Kimberley Walsh on DIY disasters and why decorating is a form of self-care
Kimberley Walsh is taking a break from her favourite hobby when she dials into our Zoom call from her North London home.
“As we speak I’m doing some panelling in my bedroom, to give that a bit of an update,” says the former Girls Aloud star and self-confessed DIY queen, who prefers to roll up her sleeves and get to work rather than hiring decorators.
“I just put the panelling up. I need to paint it and I’m also doing my front door – I’m going to do it a colour, to make it a bit more of a feature.” (Lilac and sage green are the current frontrunners). “And then I’ll move on to something else, I’m sure.”
It’s been 10 years since the Bradford-born performer and TV presenter moved into the Victorian house she shares with husband Justin Scott and sons Bobby, eight, Cole, six, and Nate, one.
Now Walsh, 41, is in the process of revamping a variety of rooms, and got to fulfil a DIY dream by creating her very own paint colour with Wickes, called Blue Haze.
“I’ve been wanting to paint my main living space – which is a really lovely Victorian room with lots of details – for a while, and I knew I wanted it to be blue,” Walsh says.
“So I was like, ‘OK, this is the perfect chance for me to create the exact tone that I want’.”
And she’s thrilled with the finished result: “Once I did the colour it brought everything to life – all the Victorian archways, the fireplace, all the detailing just totally popped, and it really has changed it massively.”
Here, Walsh reveals how her DIY obsession began, why her mum is her ultimate inspiration, and how she chose her grey-blue hue…
What was the decor like in your house when you moved in 10 years ago?
“It was a very kind of unique style, I’ll call it that. There was leopard print wallpaper, a lot of really dark maroon walls, maroon carpets.
“It was definitely not my personal style colour-wise, so we stripped the whole thing back.”
Have you had any decor disasters with your kids?
“Obviously with three kids things need refreshing a little bit. You stop [noticing] all the drawing marks on the walls and then you’re like, ‘Actually, I need to fix that!’
“When I started painting I found like a few little sly areas where they’d done it where they thought, ‘[Mum’s] never really going to see this’.
“At least they’re clever enough to do it in a place I would never see unless I’m actually decorating!”
How would you describe your home decor style?
“It’s very traditional. I really don’t like modern homes. I can go to somebody else’s house and totally appreciate it if it’s done nicely and modern, but mine is definitely more traditional.
“I think the timelessness of that style is really good. Mine still stands the test of time because it’s traditional. Nothing’s really out of date, you can just kind of evolve with it.”
How did your love of DIY start?
“It definitely came from my mum. She was a single parent for most of [my childhood] and I think because we didn’t have a lot of money she used to do everything herself.
“I was always the one that was interested in wanting to help. My other sisters [Amy and Sally] and brother [Adam] were never really that interested, but I would always be there helping her wallpaper, doing painting, doing tiling.
“I don’t even like to talk about men and women when it comes to DIY, because, obviously, there’s some men that are terrible at DIY and equally, there’s some women that don’t get involved in it.
“But having a strong role model like that, that wasn’t scared of it and would look at wiring and changing plug sockets and research things and just get on and do it because she had no choice, made me see that as normal.”
What do you love about decorating?
“I find it actually quite therapeutic. It’s almost a little bit like self-care, because you switch off and focus on that job that you’re doing, and then it’s like instant gratification when you see the finished product.”
Is it a creative outlet for you, similar to music?
“I think it is actually, because when I was growing up I always said I would either be a singer or an interior designer, which is quite funny.
“I used to make big scrapbooks with my best friend of fabrics that I liked and wallpapers that I liked and paint colours. I was really into it from a very young age.
“Maybe this is is my way of kind of getting that creative side out.”
How did you decide on your paint colour, Blue Haze?
“The process was really fun, coming up with a million different shades of blue to the point where I couldn’t even see blue anymore.
“But once I narrowed it down to my top six and then tried the actual paint colours out, it became really obvious which was the winner.
“I’m really happy with how it’s turned out. The tone is absolutely perfect and I think it emphasises how much paint can transform a room – it’s the easiest way to do it.”
Wickes Matt Emulsion Paint By Kimberley Walsh Blue Haze, £15 for 2.5L, is available now.
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