-In-Chief since 2023. She is an interiors journalist and editor who’s been working for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines for over 20 years, both in-house and as a freelancer.