Meet the interior designer: Laura Stephens

Laura Stephens

We sit down with the very talented Laura Stephens to chat about interior design, lighting in layers and finding inspiration at Blenheim Palace…

“...I believe that interiors should be beautiful and uplifting. Interiors should elevate your mood and bring you pleasure every single day...”

Based in Dulwich, London, Laura Stephens Interiors is an established interiors practice specialising in residential properties. From large townhouses to pied-à-terres, Laura uses her confidence with colour and pattern to push the boundaries of her clients’ tastes and create simply stunning interiors. Here’s our Q&A…

Laura Stephens interior

Photo: Chris Snook

Tell us about your background … How did you get started in interior design?

Interiors have always been my passion. However, I started off my career as a Geography teacher! Having my first child, Daisy, meant that I couldn’t disappear on field trips and spend long hours sweating over A-levels so I decided upon a career change. 

I enrolled on an interior design course at Chelsea School of Art and Design and set up on my own. Having not worked for a large studio before I very much learnt on the job – and through wonderful clients trusting me with their homes.


How would you describe your interior design ethos? 

I believe that interiors should be beautiful and uplifting. Interiors should elevate your mood and bring you pleasure every single day. I create interiors specific to my clients’ tastes and needs – but there is the same thread of the use of colour, beautiful details, elegance and layering of pattern, texture and light with every project. 

I truly believe that home should be a sanctuary and my aim is to give my clients a place which is uniquely theirs and somewhere they can retreat to in comfort and joy.

Laura Stephens Stucco

Interior by Laura Stephens (featuring Pooky's Stucco table lamp). Photo: Chris Snook


What inspires you when it comes to interiors?

I find inspiration through so many things. It could be a painting in a gallery, a beautiful ceramic, colours of the trees in a local park on a walk with my dog or through a beautiful coffee table book on architecture or art. 

I love the work of American designers such as Bunny Williams and Steven Gambrel and they constantly inspire me. I recently visited Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire and came back brimming with ideas on how I could translate the beautiful details of the historic interiors into my work.

What do you most enjoy about your work?

There are so many elements of my work which I enjoy. At the top of the list has to be when a client completely trusts me to create and carry out a project and I can transform their living space. There aren’t many jobs where you see such tangible results and it brings me immense pleasure when a client loves what I’ve done for them. 

Second to that I love the creativity that my job allows. I feel so lucky to be able to lose myself in a creative world and that part of my job simply does not feel like work to me.

I also love finding amazing suppliers and working with craftsmen who bring immense skill to help me realise my projects - without them I wouldn’t be here.


Well Cottage, Cotswolds. Interiors by Laura Stephens. Photos: Paul Massey


How did all the lockdowns affect you and your work?

With three children (all girls) homeschooling, husband and a new puppy all in the house for weeks on end, I can’t pretend it was easy!  My youngest was seven at the time and my priority was to keep their wellbeing and education on track. I cut back to the essential elements of my projects and worked evenings and at the weekends.

All of the reflective time people had in their homes during lockdown most certainly ignited a new found enthusiasm for many of us in our home surroundings. In the interiors industry I think we’ve been really fortunate that that enthusiasm has been good for our business. Since more people than ever are working from home or ‘hybriding’ between home and the office I have been asked to create more work spaces and multipurpose rooms than ever before.

Well Cottage, Cotswolds. Interiors by Laura Stephens. Photos: Paul Massey


How does lighting play a part in your interiors? 

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of my interiors: it can make or break a room and is integral to my designs. 

When I put together colour schemes lighting is a key way in which I bring those schemes to fruition. Ceramic table lamps bring colour and texture, while using brass fixtures brings warmth and adds a glow to almost every type of interior scheme. 

Any top lighting tips you’d like to share?

Always use lighting in horizontal levels or layers. Think ceiling height (although I don’t always find ceiling lights are necessary), eye level height (through wall lights) and low level height. I incorporate lighting at all these levels to create task and mood lighting. 

Lighting isn’t just practical. A beautiful coloured or printed shade can transform a room and bring individuality and flair to a space. A statement lamp can elevate a room and I like to play with perspective. Having an over-sized shade, for example, can add unexpected drama to a room. 


Finally, do you have a favourite Pooky light (and if so, why that one?)

I love so many but the one I come back to time and time again is your Stella pendant light. It is such a classic design and adds a central light which is beautiful and timeless. But because it’s glass and brass, it doesn’t dominate a colourful scheme. 

Pooky's Stella pendant light, styled by Laura Stephens. Photo: Chris Snook


See more of Laura's beautiful interiors on her website and follow her on Instagram @laurastephensid.



Portrait of Laura (top) by Tamsin Cox