Olivia Bowen: a day in the life of the TV star turned designer

Olivia Bowen

Olivia Bowen is a TV presenter and media personality. With a happy marriage to husband Alex, a new baby, over 3.1 million Instagram followers and several renovations in process, she’s super-busy. She has a great flair for interiors and is full of handy renovation tips. So what happens in a typical day in Olivia’s life?

So, Olivia Bowen: what time do you get up in the morning, and what’s your morning routine?

Olivia Bowen: “Well, now I have the baby, the time I wake up is a lot earlier than it used to be. At the moment, he’s getting up at half five, slightly earlier than I’m used to. But we’ll get the baby out, go downstairs, have some breakfast, go upstairs, get all dressed. And then we usually take him out for a walk in the morning with the dogs. And then my husband Alex sometimes goes to the gym. If he goes to the gym, then I look after the baby, or I go horse riding and then he looks after the baby. And then when I get back, that’s when we start all our work.”

the designer with her baby
Olivia with adorable four-month-old baby son Abel. Photography: Olivia Bowen on Instagram.

Now you’re renovating your house, aren’t you? So is a typical day for you doing renovation work? Or hiring trades?

Olivia Bowen: “So at the moment, we have an extension project going on at our home. So that’s taking up a bit of our day. And then we’ve also got a renovation project going on up in Birmingham. This is actually nearing the end, I think it’s got about a month left to go.

“So usually it will start by me having a call with the project manager up in Birmingham, who is coincidentally Alex’s stepdad. So that makes it quite a nice phone call in the morning. And so in the morning I’ll catch up with what’s going on and what’s left to do.

“All of the design ideas, and what actually goes into the house are my doing so I’ll always have to confirm products and spend lots of time on the internet, trying to find deals and good things to get to go in there that stay within our budget. Lots of carpet, paint, bathroom and kitchen products. That’s what I’ve been looking at in the past few weeks.”

Olivia Bowen in her hallway
Olivia Bowen in her hallway, featuring on-trend herringbone flooring. Photography: Olivia Bowen on Instagram.

More about Olivia Bowen’s day

Olivia Bowen: “And then I’ll move on to our extension at home that I’m doing. So I’ll have to find different companies and suppliers for that. I’m looking at windows, bifold doors and glass. That’s what I’m doing at the moment.

“But that usually takes me up to lunchtime. And then after lunch, I usually start looking at the design ideas. So I look at my mood boards, my inspiration boards, and then try and look at the fit out for the extension. And also for the next house that we plan to purchase to renovate. That’s something that I’m doing at the moment.

“So it’s always looking for the next project. The next thing that could be really great, that has a good turnaround.”

playroom designed by Olivia Bowen
Olivia and husband Alex with Abel in the dreamy playroom Olivia designed for him. Photography: Olivia Bowen on Instagram.

That’s so exciting. So how would you describe your interiors style?

Olivia Bowen: “I love a bit of glam. I also love being cosy. I absolutely love light wood, and I like cosy materials. Lots of bouclé. And it’s all about the warm lighting. I’d say my style is country but a bit glam.”

Olivia Bowen's mood board for the playroom
Olivia’s mood board for Abel’s playroom. Photography: Olivia Bowen on Instagram.

Oh, that sounds really nice. And do you have three interior design rules that you live by?

Olivia Bowen: “So I would say the first one is: always have an accent colour in a room, to bring it all together. Have it in certain things like a cushion or a duvet cover or mugs. I always like one colour to bring everything together and I think it’s quite an easy way to make a room cohesive.

“The next thing would be to add things into your home that are easily interchangeable and buy them more cheaply. So things like cushions, I don’t like to spend too much money on. But I like to change things out and switch stuff up. So if I’m buying glasses or cushions, I’ll usually go to Ikea – or somewhere that, if I break them, I’m not gonna cry. I can easily switch them up, so that’s another really great rule to live by.”

Abel's playroom
Another shot of Abel’s cute playroom, designed by Olivia. Photography: Olivia Bowen on Instagram.

More design tips from Olivia Bowen

“And lastly, I like a neutral colour palette for the expensive things. So on the flip side, our kitchen cabinets, and our sofas and things are all quite neutral colours and are easily added to, because they’re investment pieces. So anything that, you know, is quite an expensive piece, invest in it and make sure it’s something that’s going to work for a long time because lots of trends change.

“Things like sofas or kitchen cabinets, things like that are super expensive. You want to make sure that they’re going to last you a long time and are going to work in a lot of colour schemes.”

Alex's music studio
A 3D rendering of Alex’s glam modern new studio. Photography: Olivia Bowen on Instagram.

Would you have three renovation tips for readers about to start their own journey into the world of renovations?

Olivia Bowen: “Yeah, I think the first one would be to shop around for your builders. I think it’s really hard to find really good builders. And people that you trust, I think it’s a really difficult thing to do. So, if you have the time, really shop around and make sure that you are looking for someone that you can easily speak to and that you trust. Which is easier said than done, I know.”

Olivia Bowen is usually in the middle of a renovation
Olivia is usually in the middle of a renovation. Photography: Olivia Bowen on Instagram.

“Secondly, I found that when we renovated our home, it was a great idea to live in it for a good six or seven months before doing anything drastic. Because you find the way that you live changes, and you work out what you need. So you’ll put your mug on a certain place in the kitchen or you’ll walk a certain way in the house. There’s certain things that you’ll notice whilst you’re in there that lead to really good design ideas. So I would say always live in it as long as possible if you can, before renovating.

“Then the last tip: again, I would say try and invest in things that need to last you a long time. So I know it’s so tempting to go for those quick fixes for a lot of things. But for things like kitchen cabinets, I feel like there’s a there’s a lot to be said for investing in those pieces that are going to be there a long time.”

Olivia Bowen's utility room
Olivia’s gorgeous utility room, decked out in warm neutrals. Photography: Olivia Bowen on Instagram.

So what is your favourite room of your house and why?

Olivia Bowen: “I would say the kitchen, just because we’re always in there. I love cooking and it’s just a really social area. It’s always bright and it’s nice and warm as well. We’ve got underfloor heating there so I absolutely love it.”

Olivia Bowen's kitchen
Olivia’s beautiful kitchen. Photography: Olivia Bowen on Instagram.

So what do your evenings involve? Do you have dinner? Do you put the baby to bed?

Olivia Bowen: “Yeah, we have a little routine now with the baby. So he has his bath, gets a little story read to him and then goes to sleep. Then that’s when me and Alex will have some downtime. We’ll have our dinners, and then I’m not gonna lie, we’re quiet. We love an early bed. I’m usually in bed by half eight and asleep by nine. But I wake up obviously in the night about five or six times with the baby at the moment. I love an early bedtime.”

Oh, that’s lovely. And do you have like a bedtime routine with cleanser and shower and that kind of thing?

Olivia Bowen: “I used to! I always use moisturiser. I don’t know if this is a new thing but it’s called ‘slugging’ and you literally make your face so moisturised before you go to bed, you look like a slug, and that’s what I’ve been doing! You wake up with really soft skin. That’s one of my favourite routines I do at night time. But other than that, I literally chuck on pyjamas and get straight to sleep because I know it’s not gonna last very long.”

outdoor sofa
Olivia’s stunning outdoor set-up. Photography: Olivia Bowen on Instagram.

Want to read another Day in the Life interview? Then check out this one featuring Nicki Bamford-Bowes.

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