Can you tell us about how you got into interior design?

Andrea McLean

Andrea McLean

It started out as a need rather than a vocation; I could only afford to live in places that needed doing up and redecorating. I didn't have much money so I had to do it myself. So in my first flat I bought an end of line carpet off-cut and underlay and laid it myself. I painted the whole place, re-tiled the bathroom (I cut myself to shreds!), made pelmets for above the windows, and got a friend to help me lay new patio.

What are you currently working on?

I'm revamping my bedroom. It's been a girly pale pink for four years, and it's time for a change! I'm looking into painting my windows and having duo-colour - different colour on the outside to the inside. It always looks so chic.

Can you tell us a bit about your home? What period/style is it and what are your biggest inspirations in terms of interior design?

I live in a medium sized home. I have kept things simple, lots of grey and white and natural colours. I like the look of New England style homes, with shabby chic, white washed colours and big beautiful wood windows to let in lots of light.

What's your favourite feature about your home?

My American-style porch. It was the best money I've ever spent as it makes me happy every day. It's a wide wooden veranda painted in pale grey with up-cycled wicker furniture. I love it. I'm a fan of natural products in the home and I will always incorporate wood over plastic. It looks so much more beautiful; you really can't get better which is why I'm working with the Wood Window Alliance.

Why do you think wood windows are the perfect addition to your home?

They finish it off like a pair of beautiful shoes complete a wonderful outfit. They can last twice as long as plastic alternatives and they are just stunning. I love that you can repaint them to match your interior design as and when you please.

How do you like to dress your windows?

I have white wooden shutters in every window. Some of my windows I've left with just the shutters, and others I've put curtains on poles over the top to finish the look. There is so much you can do with them, they're incredibly versatile.

What are your tips for maximising light in the home?

Use light colours where possible, especially in areas with little natural light like the hall. It will make the room instantly bigger and brighter.

What design trends do you think will be the most popular for 2016?

Festival chic is hitting the shops right now, with bright pops of colour, embroidery and beading. I love all of those quirky designs.

Have you got any styling tips for making a small space look bigger?

Keep it simple and get de-cluttering! Mess instantly makes somewhere look claustrophobic. Clever use of mirrors also works.

What are your interior design no-no's? Have you ever seen anything really terrible?

One person's terrible is another person's nirvana, so it's difficult to criticise anyone's design choices just because they don't tie in with my own. Saying that, the worst thing I've seen was a bathroom that the home owner had painted gloss black. Everything, the floor, walls and ceiling were badly painted, poorly applied gloss black. It also had these horrible plastic windows that looked so dirty! I was convinced it had spiders in every corner - my worst fear! I never went back in there again!

Andrea is an ambassador for the Wood Window Alliance, which is committed to enhancing homes with beautiful energy-saving windows that you can rely on. For more information visit

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