I do love an interior design TV show, always have and always will. In recent years my favourite has been Interior Design Masters (I must admit I’m also a big Alan Carr fan!) and without a doubt, one the best contestants they’ve had on there is Banjo Beale. He stood out as someone who always stuck to his own personal style no matter what, when I’m sure it’s easy to slip into a judge-pleasing mentality when you are taking part in one of those shows. His aesthetic felt genuine and truly stylish, and of course his recycling approach to decor gets a definite thumbs up from us.
Banjo has now written his first book, Wild Isle Style, honing in on exactly that – how to design and decorate a space with sustainability at the forefront – reusing and upcycling objects that have been found or carefully sourced. Living on the Isle of Mull, off the west coast of Scotland, has certainly had an influence on Banjo’s approach to renovating interior spaces. With minimal access to shops and the ‘usual’ places we might find items for our homes, islanders have to be incredibly resourceful and work with what they’ve got or can get their hands on.
In the book, Banjo demonstrates how we can incorporate reclaimed objects and materials into our homes and how the use of natural elements is an affordable (and sometimes even free!) way of decorating. While there is a distinct rustic vibe to many of the spaces featured in the book, there are certainly other styles seen too, from modern, sleek looks to more opulent interiors.
I found it a really readable book as it is broken up into bitesize sections, making it easier to dip in and out of. Banjo looks at aspects such as natural wall coverings and textures right down to the smaller details such as hardware and plants. I also love the fact that the book isn’t solely focused on these elements of designing your home, but also has a section on sourcing. If hunting and gathering for decor isn’t something you’ve done much of, then this section helps to explain the options from flea markets and salvage yards to Victorian dumps and mudlarking for the more adventurous!
The final section of the book is a series of interviews with other home owners whose ethos is similar to Banjo’s. Each of these homes is different from the next, but what ties them together is the owner’s knack for being resourceful, reusing things in interesting ways and rejecting trends to create spaces that are truly representative of the person behind them.
With the cost of living still hitting hard and the need to minimise our impact on the environment ever prevalent, decorating our homes in a more resourceful way is becoming more of a necessity than a preference. This book demonstrates that it is absolutely possible to great a wonderfully inspiring interior in a budget-friendly, kind to the planet way, so why not take a leaf out of Banjo’s book (literally!) and try it yourself?
Get your copy of Wild Isle Style by Banjo Beale (Quadrille, £25)