Title Magazine Interview: Liz Hayward, Interior Decorator & Stylist
One of the truly interesting design trends in Australia over the last 20 years has been the rise and rise of interior stylists.
The aspirational value that Australians place on their homes is core to this trend – and you’d have to say that renovator shows such as The Block, Better Homes and Gardens and Selling Houses Australia have certainly played their part. For apartment dwellers the need to differentiate and personalise interiors beyond the repetitive exteriors of unit development could also be a factor.
Whatever the reason more and more people – renters, homeowners, apartment dwellers, home renovators are seeking the services of a home stylist to help create their interiors
Hayward & Co founder, Liz Hayward, believes that quality thoughtful, tailored interiors should be available to everyone, and that impressive results can be achieved on almost any budget.
Title interviewed stylist Liz Hayward to find out more.
1. Why do you think styling is becoming such a strong trend in Australia.
Over the past few years home makeover shows and their consistent popularity have been a great factor in educating viewers and motivating them to want to show off their home.
The rise of social media has also meant we are ‘seeing’ into people’s homes more than ever. The broader availability of home decor products at really affordable price points, has meant that more people than ever have access to stylish home décor pieces.
2. Who is actually approaching you to style their living spaces – is it predominantly real estate developers for display apartments, real estate agents/owners looking to style for sale, and very up market homeowners? Are the services of a professional stylist beyond the average homeowner?
My client’s range in demographic, but they all have one thing in common, a love for their homes! I work directly with homeowners or renters to bring out the best in their house and to create a space they love coming home to.
My clients are everyday average home occupiers who have seen the value in hiring a decorator or stylist to avoid costly mistakes, and who understand that using a professional will not only save their time but also money. We know where to go to get the best piece at the best price!
3. How do you keep interiors looking fresh and individual e.g. sometimes when you look through real estate pages you see the same types of choices of furniture and fittings everywhere.
Styling a house that’s for sale is very different to styling to create a home. Real estate pages present you with a blank or muted canvas so you can imagine how you would add in your personal touches.
When styling a home, it is important to represent the person or people that live within it. Utilising pieces collected from their travels or inherited from a loved one goes so far in creating a home, not just a styled house. It is about adding in elements that have a story behind them and bringing the homeowner joy through its memories.
4. Do you think styling for apartments has some unique considerations – as opposed to styling for houses.
In apartments you must be very clear about how you use the space as spaces often need to have a multipurpose function. The lounge/dining area might be the TV area, dining room, home office and also your entertaining space. Therefore it is so important to invest in pieces that can serve many purposes.
This may include small ottomans that can be extra seating for guests, a footrest when you are watching TV, or a great home sound system that can take you from movie nights to long dinner parties with great ambient music. I often recommend products like the Naim Mu-so wireless speaker as it’s not only an excellent music device but can also double as sound bar to enjoy better sound from your TV.
5. Can you tell us about a time when you stepped over the threshold of a really appallingly designed apartment, why the decor may have been awful and how you approached it? Did you experience any resistance from the client?
I always start every consult with an open mind and try and find out why they have called me and how I can help bring out the best in the space for them. Often there is a story behind how they have come to feel about their home and understanding what that is should be the first major step in making changes.
What one person finds to be a really disagreeable piece of furniture might actually turn out to be something that has been handed down for generations, and that in itself is so beautiful. The challenge then for me as a decorator, is to make that piece work in the space and give it the highlight it deserves without compromising the rest of the design concept, and I love those challenges!
6. What is the current ‘big thing’ in styling – what do you think is the next, even ‘bigger thing’.”
I think the passion for interiors is growing in Australia, and with that comes a level of confidence. We’ll begin to see people moving away from trends of minimalism and monochromatic colour palettes to more bold and unique concepts.
Previously we have seen many homeowners adopting a “look” whether that be Hamptons, Scandi or Country Chic to name a few. However now more and more, I am hearing from clients that they don’t want it to look like everyone else’s home, they want it to look like it is their home and a representation of their life.
To learn more about Liz Hayward and her design insights go to
Photo Credits Interiors Elizabeth Bay, Sydney: Ryan Linnegarby