Q&A with Nelson / Marlborough / West Coast interior designer Amanda Lavender

How did you end up in interiors?

Interior design is a new industry for me. I come from the events world and have always enjoyed the planning and styling that was involved, but decided a career change was in need. I was lucky to work for a very talented interior designer here in Blenheim, and during that time studied a Diploma in Interior Design. I now have the design bug.


What do you say to those who think they don’t need decorating help?

I take those comments not as a negative but as a positive, that that person wants to be able to put their own stamp on their space. I would say we are not there to dictate their space, but more to help tie all their ideas together and make the process a fun and successful one that will hopefully minimise costly mistakes.

A treasured holiday find sits pretty on a simple sideboard, marrying clean lines and personal touches


What do you wish your clients knew about interior design?

All interior designers will have a certain style that they love, but a good interior designer should be able to design in all styles so clients love and feel comfortable in their homes. A really important attribute to picking a designer comes down to the connection you have with them. You will be spending a lot of time together and need to be able to make the process fun.


What’s your interiors style?

I have a real love of Scandinavian design. My home is filled with beautiful soft palettes from my duck egg blue sofas, to my $5 bargain chair that I recovered in soft teals and greys. I love to op-shop and up-cycle furniture, with Scandinavian and simplistic designs in mind. I also love to collect from our travels. My blush pink handmade Portuguese jug is always on show, and our walls are filled with artwork from here and abroad.


Can you share a style secret?

Try not to follow the crowd, go with what you love and what makes you smile.  If it makes you happy, go for it.


If money was no object, what would you include in every job?

An original piece of artwork. I love how it transforms a room, and what it can tell you about people.


Anything you can save on?

Up-cycling and op-shops. These can be amazing places to get your hands on bargains. From leftover fabric to make cushions or cover headboards, to little trinkets to accessorise your rooms.


What’s the next big thing?

The re-introduction of velvet in sofas, cushions and bedding. Dark green is going to replace the current deep blue bedroom and will mean you can match it up with beautiful natural leathers, linens and brass, and create a lovely Scandi feel to your home.


Easiest way to transform a home?

De-clutter would be the first thing on my list. Get rid of anything that you haven’t used or doesn’t inspire you or create joy any more  – as per Marie Kondo. The rule of ‘one thing out, one thing in’ works really well. Then, change the cushions on your sofas, and maybe add a rug to your hallway or bedroom. Making small changes in colour or texture can transform a room with minimal work.


Your dream house?

Open-plan with a view to die for, where I could have lots of social gatherings, but with little nooks where you can escape and relax with a book, or watch a movie.